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macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 19, 2007
mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
Hi first post here! Let me start by saying I just bought a brand new, less than a week ago, (from the Apple Store) 17" Santa Rosa MBP with the hi res screen (matte), 160GB 7200 RPM HD, 2.4Ghz CPU and the 256MB 8600 GT. For some more background I am a system administrator and a PC tech so I know what I'm doing with computers (most of the time anyway :D ). Anyhow, after getting my MBP and installing Vista on it via bootcamp and thoroughly enjoying the dual booting, I notice the thing runs hot. Ok, I do some google'ing and find the various thermal paste horror stories floating around. In windows (I've been spending more time in windows since I got it) I notice that it is IDLING at ~ 53-60C!!! I think perhaps this is not right, something may be wrong with the temp monitor software I use? Well, I use several, one of which is Intel softare called Intel Thermal Analysis Tool that monitors the DTS (Digital Thermal Sensor) in each core, it also will load the pants out of an Intel CPU - ~ 20% higher load than Intel's specified TDC. So for living with the heat for almost a week I decide I must bust the machine open, remove the logic board (mother board for you non apple folk) and see what kind of thermal paste job is in there.

Let me say that removing the logic board from these machines IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!! It scared the #@#$%$ out of me a few times! I took my time and marked where every last screw went and every cable, even the yellow tape. Once I had the board out and turned it over (the CPU, NB and GPU face DOWN so they can't be seen unless you remove the logic board) the sight was HORRIFIC!!! In my professional opinion they used about 40x too much paste, yes I said FORTY TIMES! All thermal paste is supposed to do is fill the micro groves and pits in the heatsink so VERY LITTLE IS NEEDED! Too much is worse than none. Anyhow, I'm sure you want pics so here they are. Oh, and my idle and LOAD temps dropped by ALMOST 20C!!!

Shame on whoever is assembling these machines as the average user will NEVER fix this and would perhaps think 'this is just how hot it is supposed to run'. I would demand Apple fix this, I would show them pictures etc, etc.

Oh the HORROR!


Now the heat pipe cooling system before:

Here is a CLEAN logic board - From left to right: GPU, North Bridge, CPU:

Proper paste applied - I have some special diamond dust thermal paste that is VERY durable so I used it - I have seen others apply the paste to the chips AND to the heat sinks, THIS IS BAD, VERY BAD!!! ONLY APPLY TO CHIPS.

And finally the cleaned heat pipe cooler:


macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2007
Excellent work there, especially if those temps did come down a bit. I was beginning to think that the group assembling the MBP (and probably the MBs) were using extra paste due to poor contact area (ie. many current PC graphics cards use huge TIM pads between memory modules b/c of this spacing) between the chips and the heat sink. But, it appears that you have proved this wrong. Again, nice work!


macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2006
Alberta, Canada
Thanks for the detailed picture post, very informative.

I have two requests if you're able:

1)Could you post back with the brand name of the thermal paste that you used as a replacement?

2)This one is a bit more complex. Would you be able to provide a picture by picture tutorial on the disassembly process? (Enough to show what screws were removed, wires unplugged, etc.) This could become an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to examine the paste issue, or indeed any other issue that may require delving into the innards.

A big thanks for the original pictures......



macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2007
Rocklin, CA
Wow! Simply shocking. I'll definitely be addressing this issue on mine as soon as I crack it open to upgrade the hard drive.


macrumors member
Jun 6, 2007
What were your temps after the fix?

Edit: nvm. stupid me for not reading carefully. Still, 20C is an amazing improvement. I might do the same thing you did some day, but like you said, the process is quite scary.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2006
I dont see how - there are no seals to break, no warnings etc. My warranty is just fine. :D

if they ever open up the case, they will see a clean thermal paste job, and then they'll say "what? it's too good to be done by us!" and then they'll void the warranty!

hahaha :)

but seriously, great informative post. what did you use to clean off the chips/headsink, and surrounding areas?

this is something i'm interested in, but i've never worked with something as delicate (and expensive!) as macbook pros. I've upgraded dell desktops many many times, but nothing like a macbook pro.


macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2006
Awful. I guess mine is the same because it idles at 50C and goes up to 90C in less than two minutes of 'yes > /dev/null'. I like the laptop and am afraid I'll mess it up by opening it. Any particularly tough connectors to remove? I'm always afraid of those.


macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2005
Wow. A 20 degree C difference during idle is extraordinary. I'm beginning to wonder if I should do the same with my MBP. But I really don't want to tear it down unless it's absolutely necessary.


macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2007
it seems like everyone's mbp has the same problem... mine is idling at 45c


macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2007
I'd really love to redo the thermal paste job on my MBP if it would cool it down...but, man, disassembly all the way down to the logic board is a daunting task. I'd have no problems with the hard drive or some such, I'd just hate to have a screwdriver slip and scratch a pathway on the logic board + void the warranty. Then again, I've got a fresh tube of AS5 just waiting to be used. Decisions, decisions.... :rolleyes:


macrumors member
Oct 26, 2006
Awesome post, nikhsub!

Is it my imagination, or are all 3 chips connected to a single heatsink? (Albeit piping to two fans on opposite sides)

Kinda sketchy design, if you ask me... :confused:


macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2006
it is possible to check if there's too much thermal paste without opening you precious laptops, just grab a flashlight, turn it around and see through the vents, you can see the three chip and the heat pipe. btw it's applied fine on my 2.16 MBPro, average temp 53C on CPUA (istat widget) :D


macrumors 68040
Please can I ask a stupid question? :eek:

What are the three chips with thermal paste on, going from the edge of the logic board towards the middle?

What fits in the large space next to the DVI connector? I had always assumed that was the graphics card?


macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2006
Brilliant post!

The sheer amount of Thermal Paste is shocking.

Surely the people assembling the computers are in some way, shape or form, trained in this area? What are they thinking?

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