(HOT HOT HOT) When thermal paste attacks

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by byke, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. byke macrumors 6502a

    byke

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    LDN. UK
    #1
    Ok, so I bought a rev B back in Nov 2008 and it had been acting weird since purchasing it.

    Within 3 days I had it in for repair due to the heat issues and odd behavior and it came
    back a few days later with a note saying all was well and there was no issues and its
    temperatures were within spec.

    Anyway, like a schmuck I lived with it until the dodgy keyboard broke and again asked
    them to check the heat as the fans were constantly on and erratic behavior.

    So last week I got the laptop back again and was told it was all fine and to apples
    listed specs.

    So tonight I finally got the balls to take it apart and reapply the thermal paste.

    I was amazed to see just how much paste was on the chip ..... it was LOTS.
    In-fact it was everywhere and spilling over the side. (I will try and upload pics soon).
    HOWEVER, since carefully cleaning the paste off and reapplying new thermal paste
    I must say it does work allot better (in a much different way)

    I still get peak heat spikes at 80C+ in extreme cases, but it doesnt stay like that
    for long periods of time, as it did when the old fat paste was on it.
    But the most noticeable change is the lack of crazy full throttle fans on constantly.
    And this means the battery should last a lot longer.

    SO what I wanted to say is this, if you do have an issue with your rev B MBA.
    And like myself couldn't get any luck with apple care, then have a think about
    maybe changing the paste yourself as it has so far appears to have done wonders
    for me.
     
  2. byke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    byke

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    LDN. UK
    #2
    pics ...
     

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  3. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
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    Minnesota
    #3
    I am holding of on doing this on my Rev A for as long as I can just because I don't want to fumble with the internals right now. But after all these people swearing by it, I feel I almost should just do it.
     
  4. mlemonds macrumors 6502a

    mlemonds

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    #4
    i was always taught to use as little paste as possible to connect the heatsink and the processor. just enough to make a good connection.

    i must have gone to a different school than these people.
     
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #5
    For reference (according to service manual), the specified amount used is 1cc. It's applied as a dab in the center of each device (letting the Thermal Module & Fan assy spread it during assembled).

    With that procedure, it is normal for there to be paste around the perimeter of each device when you remove the Thermal Module.

    Hard to say what went wrong when they initially applied the paste. It could be they didn't press down on the module over the CPU/GPU to make sure the paste had full contact and/or the "boomerang clamp" wasn't aligned properly (there's a hole in it that aligns with a hold in the Thermal Module). The clamp is supposed to align over the top of the CPU & GPU.

    Glad the MBA's working ok for you now. We have a rev "A" model and it's working great.
     
  6. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #6
    It's just sick that this happens with a $2500 MAC! It really ticks me off that Apple just doesn't care.
     
  7. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #7
    Why would they? Most people have no idea what temperatures to expect, nor do most people care to find out why their computer is hot. Many Mac owners buy the machines for form rather than function. Apple is undoubtedly aware of this, thus their recent drop in QA.
     
  8. pgharavi macrumors regular

    pgharavi

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    #8
    I really want to do this on my Rev A (HDD) as well. Does anyone have a link to a pic of the proper amount of thermal paste I should apply?
     
  9. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #9
    The procedure's the same.

    But, I wouldn't recommend doing it unless the machine is operating outside of normal temperature ranges. We have an Air, and (as an example) it's normal for the fan to run during YouTube playback (it's the 1.67GHz model).
     
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #10
    Omg thats a TON of thermal paste!!!!!

    Glad to hear its working good now :)
     
  11. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #11
    Yea, it's more than I would have used, too. But, that's what in the service guide. The rule I was taught was to use enough to fill both surfaces completely, but with a minimal thickness and minimal "oozing". Thinking about it, how the paste is spread by the heat sink would greatly affect the starting amount - my heat-sink paste experience goes back a loooooong way ;). I suspect it has to do with the contact area in the MBA's fan/thermal module and how it's mechanically held down (the "boomerang" clip apparently puts spring tension directly on top of the devices).

    Of course, all surfaces need to be cleaned of old paste (including alcohol to remove the last traces). And, don't touch the new paste or surfaces to avoid contamination.

    IMO, unless disassembly is required, I'd leave it alone. I don't thing there's an epidemic of poor paste application on the machines, even with the reports we see.
     
  12. pgharavi macrumors regular

    pgharavi

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    #12
    What I'm hoping for, if I proceed, is lower temps for general use (browsing, word, etc) which currently operates around the mid-fifties (C). I am also hoping for lower temps when I stream video, which hit the coolbook limited max of 85 degrees (C).

    Worth it?
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #13
    It's something called respect. How about due diligence. How about good faith in that machine represented will perform properly with stated components.

    There really are few pieces to the puzzle, and this is a simple one if Apple gave a rat's ass about the GARBAGE they are selling to their BREAD AND BUTTER = the customers!

    I still say it's sick, and we should all get what we are paying for, A LIttLE ***** RESPECT if nothing else!

    I get sick of these stories. It's one thing to have Dell do it for $199, but it's completely different to have Apple do it for $2499. The truth is, Dell actually cares about simple things to ensure no product returns and poor customer experience.

    Sometimes I wonder what people are responding to the 65% positive customer experience. I love Apple's innovation and design, but its failure to execute is disgusting! Whether it's a "Genius" that doesn't know his ass from a Mini Display Port, or the sales person who recommends a Mac Pro to a doctor doing Word documents (my friend), or the tech slapping on toothpaste (I mean thermal paste) onto the most important part of the whole ***** $2499 MBA, and it goes on and on... design and innovation, remarkable... the rest... truly disgusting. If we cannot see it without a screwdriver, we shouldn't care. If we can see it and it's a product/manufacturing defect, we are being too picky as it's cosmetic. Or how about the dreaded gray lines, the Geniuses stand there with their thumbs up their asses saying they don't see any gray lines (or it's within spec)...

    Come on people, cannot we hold Apple to its obligations? Cannot we expect to be treated with a little respect when we spend thousands of dollars with the company annually? I get sick of reading, there was a tiny ding on my MBA where I bumped it into a pencil holder that weighs two ounces and now Apple has voided my $250 warranty without even refunding the warranty.

    Or HOW ABOUT THIS... my MBA is stolen, the AppleCare I bought was applied to the MBA before it even reached the one year of age mark, yet the AppleCare now goes with the stolen Mac and I cannot get my money back NOR use the AppleCare towards the new Mac I have purchased.

    When does it end. I am really sick of reading all of the bad faith this company has been a part of while selling these premium/luxury products and yet treating customers worse than a customer at K-Mart buying a roll of toilet paper.

    Anyone else think it all just gets to be too much? I never VENT like this, but it all really makes me mad. Now, I am going back to acting like I don't give a crap forever so my blood pressure doesn't boil.

    And back to calm easy peaceful state of JOY! Thanks Apple for treating us all so very very well...
     
  14. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AUS
    #14
    Woowoo... chill urself pal.:p
    It's quite a surprise to have seen Scottsdale in this venting state.

    >Anyone else think it all just gets to be too much?
    Nope, I, merely representing my little head, still think it is not enough to have AAPL's attention and address the issue.
    It's not too much unless the problem is solved.

    Some of us maybe a little more fortunate to be given the ability and courage to have attempted to ease things by ourselves, but these are minorities.
    Chances are, if you see 1 user writing on forum, it could very well be the case that 10 others users are complaining the same thing, esp. given the scale and reputation of AAPL status in the many industries where you'll find Macs.

    "It's only gonna get worse before it gets any better." - I tend to agree with this statement.


    Easy, pal:)
     
  15. bobsaget611 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #15
    I completely agree scottsdale you summed it up perfectly. It annoys me how so many people believe that we should just learn to live with the defects and shortcomings of these $2000 machines but the reality is, the customer gets to decide the success of a product not the company. If there are thousands of customers saying the product can't even run a video chat without freezing and you take it to the genius who says nothing is wrong, that is unacceptable. That is a problem I had and I know there are many more issues like that. Apple is simply wrong on this one. When my Dell ever had problems I would call and they would treat me like THEY did wrong and would bend backwards to make it right. I have never felt this way from Apple.

     
  16. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #16
    There is no way anyone specifies 1cc of paste. That's a HUGE amount. You could do 10 or 15 notebooks with 1cc. You want to know what 1cc looks like? Look at the size of a sugar cube. That is 1cc. :eek:
     
  17. byke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    byke

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    LDN. UK
    #17
    UPDATE ::::

    Well I have finally started to use this now as it seems to be working as it should.

    I am really glad I took the step to clean off the paste and reapply it.

    So far the laptop is really working ALLOT better (at least 30% better)
    And I have also run all the updates etc.

    The Negatives ::::
    I updated the safari to beta 4 latest version and must say it didnt agree with the MBA and had very noticeable temp changes to the worse, So I am back on the old version of safari ( version 3 something or other)

    Keyboard ::::
    Well I had apple care replace the keyboard, and discovered the "0" button is stuck and doesnt press properly. I have had to press it vigorously to get it to loosen up, but its still not perfect.

    What I would like to see ::::
    I would like to see a browser for the MBA that is less intensive, as I find sometimes safari can be running in process of 140% + (according to istat)

    I would also like to see this new version of flash for netbooks to be released.
     
  18. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #18
    Yep. Looks like a big blob. I think my explanation above is pretty reasonable, not having access to production and engineering data, and all.

    Since I'm not doing the repair, and this is for infomation only, I think I'm cool quoting the manual (mod let me know if this is a no-no; again, I'm not doing any warranty work, though that would be the end user's responsibility anyway, as far their own work on a covered machine):

    From the Apple Service Manual (copyright 2008, Apple Inc):

    5. Put a 1cc dab (roughly one quarter of a full syringe) of thermal paste in the center of each chip mating surface, as shown.
     

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  19. byke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    byke

    Joined:
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    Location:
    LDN. UK
    #19
    When I re-pasted mine, I used approx 1 cooked grain of rice for the CPU and then smoothed it out with a credit card (obviously very carefully). and a similar amount for the GPU and smoothed it out again with a credit card.
     

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  20. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #20
    Interesting. I suppose if it's working, then you're in good shape. As for the amount - I doubt Apple would expend material if it weren't needed, so there was probably something else wrong with the original installation.

    You've noticed a difference in temp, so there's a good chance something was different about the way the thermal module was originally assembled. It could have been a bubble or they didn't go through the procedure to spread the paste properly. Apple says "Verify that the thermal module screw clips are aligned with their bosses underneath, then press gently but firmly over the two chips to make sure the thermal paste adheres evenly." Or, maybe the parts' surfaces weren't cleaned correctly. Hard to say, at this point.

    It's still not something which to be casually recommended - it's not for the faint of heart, and there are quite a few steps where some serious damage can occur.
     
  21. Dr_Maybe macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    Sep 17, 2003
    Location:
    South America
    #21
    The point of thermal paste is to fill out the tiny gaps in the surface of the cpu and heatsink. If you use too much you don't get an optimal amount of thermal conductivity.

    I wonder why they use that much. Is it because they have unskilled workers and just want to make sure there is thermal paste on the entire surface?
     
  22. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #22
    Maybe the way the have them mount the thermal module, its design, and the "blob", etc., mostly work? Without someone reporting on their process, we're just second guessing them. Most work fine (you don't see people reporting good news...). Apple has a lot to lose if their process isn't optimum - QC, PR, and manufacturing costs.
     
  23. byke thread starter macrumors 6502a

    byke

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    #23
    I think apple has reached a point where they have grown to such a size that overseeing all operations has become very hard, and they can only make changes down the line rather than strict quality control in real time.

    Take for instance the screen issue faced on many macs, this wasn't exactly fixed or rectified. But more so changed down the production line later.

    In terms of thermal paste, from what I understand an even concise layer is optimum and designed for the top of the chip only (not cookie doughed everywhere) as this in turn causes more of an insulation than a coolant.

    In terms of performance, I have noticed a definite improvement.
    Whereas before if I had been surfing for say 20 mins with safari I would be at 70+C and fans running consistently between 4400 and 6600

    Now I see spikes of heat on the CPU, however the fans rarely need to come on as the heat is disbursed so quickly.


    If there is a need for anyone to take matters into their own hands and wish to change the thermal paste by themselves (which is a last resort) I may be able to do a step by step if it helps for REV B owners.
     
  24. cecilkain8 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #24

    Im planning to do a temperature fix up on my rev b as well, so a step by step guide with pics would be very helpful! My fan always rises and stays at 6200rpm with video playing and it's getting irritating. What's holding me back is the warranty issue. I don't want the change to look obvious so a repair needed would be void.
     
  25. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AUS
    #25
    If the fan spins up at 6200rpm whenever you're playing a video/clip,
    that is exactly telling you there is a thermal paste over-dose underneath the hood.

    My rev.B did the same and I quickly re-applied some AS5,
    the CPU temp never reaches 65C afterwards and I never see 6200rpm unless I force it to spin up with smcFanCtrl

    yes, you will be risking the warranty once your decided to open your machine,
    but if you can do it nicely with some class, leaving no obvious trace,
    then that should be alrite:p
     

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