Mac mini re-application of thermal paste and heat

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Lokheed, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Lokheed, Sep 25, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011

    Lokheed macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    I have been monitoring the temperatures on my Mac mini (mid 2011 base model) for two weeks now. It tends to float around 48-52 C when the room is about ~18 C.

    I have just now removed the cheap thermal compound used by the manufacturer and re-applied Arctic Silver 5. I have not yet allowed for enough thermal cycles to ensure the new compound is at maximum efficacy, but will continue collecting data regardless. The temperatures from this point have nowhere to go but down. I will update the thread when I have data to present.

    Has anyone else re-applied the paste? And if so, have you collected any reliable data?

    I have tried several hardware monitors and have settled on atMonitor 2.7b. I found iStat Menus 3.18 to be far too unreliable (and far too inconsistent in reporting temperatures, where massive swings from 61 C to 41 C have occurred in one second under no CPU/GPU load).

    Day One - Fresh compound, 2 hours uptime, no thermal cycles

    I've been using the system for just over two hours playing around in Photoshop. Room temperature is ~15 C. CPU has hit 48 C and rests now at a stable 45 C. This is already substantially lower than before (by about 7 C). I'll try to induce a temperature cycle tonight and continue to monitor the temps. Before the re-application, the temperature for the same Photoshop work (relatively same room temperature) was roughly 51 C to 56 C. Idle temps now with Safari open are 45 C. Past temperatures were 52 C.

    NOTE: My hopes are to create a thread with valid and reliable data for others to reference. Please avoid the need to discuss warranty, inquire about the purchase of a mini, ask for guidance in the re-application of new thermal compound, or post other off topic remarks. I'd love it if we could keep this thread clean and on point. Thank you.
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    That explains your lower temperatures.
  3. hamshi macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    very interesting result. you would think that apple would use the highest quality thermal compound, especially when there devices are so compact and yours in so new.
  4. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    First of all, congrads for getting the new Mac mini.

    I too, have re-applied the thermal paste before (Not a 2011 Mac mini). I observed approximately the same amount of temperature improvement.

    I have been using smcFanControl to control the fan's rpm as well as a temp monitor. With stock thermal paste, mine was easily in the mid-40s Celsius even if it was a cold start. It will be readily operating in the 50s Celsius as soon as I start using it.
    I didn't like the sound of the fan back then, so I was investigating how to lower the system temperature hoping there will be less spin up.
    I removed a pastel-like thermal paste on the CPU and replaced it with some AS5 and quickly observed ~7C drop in the temperature.

    Right now, minie is starting up at around ~39C at will work itself up to 45C.

    So my experience matches the OP's experience. Replacing the stock thermal paste from apple with AS5 will produce about 5~8C difference.

    I am aware there is a ~200 heat burn in cycle with the AS5, but really I just start using it and haven't pay any attention to it. Just use it like normal and stopped worrying.
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    NOT to beat a dead horse. A photo or two would have help members decide if they could put the paste on as a DIY.

    Also since I have done what you said to a five or six cpus mentioning and showing how much paste was originally applied by apple would be part of the topic. I have seen cpus have two and three times the proper amount of paste. So the paste quality was not the real problem the paste quantity was the problem or maybe both. IN the case of your mini we will never see the original amount of paste apple applied and not be able to judge what the real problem was. I have found just like you that cleaning off the paste and putting on Arctic silver drops temps 3 to 8 c on the five or six cpus that I did this with. I have also found some cpus have crazy amounts of paste they have more improvement then cpus with the proper amount of paste.

    BTW I agree that warranty questions or buying mini questions are off topic. But a link for an arctic silver kit would be helpful

    so here is an amazon link to a few sellers. I like this kit as it has cleaning and prep chemicals along with arctic silver thermal paste

    ---------- BTW thanks for the info that you got a good temp improvement. I will have to do this with my new mini server.
  6. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    For reference, my idling 2011 base Mac mini is at 37C for the CPU, with 21C / 70F ambient temperatures in the room. This is without any adjustment to thermal paste etc. I do notice my mid-range 2011 mini was at 45C with the same ambient temperatures.
  7. fishboyfive macrumors newbie


    Sep 16, 2011
    Ocean city Maryland USA

    I use a 80mm USB fan

    i set the fan next to the 2011 mac mini with the Core i 5 AMD HD6630m

    and i can play world of warcraft for 4 hours plus and the mini is super cool to the touch so i am not even worried about the inside temps

    without the usb fan the mini gets super warm almost HOT to the touch after gaming.

    so this little fan in my op cools the mini down BIG TIME :)

    hope this helps
  8. striatedglutes, Sep 28, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011

    striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    Throwing my stock cooling temps into the mix for reference, using iStat:

    -Room temp stays between 22-25C, but the mini is located in a corner behind two CCFL LCD displays and ambient back there is higher. When I place my cheapo room thermometer on the mini itself, it reads ~33C
    -Idle around 60C
    -Normal usage (mail, excel, ichat, preview w/PDFs, chrome w/8-10 tabs, moderately intensive java app, WINE emulation of moderately intensive windows app) usually has the CPU at 78-79C
    -100% CPU load playing minecraft pumps the CPU to 83C with 3000 RPM fans

    I was :eek: after first noticing how hot they were, but I ran an Athlon XP back in the day so I'm kind of used to it :cool:
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    i use the same fan and it has a speed control. works well
  10. fishboyfive macrumors newbie


    Sep 16, 2011
    Ocean city Maryland USA
    yeah i love it i may order a second one just for backup lol

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