What does re-applying thermal paste do?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by TheShinyMac, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. TheShinyMac macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

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    Apr 3, 2009
    #1
    There are alot of videos on youtube about how to do it, but what does it actually do? All I know is that it makes your computer run cooler, but it must do something thing else right? I am thinking of doing it myself, I think I can open up my computer without voiding the warranty, could apple tell if I did it myself? And in the videos they all use alcohol to remove it! Isn't that bad for the motherboard and such? Thanks for replying!
     
  2. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

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    #2
    A better grade and more properly applied thermal paste ensures that heat transfers effectively from the chip to the heatsink. In the past apple seemed to do a lousy job applying the paste and that made some notebooks run hot.

    Alcohol is fine for removing the paste and cleaning the chip.
     
  3. TheShinyMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

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  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #4
    yes, there are many sections of tape and whatnot inside the laptop break/disconnect if it has been opened.

    ill be replacing mine soon, my temps are WAY to high :(
     
  5. otispondscum macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #5
    "yes, there are many sections of tape and whatnot inside the laptop break/disconnect if it has been opened."

    How would Apple determine that the sections of tape had been previously disconnected? How would they know without opening the laptop and breaking the tape themselves?
    Or are you referring to opening something further within that has visible external tape?
     
  6. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Mine does not have any tape that I've found. Not in my own experience, or iFixit's disassembly.
     
  7. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #7
    i found a few things, such as screws being coloured and tape here and there.. nothing crazy, very slight - i dont even know if they are for checking if its been opened! it might just be for other uses. but anyway my view of it is, its fine to do it as long as you dont wreck it. :):D
     
  8. ozziegn macrumors 6502a

    ozziegn

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    #8
    don't waste your time by doing this. the differences in temps will be minimal. unlike the risk of something going wrong which could be high.

    it isn't worth it. Apple builds these things to last a long time. leave it be and enjoy it.
     
  9. looman9635 macrumors member

    looman9635

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    #9
    +1:D
     
  10. Demthios macrumors member

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    Jul 27, 2008
    #10
    Depending on what thermal paste you use. I've seen a drop on just using AS5 over the no name brand. I've also seen when applying too much your temps will rise much higher then if applied correctly. Even seen 5-10 degrees differences when reapply thermal paste before.
     
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #11
    -1. totally untrue. apple uses exactly the same parts as other manufacturers do. my laptop needs a thermal replacement and its 3 years old, if you count 3 years as a long time then there is something wrong with you ;)
     
  12. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000

    mikes70mustang

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    #12
    im gonna say if you didnt know what re applying the paste would do...then you probably shouldnt be doing your own stuff.
     
  13. vant macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I believe that Apple has improved the thermal paste issue with newer laptops.

    If you do do it, please take some pics for future reference for us all!
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #14
    i am going to do it in the next few days, but i have an original MBP - i doubt anyone would want those pictures lol...
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    The risk vs. reward on reapplication of the thermal paste is really dependent on how hot your MBP is and your technical expertise. If you have not disassembled a laptop or computer before, then I'd say the risk is higher. The risk of misapplying the thermal paste and cooking your CPU is high too. Also there are some small components/plugs that can easily be broken if care and patience is not taken.

    Overall if you're MBP is running in the 40 - 60c range (under normal usage or idling) I'd say the savings would be much less then if you were running in the 60 to 80c range. I saved about 5c on one of my Macbooks a while back and to be honest that small savings wasn't worth the hassle.


    Finally, addressing the issue of apple knowing if the laptop was opened up. I'm sure if they were looking for evidence they will find it, but I think if you send a laptop in for repair, most of the techs wouldn't even notice (or care) unless you damaged a component of course.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #16
    Is this speculation or do you have evidence to support this? I've seen enough pictures and read about folks who found way too much thermal paste glopped onto the chips to believe they've improved the process.

    With that said, I think the vast majority of MBPs run ok, in the 40 -60c range (based on threads here and elsewhere) There are those folks who have a much hotter laptop and surgery is certainly a viable option to try to cool the puppy down.
     
  17. TheShinyMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

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    Apr 3, 2009
    #17
    I will check and record my temps later, and could you all tell me if it would be worth it to apply new paste and yes if I reapply the paste I will take several pictures, however I also have the original design macbook pro so it may seem "old", the specks are on my profile incase your wondering.
     
  18. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #18
    If the color on the screws that you refer to is blue, then that is loctite. It is used to keep the screws from coming loose due to vibration.
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #19
    Ah well that explains that, thanks for pointing it out.

    maflynn: i have talked my issues over with a few technical people in another thread and they all agree that it is crucial for me to re apply my thermal paste. We believe that it may have deteriorated! The computer has had constant use for 3 years. It sits on 80*c with minimal cpu usage. I have opened up my computer before and am more then capable of doing this myself.:) thats my reasoning anyway lol.
     
  20. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

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    #20
    After all you're Australian. What's life without risk? :D
     
  21. ozziegn macrumors 6502a

    ozziegn

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    #21
    that's what I'm saying. I use to be a hard core gaming person with super, custom built PCs that I sold. back in my day, we would strive to have the lowest CPU temps as possible simply because we were overclocking our CPUs to the highest levels possible.

    but this isn't the case here. we don't overclock our Mac laptops which means saving 5C or even 10C degrees isn't going to do anything in real world performance.

    and like I said above, the risk of something getting broken is by all means not worth the minimal differences (if any) in CPU temps.
     

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