Reducing Laptop Temperatures
Written by Michael Gao
Thursday, 03 March 2005
This is a tutorial for the reduction of temperature in your laptop. It involves three main steps and about $20 worth of material. This is much better than the $200+ that a company would charge, especially if your laptop keeps shutting down unexpectedly (thermal shutdown, will be talked about in more detail later).
1. Determining that temperature really is a problem for you.
2. Removal of dust from the heatsink
3. Application of thermal compound to the processor.
The first and second steps are applicable and useful for 99% of laptops, however the laptop used to demonstrate in the picture is a Fujistu N series. If you do have a different laptop, it shouldn't be too hard to find out where the vents are.
The third step involves taking apart the laptop - which is very dangerous. The laptop used for demonstration is a Fujitsu N series. One can search online for how to take apart other types of laptops, but as far as I know this is the only tutorial for a N series. Most types of laptops are taken apart in a similar way, so one can probably figure out how to take theirs apart after reading this tutorial.
PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT and will not be accountable or responsible in any way for any type of damage, real or imagined. If one follows the steps carefully there SHOULD be no problem, but I give no guarantees, implicit or explicit.
(Sorry for that disclaimer, this is America and people due sue the shit out of others here).
PART ONE: (information)
Most laptops do not have an internal thermometer. However a tool used to find out what the temperature of your laptop is can be found here:
The third temperature is the one that is your processor temperature. When it reaches 80-90 degrees C, the computer undergoes a thermal shutdown to prevent any type of damage. If you have a ton of dust in your heatsink, it will reach that temperature and possibly damage your processor. My laptop has actually had thermal shutdown, which I thought was a unique or rare experience before my friends experienced similar problems. Therefore I have decided to make this tutorial. Part two should help drop it to about 55 degrees C, and part three - to below 50 degrees C, which is optimal. This is great your laptop drops 30-40 degrees C with only about $20 in material, and you avoid shipping fees/company fees (~$200). It will run faster, more smoothly, and make less noise. The initial thermal pad used in factories is very cheap and doesn't work too well, so your laptop will have a longer lifespan and function more optimally than the average new factory laptop! Overheating is common in laptops with hyperthreading.
PART TWO: Clearing dust from your heatsink.
Information: You should be able to leave your laptop on for this; and you can use mobmeter.exe and read your temperature dropping as it happens. However, I recommend spraying the compressed air a bit beforehand to make sure no liquid comes out.
Step One: Go to a nearby computer store such as BestBuy, and buy a can of compressed air.
a. The processor is located in the upper right area, and the heatsink is on top.
b. The two vents for air to go out are located in the areas shown in the picture:
c. Take your compressed air, insert the straw, and insert the straw into the vents. DO NOT TILT THE CAN. Spray as necessary.
Step Three: Make sure you spray into multiple parts of the vent, to maximize the dust that you dislodge and expel from your laptop.
(Repeat as necessary).
PART THREE: --PLEASE READ THE ALL THE PARTS OF THE STEP BEFORE BEGINNING THAT STEP--
Information: Here are the materials you need.
1. 99% Isopropyl alcohol. Anything below 99% will NOT work. Can be found at Long's drugs; but not at CVS or most other stores or computer stores.
2. Screwdrivers, Phillips and flat head of various sizes.
3. Thermal compound (Silver thermal compound). I-Hacked recommends Arctic Silver 5 which can be found at most of your "mom and pop" computer stores.
4. Spreader (some type of flat plastic card, such as a credit card). Sometimes included with the thermal compound.
6. Stress ball (if this is your first time, you will need it. But it is optional).
7. Clean plastic bag (not shown in picture)
8. Lint free cloth (not shown in picture).
Taking apart the laptop will be the hardest part. Applying thermal compound is relatively easy. Therefore I only recommend this for people who have previous computer experience. However if you follow it carefully it should be okay.
Step One: Remove the battery and ground yourself.
a. Remove the battery. If you can't figure out how, please do not proceed with this tutorial.
b. Ground yourself by touching a nearby metal object. This will prevent possible damage to exposed sections of the motherboard or circuits from static charge.
Step Two: Read part b before attempting part a.
a. Pry off the top plastic bar at the top of the laptop below the screen. The four corners are shown here. There are no screws
b. Be VERY careful, as the top comes off there is a wire there that is easy to break. If you break it, you will have to send it in for repair and any type of warranty will have already been voided.
Step Three: Remove the three screws that become visible, as shown below:
Step Four: Pull the keyboard up, and flip out. By flip out, I mean bring the top towards you while keeping the bottom steady.
a. Pull the keyboard up all the way, then push it back down a little bit (picture shown is all the way, you want to push it back down about .5 cm = .25 in).
b. Flip it out like you would open a book in which the spine is facing you. The top row of keys come towards you, the bottom only rotates without any lateral movement. In the picture the bottom piece with the 3 stickers on it and many holes is the keyboard, upside down. CAUTION: There is a wire attaching the keyboard to the computer that is very difficult to see in the picture. Do not break the wire by pulling etc., it should be long enough that you can flip your keyboard over without any problems.
Step Five: Remove the aluminum bar sitting on top of the heatsink by sliding it towards you.
a. Before removal:
b. After removal:
Step Six: Remove the four spring loaded screws from your heatsink in the order: Upper left. Lower right. Upper Right. Lower Left. There should be numbers that label the order: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
a. The four screws. They are the relatively large ones, (~.75 cm), not the small ones next to the large ones. You do not need to remove the small screws.
b. This picture shows the large screws relative to the three smaller screws that were removed before the keyboard could be taken off.
Step Seven: Remove the heatsink. It may take some effort because the thermal pad is very sticky and if you have had your laptop for a while. This is what it looks like:
a. The heatsink, with residual thermal compound on it. A thermal pad is quite a bit thicker.
a. Clean the thermal compound/pad off the processor. To clean, first wipe as much off of the heatsink as possible with just water. Then use 99% isopropyl and Q-tips to clean the rest, including the processor. The isopropyl will not damage the processor to my knowledge, but do not take liberty and spill it all over. If you have the correct isopropyl, the thermal padding will come off like crazy - if you have the wrong one, nothing will come off and you will spend hours crying - your salty tears will damage your processor and the chill you feel now will become the winter of your anguish. This is a picture of the processor and heatsink clean. It should be very shiny. This is a very basic cleaning, you can search the web for advanced cleaning, if you want to use polishing, extra fine sandpaper, etc. But it is not really necessary and a lot of work for the extra .5 - 1 degrees C that it further helps cool.
Step nine: Put thermal compound on the heatsink, the size of a large pea, and use the corner of your spreader and put a small bit, about the 1/4 to 1/3, onto your processor. Rub the thermal compound into your heatsink with e\a plastic covered finger (if you use only your finger your oils will ruin your heatsink). Wipe off excess with lint free cloth, but don't push down too hard. Use your spreader and spread a very thin amount over the processor without missing any parts. It helps to let the weight of the spreader spread the compound, because the force will be very evenly distributed.
a. Heatsink after basic wipe.
b. Processor after application of thermal compound.
Step ten: Reassemble. Everything should work, make sure you do not forget to put the aluminum bar back in. Your computer should idle at below 50 C, and below 60 C when multiple applications are running. If you have a very intense game, it should still be below 65 C.
//by Michael Gao. Do not reproduce without permission.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 March 2005 )