Quantcast How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

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  1. #1
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    Default How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Original thread where I first pitched my idea and brainstormed, not much content:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/show....php?p=3357023

    Someone else beat me to the idea, but never posted any details:
    xps1330 thermal cooling mod



    Okay, so here's my writeup. I don't normally do stuff like this (the tutorial, not the hardware hacking :P), I kinda just keep to myself usually. So bear with me.

    The camera I used to take pictures was having a real hard time handling light, everything was either too much or too little. So lots of pictures are too bright or are fuzzy because there was not sufficient light for the camera to focus... not a huge deal, there is not TOO much too see. It looks pretty much like the normal cooling assembly.

    My new idle temps are not much different honestly, but that is because my fan is now running less than it did before. What happens is my system heats up, the fan turns on, it cools off, the fan turns off. This causes my temps to fluxuate. When I force the fans to stay on high, my temps drop down to 36C (CPU) and 52C (GPU) Woo! (They might even keep dropping, I only left the fan on for ~5 minutes) With the Fan completely off, all my temps are about 10C higher, idle (48C/62C). My stressed temps also dropped, but not as significantly as I had hoped. GPU went from 90C stressed to 82C. Perhaps 3dmark06 is a bit much for a system like this, I don't know. All I want is for my games not to get laggy from an overheated GPU. I've yet to test if this is the case. Regardless, temps are lowered by this mod.

    So, now on to how I did it, the part I know you all are REALLY waiting for. Let's get this little bit out of the way though.
    DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR COMPUTER. THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED SOLEY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. WHAT YOU DO WITH THIS INFORMATION IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY ONLY. YOU AGREE TO THESE TERMS BY CONTINUING TO READ THIS TUTORIAL. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE.

    Now that that's out of the way, it's fairly simple. I think anyone can do this within about an hour, from start to finish.

    Materials:
    Arctic Silver 5
    .04 Aluminum Sheet (get a few square inches just in case - If you're wondering about the letters on mine - I scrapped an old sign for my material. It used to say "Under Contract" or something.) That .04 is INCHES.
    XPS M1330. I guess this works with 1530's as well, I am not sure, just what I've gathered seems they use the same type of cooling assembly. My XPS has a Core 2 Duo T7300, an 8400M GS, 2GB DDR2 667. I am using BIOS revision A10, the latest version.

    Tools:
    Two files, varying from fine to very fine
    Small screwdriver
    Sledgehammer (Just kidding, if you try to use a sledgehammer on your laptop I'm not responsible)
    Hacksaw (I used a band saw, but I doubt most people have bandsaws available to them. A hacksaw should do just fine)
    Pencil
    Ruler
    Vice (not required) with felt (to prevent scratching)

    Take out your battery and unplug your laptop. Close the display, turn it over, open the panel on the back that has your Windows Liscense sticker on it. It has four screws, one in the middle labeled with "M" and three along one edge. The three on the edge are captive, the one in the middle is not. Be careful not to lose that one.

    Take off your cooling assembly and disconnect your fan. Use Acetone or Isopropyl alcohol (or your thermal grease cleaning chemical of choice) and clean off all the goop on the CPU. Also clean off the GPU. The CPU is obvious, it's in a pink socket. The GPU is on the opposite end, it's the smallest chip, and once clean, it reads NVidia (or something).

    Now take a look at your cooling assembly. If you're taking the dive, peel off the blue thermal pad that corresponds with your GPU. It's the one on the end. Under this, the surface is not perfectly flat. The reason for this is that dell uses those two little L's (visible in my picture of the cooling assembly) to mark where to place that terrible little cooling pad.

    This is a potential problem, be sure that your metal piece does not overlap this anywhere. This will mess up your contact bad, hinder thermal transfer, and possibly destroy your GPU, and effectively, your laptop. The square these little L's form is 1.5cm by 1.5cm. So the metal we cut needs to fit within this without being smaller than the GPU die (the shiny thing that sticks up on your GPU) What I did was take a ruler, measure out a square 1.5cm by 1.5cm, pencil in the lines, and cut it with a bandsaw. Don't try using tin snips like I originally did, the metal comes out really bent up. You need it to stay perfect if you don't want to mess up your laptop. I have a picture of the square, but again, pictures suck. I then put it in a vice with felt to protect the surface, and filed the edges to make the square more perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect, as long as 1) The edges are not rough (no little barbs sticking up and down, which will definately happen from cutting. You should be able to run your finger along it without and discomfort.) 2) The piece fits between the "L's" without touching them, ie, is flush against the cooling assembly, and 3) the piece covers the entire GPU die when put between the L's and the cooling assembly is replaced.

    Once you've got your smoothed out aluminum, clean this off with acetone/alcohol/whatever, then dry it off. Coat an even layer of AS5 on one side, and place it neatly between the "L's." If you don't know how to apply thermal grease, you shouldn't be doing this mod, but just google it, it's real easy, as I'm not going into any more detail on the subject. Set the assembly aside. Put a layer of AS5 on both your CPU and your GPU dies. Replace the cooling assembly. DON'T FORGET TO ATTACH THE FAN. I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH. THE FAN IS SO IMPORTANT IN THIS COOLING ASSEMBLY. I reassembled it and accidentally left it unplugged when running my first stress test. Luckily I fixed my mistake quickly before any of my temps got too high.

    When testing, I leave the back panel off. This is because I want to feel the cooling assembly to see how things are going, if the whole deal feels too hot, I can shut down the operation. Likewise, if the cooling assembly is too cool, then I assume not enough heat is coming out of my GPU and into the heatsink. Also bad. I keep speedfan running in the background during the tests to watch where my temperatures go (it shows the desktop briefly between tests so I can get a glimpse of my temps)

    Since metals expand when heated, there's *potentially* a risk of it getting hot, expanding, and putting too much pressure on your GPU, which can cause the die to crack. I've done a bit of research on this issue. 1) Aluminum expands very very little. Like, 10 feet of aluminum would expand something like an inch at 80C. Even so, this tiny bit COULD be detrimental. Though you'll likely have stability issues before permaant damage. If your screen goes black during a game or anything like that, I'd check and make sure it's not putting pressure on your GPU. Not quite sure how to measure that, I'd just take off the cooling assembly and check for any signs of damage. Other things could cause a screen to go black, especially if you're overclocking. Don't panic if it happens.

    I also leave out the battery and use only AC. The reason for this is that if there is some disasterous black screen or whatever, I can just yank the power cord and not have to fiddle with a power button or battery to turn off the system.

    Once you're satisfied that everything is in order, you can close everything up. And that's it. Like I said, pretty simple and straight forward. Happy modding!


    Pictures:
    1) Everything laid out.
    http://img341.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture001tc8.jpg

    2) Closeup on GPU/Chipset/CPU without cooling assembly. GPU on left, CPU on right.
    http://img513.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture003vh7.jpg

    3) Closeup of my screwdriver and files
    http://img263.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture004sf0.jpg

    4) Picture of some really bent metal. This is why we don't use tin snips.
    http://img258.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture008uo7.jpg

    5) My 1.5x1.5cm square
    http://img526.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture010jk4.jpg

    6) Closeup of cooling assembly. You can see the two "L's" here.
    http://img526.imageshack.us/my.php?i...ture015td9.jpg

    7) The new metal shim next to the old thermal pad, for size comparison.
    http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/7...ture026li3.jpg

    I kinda gave up on pics at this point since none were turning out too well. The finished assembly looks just like the original when you put it on though.




    Feel free to ask me any questions about this mod or anything else.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Put some results stressing the system!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    What kind of benchmarks would you like to see?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Run some programs like 3dmark, and post peak temps for CPU and GPU. Oh yeah, and post idle temp difference also (like before the mod and after)

    I use I8kfan to monitor since it records temps well but the program needs to be tweaked to show correct GPU temp.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    3D Mark! Great guide and tutorial, though I would like to know for sure whether it is a problem on the M1530 before I do it. Due to the size of the M1530, I'm guessing it will probably be more spaced out, have a larger cooling pad, etc, though that is pure assumption. Can someone affirm whether the M1530 has such heating problems or not?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Yeah I read your topic about it. I tried the tweaks, it didn't work right for me. I will have to mess around some more I guess. I currently use SpeedFan to measure temps, because although it does not allow control of fan speeds on the 1330, it does auto detect all temp sensors very nicely.

    I did post some before/after temps, it's in my 3rd paragraph! BTW, this did not change my 3dmark score, it was identical. But my temps WERE lowered. Oops, sorry, I didn't post my old idle temps - 49C/68C


    Oh yeah - My operating system is Windows XP Professional SP2. I suppose it could make some difference.
    Last edited by Hep!; 15th May 2008 at 12:26 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    It seems like the other guy lowered his temp more than you did. Hmnn.

    Anyways, I should sleep for work tomo!!

    Great job, and I'll give it a try when I have free time on my vacation!

    Oh and as far as I8kfan goes, just make sure to use the senor numbers I gave, and input OFFSET to match the correct readings from ATITool/Ntune.

    +1Rep for ya.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Yeah the other guy lowered his temp more, I dunno what other factors come into play. He did use copper, not aluminum, but I looked online and apparently copper is only about 3-4% better at transferring heat than aluminum (it's a curve, the higher the temp, the better copper holds up). It'll be nice if some other people do this, see how temps vary.

    Although there is not much info on that other guy, perhaps his numbers are not accurate or something. Also I think my idle temps were a bit higher than average as it was.
    Last edited by Hep!; 15th May 2008 at 12:44 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Thanks for posting a writeup Used a similar mod on my old laptop and got great results, I'm tempted to pop open the M1530 when it gets here... I still have the artic silver and a full sheet of copper... but voiding the warranty sounds like a bad idea. Ack! Is the heating as big a problem with the 1530 as it is with the 1330?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to: Improve your XPS M1330 Cooling

    Those L markings are annoying. How big is the GPU contact area?

 

 
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