Alienware 17 R4 GTX1080 repasting with Liquid Metal, My experience!

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by Pete Light, Jan 2, 2017.

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  1. Pete Light

    Pete Light Notebook Deity

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    Wow so it's all finished and I wanted to fully document and present back to you guys my experience and tips that I found while running through @iiunlock's guide and repasting with grizzly conductonaut in the hope it may help make it easier for you. I'm no expert like the team LHz guys are and I'm keen to point out this is a big job so take your time! Its not for the faint hearted. I know what I'm doing but this still took me around 8 hours to complete (with a couple of mistakes along the way) and nearly ended in tragedy (more on that later)

    So, first up I strongly recommend you are really organised when doing this. Here's a pic showing everything you'll need minus the stuff for lapping (which for me was P1200 sand paper, washing up liquid, tub of water)

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    First stage complete, straightforward. Note the organisation on the magnetic dry wipe board

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    Next up, Wi-Fi card removal was straightforward following his excellent video in the guide. Note I got the exact same tool he did

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    Next stage complete, about to take the inner cover off

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    Inner cover off, was straight forward

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    Mobo off to access the fan connectors before removing the heatsink

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    Next up heatsink came off. Careful with the screws, they're very fragile and REALLY easy to thread! Also note I have one of the new builds which had pretty decent temps out of the box (therefore I have the 0.1mm pad (white) and actual (rounded) paste on the CPU. Still way too much applied for what's need imo:

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    Nice and organised (can't stress this enough!) My board after full disassembly. SSD and Wi-Fi card were placed on anti static bags

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    Closer view of the stock paste

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    and...
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    Cleanup of the dies and heatsinks. My surfaces of the heatsinks weren't great, notice below how dull and non-reflective they are as well as also having some black residue on it which I don't think was the old paste (which only came off when lapping them).

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    I spent about 40 mins doing both, changing water out in between etc. Next photos show the finish after lapping. (note the corners of the heatsink showing the rubbish finish before lapping)

    GPU:
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    CPU
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    Both together, nice, shiny and smooth!

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    My best technique for lapping the CPU heatsink repeated at 90 degree angles of course

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    Now my attention turned to the pads, this took forever (about 1.5 - 2 hours). I took my time and used a combination of Stanley blades and scissors where sensible. Before I started I removed the old ones carefully, one by one and used them as a template to cut around. When I removed the one below though I noticed it wasn't even installed correct! SMH Dell!

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    Also noted that the small square pads didn't even have the plastic removed before being installed! Seriously check the bottom one here, they were all like it!

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    Next up a manufacturing defect on the lower GPU heatsink area... Tut tut. This pick also shows a little bit how I bent the CPU arm. Quite a lot as instructed!

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    A pic showing exactly how I laid out all pads before putting heatsink back on. Note when I did this I tried sticking the pads to the heatsink first but if it wouldn't stay on then I just put it on the correct chip directly instead. Note I cleaned all chip surfaces with Artic Clean No.1 first as well.

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    And then the liquid metal was next. All I'll say is the tape saved me big time! see the pic below...

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    I was very careful but I must have had an air bubble in the tube and it all pretty much squirted out at once (perhaps squirt it over your heatsink away from the mobo first is a better idea), it was so close to game over! It's hard to work with and it's definitely more risky. When cleaning most of that up I ended up chasing it in balls around the tape trying to avoid the mobo which was really time consuming and difficult SO be VERY careful when applying this to your units!

    Finally, i bent the heatsink arm a lot like unlock said and went to reassemble everything. When I placed the heatsink back on I found the best way was to do this directly from above and then slightly lift the mobo to screw through the heatsink to attach it. Again, be so careful with those heatsink screws!

    So, I booted it back up with my heart in my mouth after all this work and then you get the red alienware symbol where it looks like it fails to boot after several attempts. Note this is just a BIOS diagnostics check I guess because the RTC has been reset after the battery has been pulled for a long period of time. After several reboots after the first power on it runs a diagnostics test and then reboots as normal so don't worry like I did lol.

    So results next, was all this worth it? Hell yeah! See for yourself:

    For direct comparison before and after, here is my OCCT run at 3.9GHz before the work above was performed:

    Can't find the screenshot but I ran it a few times and the max temp was 84C with a -50mV voltage offset running at 3.9GHz. Average CPU temp as 70 and average spread was 8 - 10 degrees.

    This is not bad as it's the new improved breed of fixed 17 R4's from Dell but I wanted ice cool so exactly the same run after all the work done above...:

    [​IMG]

    Massive difference... a solid 20C drop on the Max temp and 14 on the average with an average CPU spread of only 3! Very happy!

    Stay tuned for some more results coming with game tests and hopefully with @iunlock tuning abilities!

    Also see further work in my spreadsheet of my results available here:

    [​IMG]

    So I hope this helps and good luck with your builds!

    General Advice I found
    • Make sure you read all of the advice in each step. E.g. I pulled a cable before the battery cable in step 2 before I saw it in the guide!

    • Metal pry tool was better for me and where the square holes are, use it to get it in these gaps under the cover and pry it open

    • Step 5.1 lever on USB, don't forget to pull that back first!

    • Step 5.1 two cables missed in guide (blue "MB" ribbon and white "DC In"cable)

    • Remember where you take the tape off that holds down cables for when you need to out it back on

    • Lapping heatsinks
      • Tub of water

      • Washing up liquid

      • P1200 sand paper

      • Lint cloths

      • Arctic clean 1 and 2
    • BIOS diagnostics check and several reboots after first power on is normal
    Pete
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
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  2. bloodhawk

    bloodhawk Derailer of threads.

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    Try hosting the images on an external image host. They don't seem to be loading.
     
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  3. Pete Light

    Pete Light Notebook Deity

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    hmm not sure whats going on there, works fine from my laptop browser and phone browser, are you using an App?

    I've added a "link" under every image if you or anyone else is struggling
     
  4. bloodhawk

    bloodhawk Derailer of threads.

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    Weird. I'm on my desktop using Chrome. NBR acting weird I guess.

    EDIT : They are cached on your end or you are logged in to your Google drive.
    Others don't seem to have access. Clicking on the links take me to a Access Forbidden page.

    But great write-up nonetheless.!!
     
  5. CSHawkeye81

    CSHawkeye81 Notebook Deity

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    Nice write-up but sadly I cannot see the pictures either.
     
  6. Pete Light

    Pete Light Notebook Deity

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    Argh ok hang on

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
  7. Pete Light

    Pete Light Notebook Deity

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    how about now can you see them?
     
  8. bloodhawk

    bloodhawk Derailer of threads.

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    Nope.
    Try hosting on Imgur or something.
    Mush easier that Way.
     
  9. Porter

    Porter Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yeah I'm guessing the way you shared them from your google account has them as private, or at least not public.
     
  10. Pete Light

    Pete Light Notebook Deity

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    all fixed now i hope. Can you see them?
     
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