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Brand NEW 17" Santa Rosa MBP Thermal Paste Nightmare!

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by nikhsub1, Jun 19, 2007.

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  1. nikhsub1

    nikhsub1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Let me start by saying I just bought a brand new, less than a week ago, (from the Apple Store) 17" Santa Rosa MBP with the hi res screen (matte), 160GB 7200 RPM HD, 2.4Ghz CPU and the 256MB 8600 GT. For some more background I am a system administrator and a PC tech so I know what I'm doing with computers (most of the time anyway :D ). Anyhow, after getting my MBP and installing Vista on it via bootcamp and thoroughly enjoying the dual booting, I notice the thing runs hot. Ok, I do some google'ing and find the various thermal paste horror stories floating around. In windows (I've been spending more time in windows since I got it) I notice that it is IDLING at ~ 53-60C!!! I think perhaps this is not right, something may be wrong with the temp monitor software I use? Well, I use several, one of which is Intel softare called Intel Thermal Analysis Tool that monitors the DTS (Digital Thermal Sensor) in each core, it also will load the pants out of an Intel CPU - ~ 20% higher load than Intel's specified TDC. So for living with the heat for almost a week I decide I must bust the machine open, remove the logic board (mother board for you non apple folk) and see what kind of thermal paste job is in there.

    Let me say that removing the logic board from these machines IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!! It scared the #@#$%$ out of me a few times! I took my time and marked where every last screw went and every cable, even the yellow tape. Once I had the board out and turned it over (the CPU, NB and GPU face DOWN so they can't be seen unless you remove the logic board) the sight was HORRIFIC!!! In my professional opinion they used about 40x too much paste, yes I said FORTY TIMES! All thermal paste is supposed to do is fill the micro groves and pits in the heatsink so VERY LITTLE IS NEEDED! Too much is worse than none. Anyhow, I'm sure you want pics so here they are. Oh, and my idle and LOAD temps dropped by ALMOST 20C!!!

    Shame on whoever is assembling these machines as the average user will NEVER fix this and would perhaps think 'this is just how hot it is supposed to run'. I would demand Apple fix this, I would show them pictures etc, etc.

    Oh the HORROR!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now the heat pipe cooling system before:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a CLEAN logic board - From left to right: GPU, North Bridge, CPU:
    [​IMG]

    Proper paste applied - I have some special diamond dust thermal paste that is VERY durable so I used it - I have seen others apply the paste to the chips AND to the heat sinks, THIS IS BAD, VERY BAD!!! ONLY APPLY TO CHIPS.
    [​IMG]

    And finally the cleaned heat pipe cooler:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ejl

    ejl fudge

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    interesting....i think this was also a problem with first generation macbooks.....
     
  3. Wingsbr

    Wingsbr NBR Decepticon

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    Looks like a 4 year old fingerpainted that paste on the mb in the Apple warehouse. =)
     
  4. sp00n

    sp00n Notebook Deity

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    I replaced the thermal paste on my Core 2 2.0Ghz Macbook with some AS5 but didn't notice a 20C drop like you did. Mine was more of a 5C drop. However, after using my Macbook for an hour or two, the temps slowly increased and were almost the same as with the old thermal paste.

    My current temps are about 45-50C idle and 50-55C under normal usage.
     
  5. nikhsub1

    nikhsub1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Saw that thread but your paste didnt look quite as bad, plus, the MBP puts out much more heat with the GPU... I have noticed that EVERYTHING is running cooler, the HD temps have dropped significantly as well. Since all 3 chips are on the same heat pipe system, the effects of proper paste is multiplied.
     
  6. chem

    chem Notebook Enthusiast

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    Amazing. Just amazing. Please repost your pictures to all the relevant Apple forums in order to raise awareness of this issue. macrumors.com, discussions.apple.com (macbook pro section), and so on.

    Do you have any more details on the temperature comparison, other than a 20C drop under load? How you tested, things like that? Did you use any guide to help you get the logic board out? Can you provide a link to purchase this "diamond dust" thermal paste you used?

    We had a 6 page discussion about this issue with the Santa Rosa MBPs on macrumors.com, which basically came down to me saying "this is a problem, look at the temperature deltas, look at the pictures, use your head" and two apple fanatics saying "unless the CPU shuts down, everything is fine." If you post on macrumors I will not derail your thread, I've said my piece there :p

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=314464
    (for that discussion; be sure to check out the links in the original post and in my last post on page 6)

    Anyway, thank you for taking pictures. PLEASE, please, post on more forums so that awareness is raised and Apple fixes this assembly problem on otherwise great notebooks.
     
  7. chris1712

    chris1712 Notebook Enthusiast

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    That is pretty savage, got me worried about a future purchase now!

    Wonder if its a problem with all of them (just the 17"?), or a particular batch dealt with by heavy handed builders!
     
  8. sp00n

    sp00n Notebook Deity

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    I just let my 2.0ghz Macbook idle for about an hour and it's stable at 45C.
     
  9. ltcommander_data

    ltcommander_data Notebook Deity

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    Those are some very good pictures. I really don't understand what Apple's justification is for sloppy thermal paste work. Seeing how much more they are using, wouldn't it save them money to do it properly and use less? Since this problem carried over form the original MBP, you'd also think it would have been cheaper to apply thermal paste properly rather than redesign the vents on the chassis and have to get manufacturers to change their process in order to control the heat problems.

    I wonder if mine has that problem too. I'd bet it does given that it generally idles at 50-60C although it is summer now. But, I'm too chicken to open it up and risk voiding the warranty.
     
  10. stjs7857

    stjs7857 Notebook Consultant

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    so does mine but both of my Dell laptops (xps 1710 and 1210) idle at the same temp, so I think that this is the norm for intel cpu's
     
  11. teknerd122

    teknerd122 Notebook Evangelist

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    Apple doesn't build these computers.

    Edit: If opening your computer voids the warranty, then I think you're doing a disservice by suggesting that others do the same to correct this 'problem'. Just complain at an Apple store. I read the MacRumors thread and there were no fanatics there screaming that as long as it works, it's fine. I actually agree that you shouldn't void the warranty by opening the computer. If it fails prematurely, then let Apple replace it. Otherwise, it's not worth it. I remember threads going on and on about the need to apply thermal paste in the Dell 8600, but I never bought into it. My computer still works 3 years on and is under warranty for another year. Even if 'correctly' applying thermal paste to this computer would extend the life a little, it wouldn't matter because I'm already looking to replace it with newer technology. The point of the MacRumors people who said to leave it be is well taken - if you're techy enough to disassemble a MBP and reapply thermal paste, then chances are that you're not going to be satisfied with the computer in two or three years time, which is way before the poor paste application and overheating causes an actual computer failure.

    Edit2: Yes it sucks that the computer gets a lil warmer than one would expect, but it's probably not an Apple problem. They don't manufacture the product and it's not like other brands haven't experienced similar issues. It would be nice if whatever ODM supplies these computers would properly apply paste, though.
     
  12. sp00n

    sp00n Notebook Deity

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    I bet you all notebook/desktop manufacturers just slab a ton of paste on the CPU die. It's faster than taking a razor and carefully evening out the paste.
     
  13. chem

    chem Notebook Enthusiast

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    Even if the MBPs aren't built in Cupertino, they are marketed by Apple, sold by Apple, supported by Apple, and under warranty by Apple. If there is a problem with quality control, it's Apple's responsibility to fix it. I presume we all agree on that.

    I don't want to engage in an argument about anything else here; just let's be clear on the fact that Apple has to take the blame for the bad things if they take the credit (and the money) for all the great things about the MBP.
     
  14. teknerd122

    teknerd122 Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes and the razor thing is just ridiculous. This is why I use Ceramique in my desktops - AS5 is too troublesome. Who cares, though? Laptops generally don't see much over clocking and those who do overclock probably buy lappys that are built with AS5. As for Desktops, if you're not building it yourself then surely you don't expect it to overclock to magical numbers that would necessitate the use of high-quality thermal compound, so who cares? The computer runs and will probably run for years beyond the time that you decide you're in need of newer technology.
     
  15. ltcommander_data

    ltcommander_data Notebook Deity

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    I guess this is why manufacturers are pushing the notebook name instead of laptop and are warning users not to use them on their laps.
     
  16. ehiunno

    ehiunno Notebook Guru

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    opening the computer does not void the warranty. Period

    In fact, you can't do mcuh other than break the computer yourself to void the warranty.
     
  17. mavere

    mavere Notebook Enthusiast

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    That's not really up for you to decide is it? ;)

    I thought the common knowledge was that if the Apple dude finds evidence of internal tampering, they'll blame w/e problem the MBP is there for on that rather than its actual source. Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong. :D
     
  18. chem

    chem Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have been using arctic silver for so long that I didn't even know they introduced ceramique, until I saw you and nik (the OP) mention this (in different places).

    I will have to buy some... probably to use on a MBP :p
     
  19. AlexOnFyre

    AlexOnFyre Needs to get back to work

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    Just to clarify some of these manufacturing issues. The Macbook and MBP are made by Asus Corporation. HOWEVER, they are assembled (including the thermal paste) by Apple technicians. Apple recieves a bunch of empty chassis and it is up to them to put the parts in and to apply the paste and all of that.
     
  20. sp00n

    sp00n Notebook Deity

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    I thought Quanta makes the Macbook Pro and Asus makes the Macbook.
     
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