Deadsmiley's GPU Cooling Mod - NP8278 (P170MS-A)

Discussion in 'Sager/Clevo Reviews & Owners' Lounges' started by deadsmiley, Jun 27, 2014.

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  1. deadsmiley

    deadsmiley Notebook Deity

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    EDIT: 6/31/2014
    Just so everyone knows, most of my ideas came from others. Specifically, this thread over at Tech Inferno was primary. :thumbsup:
    http://forum.techinferno.com/clevo/...-p150-p170-cooling-system-solutions-here.html

    I noticed right away that my shiny new NP8278 with a single GTX 800M was running rather warm. Any attempt to run a benchmark or game of any intensity was met with fearce heat production. Reading over at Tech Inferno it was brought to my attention that the air inlets are very tiny on the Clevo. First I tried filing the vent holes larger. That did yield some positive results (sorry, nothing documented). I ran like that for a while as I continued to play with the stock vbios via Kepler BiOS Tweaker. It did see some positive results from my VBIOS tweaking. However, I soon realized that I really didn't know what I was doing. I had no past experience tweaking the VBIOS and really, I was constrained by the tools I had available to me. I decided to just wait for a modified VBIOS.

    Tweaking the VBIOS did show me one thing. If I wanted to see any increase in performance from overclocking/overvolting my Clevo it was going to need improved cooling. Out came the dremel and my shiny new laptop now had an open hole in the bottom cover. You can also see from this picture how tiny the vent holes were. On the right is the air intake vent holes, or slots for the CPU. These are the same style as the GPU. All I did was cut the hole out where the fan inlet is located.

    Unfortunately, my lab practices aren't great. I didn't document every test run or temperature reading so some of it is going off what I remember.

    My laptop came with Icy Diamond thermal compound. In an effort to eliminate my cooling issues I removed the heatsink and repasted with AS5 (what I had on hand). The Icy Diamond was very hard and took some effort to remove. I did end up with a couple of scratches on the GPU die. It took me to a couple of attempts to get the AS5 repaste correct. The first time I didn't apply enough and my temps were really warm. The paste did not spread enough to cover the entire GPU die. The second attempt did help quite a bit. Cooling was better after a couple of days.

    Icy Diamond paste. This stuff was hard and difficult to remove.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Bad repaste with AS5. I didn't get good coverage on this one. Notice the area of the GPU die that didn't have any thermal paste coverage at all. This is not good.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Looking at the bottom of the NP8278 (P170SM-A) you can see I have already added the aluminum tape to close off an air gap between the fan and the heatpipe fins (lower right corner).

    [​IMG]


    Big ol' hole:

    [​IMG]

    This made a big difference. I could actually run Furmark (not recommended) for more than a minute before the GPU reached 93c (again... not documented).

    I ran with the big hole for a good while. Then I got to thinking about this again. There is a gap between the bottom cover and the fan shroud. If I block off that gap then the fan can't pull hot air in from the rest of the chassis. I cut some thin strips of low density foam packing (what I had on hand) and crudely taped it to the bottom panel. Again, I didn't document this step. From memory I think I saw a 3c drop in GPU temp.

    I ran with this for a few days and the results were good. My tape job wasn't great and after having the back cover off one too many times the foam got loose. I was pretty happy with what I had done, but wanted a screen of some sort so that things couldn't get into the fan. I went to Home Depot and I bought a roll of black metal screening. I think it was about $7.00 or so. I could do roughly a million GPU fan screens with this roll but it was the smallest roll I could find.

    I cut out a rough rectangle:

    [​IMG]


    Lightly formed it with a mallet:

    [​IMG]

    Trimmed it up:

    [​IMG]

    Applied adhesive to the bottom cover:
    Got this at Dollar General for about $3.00

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I let the adhesive cure for a bit. Applied more and put my low density foam in place.

    First half:

    [​IMG]

    Second half:

    [​IMG]

    Finished product! It's not beautiful, just functional and it's on the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking back on it, I like this mod. I could have been a bit more careful with my dremel and I think the hole should be square so it looks a bit more "factory". Overall I am pretty damn happy with the results. I am running svl7's modded VBIOS on my GTX 880M. My core is locked at 993MHz and my memory is clocked +450MHz and it preforms well. My temperatures during gaming are from the low 70's to the mid 80's. I am OK with that. Before the big ol' hole and low density foam I was hovering around 90c during gaming. Room temp is about 76F/24C.

    UPDATE: 9/2/2014

    A while back I acquired a new bottom cover. The cover mod is worth a very solid 5C drop in GPU temperatures across the board. I call that a win.



    UPDATE: 9/2/2014

    Djask asked for an update on the sealing of the GPU fan/heatsink. I promised to do it but just haven't gotten to it. I apologize for the delay my friend.

    Here you go. There is a huge gap between the GPU fan outlet and the two raditors for the split heatpipe assembly on the P170SM-A. I think there have been simular issues with the design in the past. This is one of many things a person can do to make the GPU cooling more efficient. It isn't one thing, it is a combination of many things. Fortunately, it isn't something that you have to do all at once if you don't wish too.


    Here is what I did. These two pictures are of the fan outlet and the gap I have been talking about. This gap is the path of least resistance. Like water the air coming out of the fan outlet will take the path of least resistance.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used low density foam faced with electical tap to help block the airflow to block off the bulk of the gap. It's a stepped shape that is tough to see in the picture.

    [​IMG]


    Here are some shots of the removed GTX 880M. I just took them and I thought they turned out nice so here they are. Nothing earth shattering here just some pretty pictures. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As an added bonus, have a picture of my aluminum tape job on the CPU fan/radiator. It is basically the same thing I did on the GPU. I just don't have a good picture of it.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Branzy1987

    Branzy1987 Notebook Evangelist

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    nice job, the bottom of the alienware is almoust like your last image
     
  3. deadsmiley

    deadsmiley Notebook Deity

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    Really? I have never looked.
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    Nice job. That's bound to help. Vents blocking air flow is never a good thing. I think it's kind of cool looking to be able to see the fan like that.
     
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  5. deadsmiley

    deadsmiley Notebook Deity

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    Thank you. I like seeing the fan too. I don't like things getting poked into it while running, which is why I added the screen door. As far as cosmetics goes... it's what I call a 10 footer. Looks good at 10 feet! :D
     
  6. deadsmiley

    deadsmiley Notebook Deity

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    I google the bottom of an AW 17. Holy crap... it's no wonder they cool well. Looks like a good 1/3 of the bottom is vents. Clevo needs to take a hint from the design. Seriously.
     
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  7. Katagon

    Katagon Notebook Deity

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    Mine has had no overheating issues, highest ive seen it get to was 82C after hours of playing watchdogs on ultra. I have the 870m though, so maybe that's why.
     
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  8. deadsmiley

    deadsmiley Notebook Deity

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    I was very tempted by the 870M. It is nearly as fast as the 780M and the price is a lot nicer. I still think that it's probably the best bang for the buck offering from Nvidia right now. SLI 870M makes a lot of sense in my mind. I almost did that.
     
  9. n=1

    n=1 YEAH SCIENCE!

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    Just make sure you get a replacement cover before you send this in for any warranty repairs. And watch out for the dust bunnies.
     
  10. Meaker@Sager

    Meaker@Sager Company Representative

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    Yeah the 870m is the sweet spot for value from nvidia, a bit hot but manageable.
     
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