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Dell XPS M1330 - nVidia GeForce 8400M GS - Copper Mod

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by sinstoic, Jul 2, 2008.

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  1. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    Dell XPS M1330 - nVidia GeForce 8400M GS - Copper Mod - Step by Step Guide

    Dell XPS M1330 Notebook with nVidia GeForce 8400M GS GPU has an inadequate Thermal Cooling Assembly. It uses a Thermal Cooling Pad between the GPU and the GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly instead of a direct contact between the two with a Thermal Compound. This leads to overheating the GPU and damaging it along with other components. The solution is to replace the existing Thermal Cooling Pad with a Copper Sheet and a Thermal Compound.

    Note: This Copper Mod does not solve problems arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of GPU. Their failure appears related to the combination of the interaction between the chip material set and the system design. The combination of limited thermal management and frequent power cycling is particularly challenging for the GPU. Dell is offering a 12 Month Limited Warranty Enhancement specific to this issue. However, this Copper Mod might help delay the failure by improving the thermal management.

    Materials:

    01. Copper Sheet. Recommended: Gauge 16 & Grade C106 - 14x14x1.5mm.
    02. Thermal Compound. Recommended: Arctic Silver 5.
    03. Thermal Compound Cleaner (Isopropyl Alcohol or Acetone).
    04. Cotton Swabs.
    05. Paper Napkins.

    Tools:

    01. Phillips Screwdriver - #0.
    02. Utility Knife.
    03. Thermal Compound Spreader.

    Drivers & Utilities: (for Microsoft Windows Vista 32 Bit)

    01. Dell XPS M1330 A15 - 1.02MB. (BIOS Firmware). Recommended.
    02. Dell nVidia GeForce 8400M GS 176.44 A10 - 52.70MB. (Video Driver). Recommended.
    03. HWMonitor 1.18 - 518.00KB. (Monitor GPU, CPU, Chipset and HDD Temperatures).
    04. GPU-Z 0.5.5 - 922.00KB. (Monitor GPU Clocks).
    05. I8kfanGUI 3.1 - 1.61MB. (Monitor Fan Status and Speed).
    06. RivaTuner 2.24C - 2.70MB. (Monitor GPU Status on OSD).
    07. 3DMark06 Basic Edition 1.2.0 - 584.00MB. (Benchmark GPU).
    08. Intel Thermal Analysis Tool 2.05 - 3.31MB. (Benchmark CPU).

    Procedures:

    Before You Begin!

    01. Disassemble the Module Cover by loosening the four Screws.

    [​IMG]

    | 1 - M2.5x5mm Screw (1) | 2 - Captive Screws (3) | 3 - Module Cover (1) | Image: Dell Service Manual |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing Thermal Cooling Assembly and System Board |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Thermal Cooling Pad |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Thermal Cooling Pad |

    02. Disassemble the existing Thermal Cooling Assembly by loosening the five Screws and disconnecting the Fan Connector.

    [​IMG]

    | 1 - Fan Connector (1) | 2 - Thermal Cooling Assembly (1) | 3 - Captive Screws (5) | Image: Dell Service Manual |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing System Board |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing Thermal Cooling Assembly |

    03. Clean the existing Thermal Compound on the CPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly.

    [​IMG]

    | Existing CPU Thermal Compound |

    [​IMG]

    | Cleaned CPU |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing CPU Thermal Cooling Assembly Thermal Compound |

    [​IMG]

    | Cleaned CPU Thermal Cooling Assembly |

    04. Peel the existing GPU Thermal Cooling Pad and clean the existing Adhesive on the GPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly.

    [​IMG]

    | Existing GPU Adhesive |

    [​IMG]

    | Cleaned GPU |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing GPU Thermal Cooling Pad |

    [​IMG]

    | Existing GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly Adhesive |

    [​IMG]

    | Cleaned GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly |

    05. Spread the Thermal Compound evenly on the CPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly.

    [​IMG]

    | CPU with Thermal Compound |

    [​IMG]

    | CPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Thermal Compound |

    06. Spread Thermal Compound evenly on the GPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly.

    [​IMG]

    | GPU with Thermal Compound |

    [​IMG]

    | GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Thermal Compound |

    07. Place the Copper Sheet on the GPU.

    [​IMG]

    | GPU with Copper Sheet |

    08. Reassemble the modified Thermal Cooling Assembly by tightening the five Screws and reconnecting the Fan Connector.

    [​IMG]

    | Modified Thermal Cooling Assembly |

    [​IMG]

    | Modified System Board |

    [​IMG]

    | 1 - Fan Connector (1) | 2 - Thermal Cooling Assembly (1) | 3 - Captive Screws (5) | Image: Dell Service Manual |

    09. Reassemble the Module Cover by tightening the four Screws.

    [​IMG]

    | Modified GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Copper Sheet |

    [​IMG]

    | Modified GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly with Copper Sheet |

    [​IMG]

    | Modified Thermal Cooling Assembly and System Board |

    [​IMG]

    | 1 - M2.5x5mm Screw (1) | 2 - Captive Screws (3) | 3 - Module Cover (1) | Image: Dell Service Manual |

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    01. How about using an Acetone based Nail Enamel/Polish Remover for cleaning the Thermal Compound?
    A: Acetone based Nail Enamel/Polish Removers must be avoided as they contain Fragrance Oils and other contaminants that may reduce Thermal Conductivity.

    02. How about using a better Thermal Compound than Arctic Silver 5?
    A: Any Thermal Compound better than Arctic Silver 5 may be used. However, they may not be easily available and reasonably priced as Arctic Silver 5.

    03. How about using Arctic Ceramique instead of Arctic Silver 5?
    A: The Thermal Conductivity of Arctic Ceramique which is >200,000W/m sq °C @0.001in is lower than that of Arctic Silver 5 which is >350,000W/m sq °C @0.001in.

    04. How about the System Board circuits getting shorted due to Arctic Silver 5 spillage?
    A: Arctic Silver 5 is Electrically Capacitive only at high pressures and any spills can be easily cleaned up with Isopropyl Alcohol. There is no need to use Arctic Ceramique only because it is a pure Electrical Insulator.

    05. How about using the Thermal Compound ideally?
    A: The ideal amount of the Thermal Compound is equal to about half the size of an uncooked short grain of White Rice. It should be applied directly only on top of mating surface of the actual core and its Thermal Cooling Assembly and then spread evenly using a Thermal Compound Spreader. Increasing the amount of Thermal Compound may decrease its Thermal Conductivity.

    06. How about reusing the existing Thermal Compound on the CPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly?
    A: The existing Thermal Compound on the CPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly may be reused as long as the original CPU and its original Thermal Cooling Assembly are reassembled together. However, it is not recommended.

    07. How about using Aluminium instead of Copper?
    A: The Thermal Conductivity of Aluminium which is ~ 237 W/(m·K) @300K is lower than that of Copper which is ~ 401W/(m·K) @300K and the Thermal Expansion of Aluminium which is 23.1 µm/(m·K) @25°C is higher than that of Copper which is 16.5 µm/(m·K) @25°C.

    08. How about using Bronze, Brass, Gold, Silver or Diamond instead of Copper?
    A: Bronze and Brass have poor thermal properties and Gold, Silver and Diamond are not cost effective when compared to Copper. Refer to the List of Thermal Conductivities for more information.

    09. How about using the Copper Mod on the Northbridge Chipset?
    A: The Copper Mod may be used on the Northbridge Chipset. However, it is not recommended as the Thermal Cooling Pad is more than adequate for the Northbridge Chipset.

    10. How about the Thermal Cooling Pad positions?
    A: The Thermal Cooling Pad is usually on the Thermal Cooling Assembly. However, in some cases, it is on the Chipset. The position is immaterial as long as it makes a perfect contact between the Chipset and its Thermal Cooling Assembly.

    11. How about the Thermal Cooling Assembly variations?
    A: All variations of the Thermal Cooling Assembly can use this Copper Mod. However, in some Thermal Cooling Assemblies, the Copper Sheet must be placed under the GPU Thermal Cooling Assembly, between the raised boundaries, for a proper fit.

    12. How about the Copper Sheet fit?
    A: The ideal size of the Copper Sheet is 14x14x1.5mm for all variations of the Thermal Cooling Assembly. However, it is recommended to place the Copper Sheet without the Thermal Compound to check the fit. It should fit perfectly in the gap between the GPU and its Thermal Cooling Assembly. It should not be loose enough to fall off or tight enough for no expansion.

    13. How about tightening the Screws ideally?
    A: The Screws are tightened ideally when they cannot be turned any further without applying pressure. Overtightening the Thermal Cooling Assembly Screws may damage the GPU as the Copper Sheet slightly expands due to heat during the normal use of the Notebook.

    14. How about curing the Thermal Compound ideally?
    A: The Thermal Compound will take several hours (around 200 hours for Arctic Silver 5) and several thermal cycles to cure as long as the Notebook is turned off from time to time and allowed to cool to room temperature. Once the curing is complete the Notebook can be left turned on if desired.

    15. How about the benefits of this Copper Mod?
    A: This Copper Mod reduces the GPU temperature by a few degrees when idle and several degrees when loaded, CPU and Chipset temperatures by a few degrees. The Notebook will run comparitively cooler and quieter with the Fan on slow speed.

    16. How about reversing this Copper Mod?
    A: This copper Mod can be reversed completely. The existing GPU Thermal Cooling Pad may be reused to reverse this Copper Mod. It is recommended to reverse this Copper Mod before sending your Notebook back to Dell.

    Polls:

    01. Mod Guide Statistics.
    02. GPU Idle Temperature.

    Sources & Credits:

    01. NotebookReview Forum Members.
    02. nVidia - Notebook Field Failures.
    03. Direct2Dell - nVidia GPU Update: Limited Warranty Enhancement Details.
    04. Dell - Dell XPS M1330 Service Manual.
    05. Arctic Silver - Arctic Silver 5 Instructions.
    06. Wikipedia - Various Links.

    Updates:

    July 8, 2009: Celebrating 1st Anniversary of Dell XPS M1330 - nVidia GeForce 8400M GS - Copper Mod. My notebook is running great without any spares, service or repair!

    December 21, 2009: My Dell XPS M1330 notebook's LED backlight switches off and replacement screen or cable does not correct the problem although external monitor (via VGA or HDMI port) displays video flawlessly. Dell's technician suspects heat from the wireless card breaking up the circuit and suggests replacing the motherboard for correcting the problem. With this my first Copper Mod has lasted me for 531 days (1 year, 5 months, 1 week and 6 days).

    December 28, 2009: The motherboard was replaced by Dell's technician today and I have redone the Copper Mod.

    January 11, 2011: A year has passed by since I redid the Copper Mod on the last replaced motherboard. My notebook runs hot but I am able to manage it with the Logitech Cooling Pad N120. Unfortunately, the original battery is almost dead and lasts only for 15 minutes.

    The 3 year notebook warranty and service contract expires today, and my note book is on its last leg with 1 processor and 2 motherboard replacements, Copper Mods and cooler pad, and 3 years of regular use.

    Disclaimer:

    This mod will void your Dell XPS M1330 Notebook's warranty and may result in future problems. You are responsible for all risks and consequences arising out of this mod or the attempt to try this mod. This guide is provided for educational purposes only.
     
  2. Hep!

    Hep! sees beauty in everything

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  3. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    Thank you.

    Arctic Silver 5 vs Arctic Ceramique:

    Thermal Conductance (0.001 inch layer):
    >350,000W/m sq °C vs >200,000W/m sq °C.

    Thermal Resistance (0.001 inch layer):
    <0.0045°C-in sq/Watt vs <0.007°C-in sq/Watt.

    Peak Extended Temperature Limits:
    &#8211;50°C to >180°C vs &#8211;150°C to >180°C

    Long Term Extended Temperature Limits:
    &#8211;50°C to 130°C vs &#8211;150°C to 125°C

    Performance (CPU Full Load Core Temperatures):
    3°C to 12°C Lower vs 2°C to 10°C Lower

    Arctic Silver 5 Cons:

    Electrical Insulator:
    Electrically Capacitive vs Pure Electrical Insulator

    Curing Period:
    200 Hours vs 25 Hours

    How is Arctic Ceramique better than Arctic Silver 5?
     
  4. Hep!

    Hep! sees beauty in everything

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    Hmm, you might be right. I remember reading a review of a whole slew of thermal compounds and ceramique came out number 2, next to some hard to find expensive stuff.

    Shame I already just ordered my tube of AS Ceramique not 5 minutes ago. Sighhhh.

    You know leave it to me to go and do something like that too, I bought the 22 gram tube since I build about 3 computers daily.
    Oh well, this can still go in them v_v
     
  5. johnny13oi

    johnny13oi Notebook Evangelist

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    There are several places selling this and I was wondering if we could set up a group buy. I remember one place in the US was selling this for 50c each but the shipping was $12. So a group buy would probably drop the price of each total down to just several bucks. Anyone with a respectable account on here willing to do this?
     
  6. MexicanSnake

    MexicanSnake Juay de rito?

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    Awesome guide but would be even better with some pics for n00bz. Ill buy some copper now ;).
     
  7. Tricks.

    Tricks. Notebook Consultant

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    Great guide and well written.

    If anyone is after thermal paste, I suggest Arctic Cooling MX-2. It is non electrically conductive. Its much easier to apply than ceramique and you can easily get a thin layer, in tests it has been proven to be on par or beat AS5.

    I m tempted to finally do the copper mod because of the hot summer weather my M1330 is running even hotter. But I personally dont see why I should do Dell's job for them. Dell will just have to keep changing my motherboard at their expense until they decide to do something proper about it.
     
  8. Kreeeee

    Kreeeee Notebook Evangelist

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  9. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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  10. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    Thank you. Photographs have been uploaded.
     
  11. Hep!

    Hep! sees beauty in everything

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    I'd like to point out that it's easier to do this if you put the copper sheet on the cooling assembly, then put that back on. Then you don't have to worry about mis-aligning the sheet with the two raised "L's". Also, why no liquids for cleaning the thermal paste?
     
  12. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    Placing the Copper Sheet either way works. Trust me there won't be any misalignment. Liquids can corrode or cause pits in the metals. Further, accidental spillage of liquids on the circuits can lead to new problems. It is better to clean using a few paper napkins although it will take some time.
     
  13. johnny13oi

    johnny13oi Notebook Evangelist

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    Regarding the liquids thing, using paper towels alone could leave behind pieces of it or particles of it on the heatsink and cpu making the contact much worse. People typically use alcohol to get them really clean.
     
  14. Hep!

    Hep! sees beauty in everything

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    Yeah that's a misconception that paper is a good thing to clean with for the reason johnny said. A cotton cloth or cotton ball with some acetone or isopropyl alcohol is the safest way to clean thermal grease, as they are both non conductive liquids.
     
  15. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    All right. I am including your ideas in the guide with due credits.
     
  16. MexicanSnake

    MexicanSnake Juay de rito?

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    What about using carefully a sharp blade to help remove the gpu thermal pad?.
     
  17. Hep!

    Hep! sees beauty in everything

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    The GPU thermal pad is easily removed with just your fingers (or it was for me), putting a razor underneath would probably work fine.
     
  18. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    Hey Sinstoic,

    good guide! But what's this obsession of yours to add polls to every other thread, lol ;)

    Please add RivaTuner to your list of tools. Among other reasons, it's the only one that has an OSD feature :cool:
     
  19. traveller

    traveller Notebook Deity

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    Alcohol (or similar) is the best, but for the record, you can never get out the original thermal paste that has found it's way into the micro-porous surface of heatsinks, particularly after it has gone through a heating-cooling cycle.

    That's why it's best to remove the supplied thermal grease prior to using one of Intel's stock heat sinks (when buying a so-called "boxed" CPU).
     
  20. sinstoic

    sinstoic Notebook Deity

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    There is no obsession but just collecting data. :D

    I have added RivaTuner to the list of utilities. Thanks.
     

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