Extreme Thermal Mods - 2007 MacBook Pro 3,1

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by pressing, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    INTRO

    - My 2007 MBP has terrible thermal engineering but is a decent laptop otherwise. Well besides the nvidia 8600M GT ticking time bomb.

    - The laptop has been running very hot for the past few years. I have some software that blocks Adobe Flash
    & kicks the fans to max when temps hit 60*C. Simple web browsing with fans at max drive thermals to 70*C+. Youtube with fans at max show thermals at 80*C+.

    SYSTEM

    Running El Capitan, 4GB RAM, Samsung 850 EVO (a SATA3 SSD which the laptop is perfectly capable of running but the idiots at Apple crippled the hardware so the MBP runs only SATA2).

    TODAY'S MODS

    1- Clean fans and radiators

    2- Replace thermal paste @GoNz0

    3- Improve seal between fans and radiators with 3M 105*C electrical tape @iunlock

    4- Drill 35mm vent holes in case bottom under fans & add covers @Mr. Fox

    CHALLENGES & COMMENTS

    - THERMAL PASTE - Cleaned with 99.99% iso alcohol then ArtiClean and lens tissue. I wanted to use Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut for max thermal performance. But the MBP has some ALU at the edges of the GPU & CPU heatsinks so that would be impossible to isolate relaibly. I used Gelid GC-Extreme which I find superb for the low pressure, sloppy heatsinks of laptops. The Apple factory & refurb paste jobs were atrocious BTW; fitment with only 5 screws for 3 dies is weak.

    - VENT HOLES - Rush job so did not want to entirely disassemble the laptop before drilling. Drilled increasingly large pilot holes in case bottom at fan blade center. Used Milwaukee Hole Dozer for large diameter holes; cut the ALU in 10 seconds. Finished with Swiss micro files and some sandpaper. Despite a good masking job with polyethylene sheets and blue tape, Keeping ALU flakes out of the remaining components was nearly impossible. Pro tip: completely disassemble ALU case bottom and remove screen; will save time.

    - INTAKE COVERS - Wasn't quite sure how to make plastic rims and mesh grilles. I purchased a bunch of plastic and rubber grommets. In the end I just put some fibreglass screen door material between the case bottom and the fans (no grommets used). The screen is taped with 3M electrical tape but really held in by pressure from tightening the fan screws. I will need to monitor as the screen could make contact with the fan and deterioate over time. I tested the screen extensively to ensure it does not conduct electricity, even when damaged. Also, the screen does not provide great protection for the fans. But they do allow excellent airflow and some protection.

    PRELIMINARY RESULTS

    - Youtube before: 80*C+ (fans 6000 rpm)
    - Youtube after: 55*C (fans 2000 rpm)

    Very happy with these results.

    My battery just died and inflated this week. The CPU only runs at 50% unless both battery and mains power available. So everything lags a bit including youtube videos. This vintage of GPUs naturally struggles with modern video encoding. The terribly engineered nVidia 8600M GT may be a bit knackered as well so won't run at 40*C.

    I ordered a 20$ battery and expect better performance and thermals.

    EDITS

    Apple forum is pretty quiet here!

    I principally use this machine for videos on OSX. I also run Windows 10 via BootCamp which was a complete root canal to set up as Apple drops support quickly on these. Must have taken me 30 hours to set up. I swear BootCamp is just marketing speak. That said, Windows 10 runs better than OSX on this MBP and is quite snappy.

    To improve thermals further in Windows 10, you can undervolt this Core2Duo a lot; I use ThrottleStop @unclewebb

    photo2.jpg photo4.jpg photo6.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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  2. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 what is quality control?

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    I would say use HVAC foil tape on the fans, they form easily around creases and corners of the fans. The bad part is that they're conductive so need to be careful.
     
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  3. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Nice mod. What a huge difference. I like it! Good job!
     
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  4. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Virtuoso

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    Will a cooler or a stand improve thermals?
     
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  5. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 what is quality control?

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    With the fan holes I would think so.
     
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  6. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    I think so also. I put two huge air induction holes in the case bottom and the computer's rubber feet are only a few mm high so lifting up the back a few cm with a highlighter should facilitate air intake significantly AND reduce noise.

    @GoNz0 noted on the Dell XPS that the long horizontal rubber back foot helped prevent the fans from intaking hot exhaust. That really helps the XPS' radiators. This MBP has a similar thermal design (now hahaha) but the Apple exhaust design is sloppier than the XPS' design so not 100% clear until I test. Might test a long, tall rubber back foot.

    My gut tells me an external cooling fan will not provide much benefit as the case bottom does not get too hot. As long as I can elevate the computer a bit and provide cool air to the intake fans. Will test anyways as you never know with these things.

    Until a replacement battery arrives, I can't do any real testing right now. The firmware runs both cores of the T7500 CPU @ 50% in OSX and Windows. Also the GPU can't do a lot of modern video work via hardware so I think it needs CPU running at full 2.2ghz.

    In Win10 with an undervolt to 1v and balanced power profile, idles with fans at 2000 rpm and CPU ~37*C & GPU ~50*C. That should improve a bit with the battery as CPU won't be locked at 50%. But the GPU runs hot by design and is probably running hotter with age.
     
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  7. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Virtuoso

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    My 2007 Vaio died few years ago and it came with T7100 CPU. Those temps are insane, considering you're running fairly new OS on older hardware using traditional paste. Does the CPU fan run always on MBP?
     
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  8. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    The system is downloading and installing a bunch of Windows updates in the background so "true idle" will be a bit cooler and quieter.

    I can't hear the fans on idle but looking through the holes I see the fans are moving maybe around 1000 rpm running Windows 10 in boot camp.

    I usually enable MacFansControl which by default has a min 2000rpm which is barely audible if my head is near the keyboard. 3000rpm is audible but not bothersome.

    The 6000rpm basic internet browsing (pre-thermal mods) was like a jet engine.

    When new, the Santa Rosa CPUs ran pretty hot and the nVidia GPU was a furnace, so given machine has some wear and tear and all the nVidia GPUs were defective (even the replacements), these are not bad temps.

    For me, the big win is that idle temps vs. internet/video temps are just a few degrees different now with barely audible fans. That makes this a great backup laptop for work (the keyboard is superb and the screen is nice).
     
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  9. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Virtuoso

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    Latest Laptop run near passive under 60C.
     
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  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Probably so, but ventilation and elevating the back will be the greatest benefit. The cooler would need fans directly in line with your internal fans to be of any real value. Fans blowing on the bottom panel would most likely make no difference.
     
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