How to FIX AW17R4/15R3/13R3 CPU Core Temperature Differential Issue

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by alexnvidia, May 18, 2017.

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Does your AW13R3/15R3/17R4 suffer from CPU core temperature differential?

  1. Yes, over 20C difference

  2. Yes, over 10C difference

  3. Tolerable, within 5C difference

  4. No, within 1C difference

  5. Yes, over 10C difference, received after March 2017

  6. Tolerable within 5C difference, received after March 2017

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  1. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    Hi all, i'm starting a new discussion and as the title suggest, this is a place to discuss ways and methods used to fix CPU core differential problem on all new alienware models.

    Update 7 OCT 2017
    Here's an update on some of the data collection that i've been doing over the past few months. Owner inputs are greatly appreciated. Basically, looking into the heatsink assembly of alienware 17R4 is like opening a can of worms or opening pandora's box. there are so many different heatsink assembly and it's extremely confusing, and we are talking about just the GTX1080 variant. anyway, here are some of the data for reference, sharing, and hopefully finding a better resolution to this ongoing problem. What i've gathered so far can be summarized as below.

    Heatsink Part Number
    04RFW1 (the most commonly found heatsink and currently shipping) can be made by 2 manufacturers. DP/N ends with A01 revision
    CCI - Revision BL-0, BL-1, BL-2
    SUNON - Revision S-J-1, S-J-2

    0FRPY8 DP/N ends with revision A00 (latest part number)
    CCI - Revision BL-2 (less than 5C core temperature diff without OC)
    SUNON - Revision ? (over 20C core temperature diff when OC)

    0K2PKV DP/N ends with revision A00 (probably the earliest batch heatsinks)
    CCI - Revision BL-0

    cci.jpg IMG_9474.JPG Sunon 4RFW1 Revision 2.jpg sunon.jpg

    i will try to post some picture depicting the various types of heatsink assemblies but as of now, the only known out of the box with acceptable cpu core temperature differential is 04RFW1 SUNON S-J-2 DP/N Revision A01. The rest are all plauged with massive cpu core temperature difference, irrespective of when you receive your system. Once you OC the CPU, be prepared for over 15-20C temperature difference.

    EDIT: Just got a confirmation from @Maineiac12 his CCI BL-2 0FRPY8 is working well without modifications out of the box without OC.
    Got another confirmation from @Rei Fukai his 0FRPY8 is Sunon made but has massive 20C core temperature differential problem when OC

    Dont bother looking for dell support, they know nothing about the difference in heatsink assembly. they only order by the part number. and dont bother with alienware engineering team. equally useless. wasted 1 month waiting for them to investigate only to tell me that 2 of the CPU core running at 100C is normal because only 2 of the cores are stressed during CPU intensive test like OCCT (seriously??? such a stupid and pathetic feedback from alienware "engineering" team). and they provide me with nothing about the heatsink assembly info.

    Dont bother asking for help here also, because unless you are willing to pay for repasting services, the guide to bending and modifying the heatsink is a closely guarded secret by certain repasting people who make lots of money by keeping this close to their chest. the best answer you might get, if you are being entertained at all, is a vauge, rough and unclear answer at best with nothing specific. you want more? PAY

    Those who have more data please feel free to share. Take a picture of the heatsink with the DP/N part number, the entire heatsink itself and when did you receive the system. also post your CPU core differential temperature so we can have more data on which is a better heatsink.

    Background of the issue.
    New system shipped from factory, even as recent as May 2017 are suffering from extreme core differential problem even at stock speed. True the problem is a little bit better now with the Kaby lake models, but it is still there and wide spread. I must say, over 80% of the systems being shipped came with this problem, if not all.

    How to detect this issue.
    Easy. Run a CPU stress program like OCCT or wPRIME and monitor your CPU temperature. If all 4 CPU cores are within 3-5C degrees (example: 75C, 76C, 74C, 77C), you are one of the very few lucky ones. If 2 of your CPU cores are 10C+ hotter than the other 2 cores (example: 80C, 90C, 82C, 92C), your system is suffering from this issue. note that the core differential problem always come in pairs. Core 0, 2, or Core 1, 3 depending on which area on the CPU die has less contact with the heatsink. The problem is also AMPLIFIED significantly for those who OC their 6820HK/7820HK CPU without undervolt. In the earlier batch of skylake systems, the temperature difference can be over 20C easily!

    Cause of the problem.
    The heatsink of the CPU is not making proper contact with the CPU die surface. Especially the first half upper region of the CPU. This is due to the heatsink of the CPU resting at an angle (when viewed sideways) on the CPU die surface due to 2 main problems.
    1. Poor CPU tripod tension arm design, weakest point at the single arm top part of the CPU. not providing enough pressure to allow the CPU heatsink to sit flush with the CPU die.

    2. Thermal pads. use of thermal pads thicker than you should on the power delivery components on top of the CPU raised the heatsink up at the top side and the already weak cpu tension arm does not help at all. the initial skylake models were even worse using thick thermal pads on the larger silver chokes which were rectified later with the very thin white pads. This enhancement was done in part due to iunlock & Team LHz holding discussion with dell engineering team. the CPU core temperature differential reduced from over 20C to 10C.

    How to fix the problem.
    From what i see around the forum, most people who have successfully fixed this issue are using liquid metal (LM). LM has such high thermal conductivity, by just applying thicker layer on the top half of the cpu, it effectively plugged the gap between the heatsink and cpu die.

    For those who use traditional paste like i do, Grizzly kryonaut, it is near impossible to fix this issue easily. even with thermal paste as good as kryonaut, the thermal conductivity is pale in comparison to LM. the only person whom i've seen successfully get even temperatures across all core using traditional paste is iunlock

    I have tried many non invasive methods, including
    1. changing thermal paste, putting a thicker layer at the top part of the cpu
    2. repad the VRM (smaller black chips on top of the larger square silver Chokes) with a thinner 1mm fujipoly pad and leaving the 0.1mm white thermal pads on the silver chokes from factory.
    3. tried different screw combination (the heatsink screws are labeled 1,2,3 which indicates which screw you should tighten first).
    4. pressing the heatsink against the CPU when fastening the scews
    5. bending the tripod top tension arm as iunlock suggested

    Basically, NON of the above method works. to date, i have possibly done repad and repaste more than 10 times combined with 6820HK and 7820HK AW17R4. to date i have not been able to reduce core differential to less than 10C.

    Things yet to try
    1. Mobius 1 suggested to replace the 0.1mm white thermal pad from factory with actual thermal paste for an even thinner contact to reduce the gap between the cpu and heatsink.
    2. invasive methods like sand paper the heatsink, using mallet to knock the heatsink copper, etc.

    Those who have this issue, or those who are able to fix this issue, please share and discuss over here. and note that NOT all heatsink are created equal, but it's a good point of reference.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  2. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    Even ambient roo temperature is key factor in determining the CPU temps, I guess your room temp is <40C.
     
  3. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    Actually im in an fully air conditoned room, temperature is kept at 22-23C.
     
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  4. leeloyd

    leeloyd Notebook Consultant

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    Some experiments are currently undergoing on P4G forum :
    • A retention mod 2.0 for both CPU and GPU where you need to remove the glued motherboard's retention bracket.
    • A passthrough mod where you enlarge the north arms' holes enough to passthrough the inserts and add washers in order to increase pressure.
     
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  5. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    wow! can you provide a link for that? thanks
     
  6. leeloyd

    leeloyd Notebook Consultant

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  7. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    looks like something worth trying it out. shouldn't the washer be placed on top of the red zone to increase the height of the tension arm?

    correct me if i'm mistaken but placing it at the orange zone only add a gap between the arm and the screw, which doesn't do anything?
     
  8. leeloyd

    leeloyd Notebook Consultant

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    Nope, the screw won't go down, but adding washer between the screw head and the arm will push the arm lower than the screw through the insert and increase pressure on the heatsink.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    wow! that's a risky task. how's the result? does it help reduce the cpu core temperature differential issue?

    and how do you enlarge the screw hole on the tension arm?
     
  10. leeloyd

    leeloyd Notebook Consultant

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    With professional precision tools, milling machine.
    Ghetto style may be possible with Dremel tool, but hasn't been tested yet.

    Edit : The result is -10°C on the hotest core.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
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