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. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Virtuoso

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    I had a 10c drop after i also changed the thermal pads but yet still use traditional but high quality paste. The heatsink pressure definitely needs to be optimized for the best results.
     
  2. forbyefor_gold_eagle

    forbyefor_gold_eagle Notebook Enthusiast

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    I agree with you--not necessarily pressure but fit; I think this is why AW Dell and other manufacturers continue to use the paste that they do. All the while admitting that the results with LM are profoundly different than with other pastes.

    Standard paste helps them (in a high paced production setting):
    • eliminate any air gap created by incorrectly sized (thickness) pads/ heatsink face/ spring arm- deformity
    • has tested and longterm data on its application
    • can be quickly machine/ monkey applied and assembled by machine/ monkey
    • produces a consistent result (meaning assembly)

    LM:
    • doesn't have a bunch of longterm data in this application
    • necessitates meticulous care and attention to detail in assembly and fit and amount of LM used
    • creates unknowns with regard to user serviceability because of availability of LM
    • all these reasons and more would slow production and that means more cost
    But the advantages of using LM (when done right) speak for themselves, at least for the consumer.

    When I re-pasted my 13 with Conductonaut, I checked for fit by: screwing down the heatsink and then lifting it again to check for the contact patch--bubbles aren't an issue with LM since it's not as viscous as normal paste and wouldn't matter anyway here. One can check by doing this(the contact patch for pad fit/ heatsink-fit (flatness to die)) and by sighting down the edge of the board to check that your electrical tape isn't above the level of the die (like sighting down a wooden board for straightness), then you know it's right.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  3. Gumwars

    Gumwars Notebook Guru

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    So, I reported earlier that my LM repaste went well (I also opted for using Kryonaut instead of thermal pads on the associated elements around the GPU/CPU). Unfortunately, whatever I did wasn't a long term solution. Temps started climbing and last week I started seeing thermal throttling.

    So, I broke my 15 R3 apart again and examined the CPU - the LM had become a hardened almost crystalline material. It appears to have oxidized and reacted to a limited degree with the copper plate in the heatsink. The copper is still intact but now has a permanent stain of gallium on the mating surface. Additionally, the surface is irregular as some of the hardened LM material has embedded.

    I've read that this happens with LM; specifically the oxidation and copper reactivity. The copper reaction isn't the same as what happens with aluminum, no delamination or corruption of the structure - more like a sintering effect. The oxides were present on the CPU die along with the heatsink. I removed it using a citrus/alcohol based heatsink cleaning solution and liberal use of my elbow. I did not use any abrasives or blades and was able to return the CPU die to a mirror finish along with restoring the heatsink to a relatively flat surface.

    After reading every post I could find on what is happening here, I confirmed that the Intel CPU die is indeed humped. There is a high point right at the center of the CPU and without a matching indentation in the heatsink, there will always be some sort of problem getting the cooling solution to interface properly with the die.

    Of the remedies discussed here, I believe anyone looking to find a permanent fix for this problem only has three solutions:
    1. If you have access to CAD tools or extreme patience, you could try to machine or lap the heatsink to account for the CPU bulge
    2. Return to a conventional thermal paste that can fill the void created by the uneven mating surface
    3. Use a more liberal quantity of LM and make sure you've protected surrounding components from spillage
    Of the three, I opted for the last choice. My temps are back down again with differences between cores at 4C at the largest gap (Core 0 and Core 2). Torture tested it for several hours with Ghost Recon Wildlands and saw temps stabilize around 70C.

    I fully expect having to do this again; absent a better seal with the LM, I'm sure the oxidation problem will return. I'm considering using a graphite or LM pad in the future. As I understand it, the graphite solution is about half as efficient as LM but has the added feature of being reusable.
     
  4. dsmrunnah

    dsmrunnah Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just finished redoing my heat sink with liquid metal following the @iunlock guide. I used the Fujipoly Extreme Pad's (17w/mk) on the areas he had listed as important, and regular Arctic pads on the less important ones. Prior to the tearing into it, my core differentials were around 15 degrees, but I would typically hit throttling about 5mins into running OCCT. When I first reassembled everything, I still had a core differential of about 10-12 Degrees with Core 2 being the highest, and Core 3 typically the lowest, but I wasn't throttling. I took it back apart, redid the LM, and did a slight modification to the CPU heat sink using a modified USB bracket from my desktop to add more pressure to the top of the heat sink. This made the results much better (as you can see in the image).

    It should be noted that I'm running my overclock at 42x (or ~4.2ghz) with an undervolt of 0.075v and I also have a CCI heat sink. I have my GPU overclocked +175/+500MHz on the core and memory clocks respectively through MSI Afterburner. I just finished playing Witcher 3 for about an hour and my core temperatures had hit a high of 78C on the highest core and 74C on the lowest, with the GPU hitting 71C according to HWInfo. Let me know what you think!

    https://imgur.com/jDim1oQ
     
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  5. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    temps are great. any picture of the hardware modification u did?
     
  6. dsmrunnah

    dsmrunnah Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'll preface this with it's a temporary modification as it's kind of "ghetto" ;) but I plan to make a revision using a piece of aluminum and a milling machine.

    I drilled out the bolt hole on the heat sink to allow it to slide over the mounting bracket on the motherboard. Then just put the clamp on the screw and tightened it down in the order of the numbers on the heat sink. It fits under the black plastic cover that goes over top of the mobo, but it does push on it a bit. Once the outer most plate is back on, it's not noticeable at all.

    The clamp is from a USB-C port I had laying around from another build. I clipped off one side of the clamp with a standard set of side cutters.

    https://imgur.com/a/2ad6t4l

    I also added some stick on feet underneath to give it a bit of space for the fans to pull in some extra air. This seems to have helped a few degrees with the temps as well.

    https://imgur.com/a/BwQXR5c
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  7. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    good mod for the weak cpu tension arm. be careful with the screw though, from your picture it looks like it might snap off any time.
     
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  8. dsmrunnah

    dsmrunnah Notebook Enthusiast

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    The screw is actually in there straight, but the tapered head and the angle of the bracket make it look crooked. I've ordered some slightly longer screws with button heads for the future. I've already got an idea of the aluminum bracket I want to make and am going to have a buddy mock it up on AutoCAD for me at work. If all goes well, it should look like a factory piece.
     
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  9. sarou

    sarou Notebook Consultant

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    Do you have better pics please ?
     
  10. alexnvidia

    alexnvidia Notebook Deity

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    you are on to something here. if you can get more pictures here im sure a lot of forum victims will thank you for it.
     
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