Liquid Metal Repaste of Razer Blade 2016 + GPU overclock

Discussion in 'Razer' started by PRSnow, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. PRSnow

    PRSnow Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    7
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    16
    After undervolting and repasting with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut, my CPU temps dropped about 23ºC

    Like most Blade owners, the GPU in my Razer Blade 14" (970m early 2016) would thermally throttle soon after starting a gaming session, when the GPU temp would reach 87ºC. The throttling would effectively turn off boost speeds and often reduce the clock speed to around 900MHz or less. Sure, this laptop gets really hot and the fans get super loud, so I should just accept the notion that it can't be cooled down very well because it's a thin laptop, right?

    After spending some time searching for info about repasting I quickly came across a common theme regarding the Razer Blade 14":

    "The Blade is too thin, repasting won't help!"
    "OMG It will make temps worse!"
    "Razer is all-knowing and uses a special paste!"
    "It will void your warranty!"

    I found only two reported success stories online and even with those the temp reduction they achieved was not amazing. The problem is the contact surface area between the heat sink and the GPU & CPU is very poor in these laptops. In fact, the gap is so large that the CPU of my laptop literally has NO PHYSICAL CONTACT with the heat sink! Because of this, heavy amounts of thermal paste must be used to fill in the large gaps.


    [​IMG]
    Original factory paste visible on GPU (left) and CPU (right).

    [​IMG]
    Original factory paste visible on GPU heat sink (left) and CPU heat sink (right). Also, for some reason the plastic backing was not removed from a thermal pad.


    Unfortunately this isn't very efficient, as the more paste you use, the less effective it becomes at transferring the heat away. Luckily this isn't really a problem for liquid metal (debated by some people) which is why I decided it would be the most effective solution for this laptop.
    "Wait but liquid metal won't work with aluminum! Also it won't work with HDT heat sinks! Also it's dangerous if you use too much because it will squirt out and get everywhere!!!"

    Liquid metal quickly oxidizes aluminum and damages it when they come in contact with each other. To prevent this I protected the exposed aluminum by coating it with epoxy. I used JB Weld epoxy in this case. I mixed it with some rubbing alcohol in order to make it easier to apply as a thin layer.

    [​IMG]
    CPU heat sink after sealing exposed aluminum with epoxy.


    [​IMG]
    GPU heat sink after sealing exposed aluminum with epoxy.


    Liquid metal is also electrically conductive and will short out any metal connections it comes in contact with. I covered the exposed circuitry that could possibly come in contact with the liquid metal by using the blue tacky stuff used to hang paper/posters to the wall. This stuff also very easily handles heat over 100 degrees Celsius. (Some people have used electrical tape instead)

    [​IMG]
    Exposed contacts of CPU have been insulated.


    [​IMG]
    Exposed contacts of GPU have been insulated.


    Just like with the regular thermal paste, I had to use extra amounts of liquid metal in order to fully fill in the large gaps between the heat sink and GPU/CPU. Otherwise little or no contact would be made between them after reinstalling the heat sink. Before I applied the liquid metal I first cleaned the copper with a strong brazing flux paste, then wiped it off with rubbing alcohol. The flux contains acids that remove the surface oxidation on the copper, allowing the liquid metal the best possible contact to the copper after application. (I don't know how well this improved thermal efficiency, but it was an easy and quick step so it was worth a shot) I then used more blue tacky stuff to surround the liquid metal in order to prevent the chance of it spilling out onto the motherboard.

    [​IMG]
    Copper cleaned and liquid metal applied. Blue tack will "seal" in the liquid metal as it molds around the CPU after reinstalling the heat sink.


    [​IMG]
    Liquid metal applied. Blue tack will "seal" in the liquid metal as it molds around the GPU after reinstalling the heat sink.




    After putting everything back together, I fired up the laptop and started stress testing the temps.
    Below are my observations with ambient temperatures at 21ºC (70ºF):
    • CPU temps dropped by about 10ºC (fans set to quiet mode)
    • CPU idle temps didn't change much, but now it cools down to idle temps much quicker
    • GPU no longer thermally throttles
    • GPU temps average 77ºC and max out at about 81-82ºC
    • Fans never reach max speed anymore
    • Fans spin down to idle much quicker after a gaming session
    • Laptop surface temps don't get nearly as hot as they used to

    CPU stress test temp before repaste: 82ºC (fans set to quiet mode)
    [​IMG]


    CPU stress test temp after repaste: 72ºC (fans set to quiet mode)
    [​IMG]


    CPU stress test temp after repaste + undervolt (160mV): 59ºC
    [​IMG]


    While the liquid metal made a big difference in temps, undervolting made an even bigger difference. After hours of stress testing with prime95 and Intel XTU I was able to safely undervolt the CPU by 160mV.

    I'm very happy with the results. My only concern is the possibility of the liquid metal flowing away from the mating surfaces if the laptop is bumped or handled aggressively. However, if Conductonaut solidifies after use like some other brands of liquid metals do then maybe this won't be an issue. So far I've thrown the laptop into my backpack and walked around campus a few times without any problems.



    With the extra thermal headroom I decided to try overclocking the 970m. After extensive testing I finally settled on raising the boost clock speed by 200 MHz and RAM clock speed by 400MHz. (I modified the bios using Maxwell II BIOS Tweaker.)
    I even tried boost speeds at 1380MHz but within minutes of gameplay the GPU would begin to throttle down to the 1200's due to temps or power limitations. At 1240MHz thermal throttling is uncommon as long as I have the laptop slightly propped up for greater airflow.

    Stock GPU boost clock: 1038MHz
    New boost clock: 1240MHz

    Stock GPU memory clock: 2505MHz (1253MHz)
    New memory clock: 2905MHz (1453MHz)


    [​IMG]


    Before overclock
    [​IMG]


    After overclock
    [​IMG]




    UPDATE:

    Almost two months later and the temps are still the same as when I first applied the Conductonaut. I've also opened up the laptop several times to make sure no LM has squeezed past the blue tack/putty.

    Playing Mass Effect Andromeda for about 30 min (high graphics, rendered resolution 1920x1080) the max CPU temp is 59ºC, and the overclocked GPU maxes out at 86ºC without throttling. I have the laptop propped up about 2 inches for better airflow.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
    Vasudev, Revoluxon, jaug1337 and 5 others like this.
  2. chhappy7

    chhappy7 Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    5
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Hot damn dude. This is awesome. Wonder if this is possible with the Stealth as well...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. PRSnow

    PRSnow Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    7
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Glad you liked it!
    I don't see why this wouldn't work with the Stealth either. Perhaps the temps wouldn't drop as drastically but only one way to find out. :D
     
    Mobius 1 likes this.
  4. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 nͫiͤcͫeͤ

    Reputations:
    3,215
    Messages:
    8,627
    Likes Received:
    6,027
    Trophy Points:
    681
    Picture doesn't show for me @PRSnow
     
  5. Raidriar

    Raidriar Notebook Prophet

    Reputations:
    1,133
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    2,880
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Pics work fine for me. My only concern is if the fit is airtight. If not, you're going to have temps skyrocketing very soon due to metal paste drying out if the seal is not airtight.
     
  6. PRSnow

    PRSnow Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    7
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I'll be sure to post status updates if anything changes but so far the temps have been solid after two weeks. I'm confident the CPU is sealed airtight, but as for the GPU I can't say for sure. They are definitely both sealed well enough to prevent the liquid metal from getting onto the motherboard though. Just for peace of mind I recently opened up the laptop to have a look at the motherboard and the seals look good as far as I can tell.
     
  7. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 nͫiͤcͫeͤ

    Reputations:
    3,215
    Messages:
    8,627
    Likes Received:
    6,027
    Trophy Points:
    681
    Pic doesn't show for me though, only says [ img ]
     
  8. Vistar Shook

    Vistar Shook Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    1,047
    Messages:
    1,024
    Likes Received:
    979
    Trophy Points:
    131
    the images show for me.
     
  9. CedricFP

    CedricFP Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    46
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    262
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Yeah I can't see the images either. OP, would you mind linking them as well? I'd love to see your work.
     
  10. jaug1337

    jaug1337 de_dust2

    Reputations:
    2,075
    Messages:
    4,812
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Ditto.
     
Loading...

Share This Page