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thermal paste on i5 2.5 Ghz 2011 Mac mini ? Resolved!

 
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MJL
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:06 am    Post subject: thermal paste on i5 2.5 Ghz 2011 Mac mini ? Resolved! Reply with quote

Can anyone offer their thoughts on doing this and if it is going to have any impact?

Am thinking about using Tuniq TX-4 (supposedly better than Artic Silver and easier to apply).

Thanks


Last edited by MJL on Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MJL
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has been a while since I posted the original question.

I have changed the thermal paste from what Apple used to Tuniq TX-4.

Tuniq TX-4 was choosen after reading many tests results from different reviewers. It is not the easiest to apply but on the Mac mini I believe it to be the best.

Main reason for the choice was that Tuniq TX-4 is reported to be not very critical about how thick/thin it is applied - I've seen reports that showed that there was not a lot of change in temperature unlike some other thermal paste's.

A few notes:

When removing the IR connector use two spuds: use the tips, one on each side of the connector.

Apple's thermal paste was too liberally applied - it was all over the small components on the CPU board. To remove this I got a small stiff hog bristle brush and dipped that in alcohol and carefully brushed between all the parts in different directions. Cleaned the surface of the CPU itself last. I also used an antistatic cord attached to the metal part of the brush that is holding the bristles (in additon to the wrist strap).

The heatsink makes bad contact to both CPU and GPU and is far from being flat. It needs reasonable large amount of paste, I used a "pea" in the middle of the GPU and an "elongated pea" on the CPU.

The results?

With the standard Apple thermal paste the temperature would spike as soon as some load was applied to the CPU (indicating not good thermal conductivity between heatsink and CPU / GPU).

After replacing the temperature does not spike nearly as much and is far more evened out.

I am running Windows 7 only and prior to replacing running the Windows Experience Index would see the fan going full tilt with the temperature hitting 100C. After replacement the fan did not speed up substantially and temperature max'd out at 88 C.

I am very pleased with the results.
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice posting. how hard was it to pull the heatsink?
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MJL
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip, I had done CPU replacements in the past on some Lenovo Thinkpads and this was no worse, just slow going since this was the first time.

The most apprehension I had was for removing the logic board from the housing. Left the SSD in place (I had already replaced the 500 Gb HDD with a 128 Apple Toshiba SSD). But the logic removal tool from iFixit made it easy and I regard having that as essential.

When disassembling I discovered that the power connector to the logic board (next to the IR connector) was not properly plugged in which helped removing it. If it had been plugged in properly then my advice would be to remove the SSD before trying to unplug the power connector.

The screws holding the heatsink down have some thread lock stuff on them and one had received a rather liberal amount of it so it was slow going with properly fitting tools (cheap ones do not fit as well as quality stuff and you run the risk of stripping the heads with cheap tools). These screws were harder to remove than on the Thinkpads - different threadlock material from what Lenovo used.

Having started out with a Mac mini 2005 half a year ago I was disappointed of the quality of workmanship in comparison. I was not impressed that the copper "mating surfaces" of the heatsinks were only pressed material glued on (and not flat). Neither have I been impressed that the fan does not have a nice foam seal around the heatsink (which the 2005 Mac mini has) resulting in dirt sitting on the logic board.

If I had known how straight forward it is then I would have done it a long time ago. I have no reservations about doing it again. But as usual the disclaimer: YMMV (Your Milage May Vary).
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