We all want lower temperatures, right? But I think it matters more in the case of laptops than it does for desktops because we can usually tune things a bit better with desktops. We can optimize air flow, and we have a ton of space to work with. Laptops on the other hand are meant to be small and compact. Well… most of them So what we’ll attempt to do in this video is replace the stock thermal compound atop the CPU in this particular laptop. If you have a dedicated graphics chip you can also do this for that as well with some aftermarket, Third-Party thermal compound that should lower our core temperatures by a substantial enough amount that we can notice we might not have any more thermal throttling if that already persists and we also might have a quieter system overall because the fan won’t have to spool up to get rid of those excessive temperatures coming from those cores. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and tear this laptop down and see if we can, well make that big of a difference. [Typing] Now before we tear into our laptop. We want to run a control test We want to know how our temperatures fare before we swap the thermal glue for some aftermarket glue. And we expect that our temperatures should drop after the change. So after running Aida-64 for around 20 minutes, core temperatures leveled off at around 95 degrees Celsius which, yes, is extremely hot. But I mean, what do you expect in a laptop this size? This entire form Factor is one big compromise. You’re constricting airflow, you can’t put as many copper heat pipes to conduct the heat away from the CPU because space is so limited. So we’re going to see if just changing one variable, the thermal paste applied on top of the CPU, can make that big of a difference. Let’s say enough of a difference to prevent thermal throttling that you’re seeing below. The throttling is anywhere from 5 to 15 percent which means that our CPU is being held back from running at its full speed. From being able to execute tasks at its full potential because our laptop is not getting rid of that heat quick enough. So it’s compensating by lowering frequency. The goal is to introduce only one variable: the thermal compound applied to top the CPU and iGPU. Is that one small change significant enough to lower core temperatures by a fair amount? Let’s also include another goal: Prevent thermal Throttling. Can we prevent thermal throttling altogether by just changing the CPU compound. Let’s start by tearing open the laptop. So the only two tools I needed to tear down this XPS Thirteen were a t5 Torx screw head and a very small Phillips head screwdriver. Start by removing the Torx screws surrounding the underside of your laptop. In my case I had eight of them. I also had a very sneaky Phillips head screw underneath the little XPS panel. You’ll want to be very patient with this next step: Prying off the back panel. Most of the time you will have to do that for a laptop of this caliber. I used a very slim guitar pick. You could also use a very slim credit card or something along those lines to pry off that back panel. It will be latched in a few places. Well with the back panel off You’ll likely find a very large battery to the south, along with a motherboard CPU. If you have a dedicated graphics chip that will be where that is as well, and then either soldered ram or dedicated memory modules Depending on how yours is configured and constructed you might have to remove your battery and/or speakers Maybe even your M.2 slot or your hard drive to get to where you need to remove the CPU heat spreader which is where we’re going with this video. I’ve included the process visually here, but you might not need to do that. In my case I didn’t have to remove anything at all other than the back panel. You can literally unscrew these four screws here and have access to your CPU directly. I’m not going to lie I expected a bit better of Dell. Look how nasty and flaky this thermal compound is. Not good, not the consistency we’re looking for. You can tell it’s basically already past its prime. Remove this compound with a lint-free cloth and Isopropyl alcohol Preferably above 90 percent. Also remove the thermal compound that was stuck on to the copper base. When everything is nice, shiny, and dry apply your third party compound of choice. I’ve chosen Noctua for, well obvious reasons. Apply sufficient thermal compound, not too much to where it’s just oozing all over the place, but not too little to where it’s not properly spreading over the entire die. That’s the shiny mirror again on top of the CPU chip. You want to make sure it’s covered completely. you also don’t want to lift up once you’ve pressed it down because you can capture air bubbles in that compound and that’s not good for heat transfer. So once you have an adequate amount. I know people are going to say oh, that’s too much Greg, or oh, that’s too little. Trust me, I’ve been doing this a lot. It’s probably my sixtieth time applying thermal compound it’s it’s fine, It’s fine. Reinsert the copper pipe and secure appropriately. I say that because, and people on Twitter can attest to this, this very laptop would not post unless I loosen the screws that we’re holding bracket in place. Literally the only thing I changed was how tightly these screws were secured, and then boom the laptop booted up without a problem. And that was after switching literally everything. I took the M.2 out. I removed the battery I tried just posting straight from the AC power adapter. I didn’t know what the heck was going on. So do as I say not as I do. save yourself a few hours and do not over tighten that CPU block. Reinstall the components you removed beforehand make sure everything is plugged in properly And then give it a good old fresh boot. If all is well your laptop should post. You should either be thrown into your BIOS, in which case it would just say you know, your clock has been reset because your CMOS battery was dead for a short amount of time or whatever. Or it’ll throw you straight into Windows or whatever operating system you have, and then you should be able to run your test again and see if your thermal swap resulted in some significant core temperature drops. I even decided to compare idle temperatures. I’m glad I did because idle temperatures drop by about 3 or 4 degrees as well. That’s substantial. That’s enough to not burn my lap as much, if I’m just I don’t know watching Netflix or something. And under load after about the same amount of time, core temperatures were about anywhere between 5 and 10 degrees lower But at the same time if you check this out below 0% thermal throttling throughout now I did throttle initially that was because the fan didn’t actually kick in until after the CPU temps had already reached 95 degrees Celsius. Once the fan kicked on as it did in our first control test Everything pretty much leveled off at around 85 degrees Celsius So a significant temperature drop there for our CPU cores as well as a reduction in thermal throttling to literally zero, that is excellent news. So the moral of this story, if you’re willing to get a little down and dirty with your laptop disassemble a few things if you have the tools necessary to do so, you can actually swap your thermal compound, keep your laptop a bit quieter. I wish I had run fan tests and like a fan noise test before and after because this is actually a quieter system as well, especially when it was running Aida-64. So your fan will not kick on as much and when it does it won’t be as loud because your CPU core temperatures are being mitigated better by the better thermal compound. On top of that core temperatures in general will be lower. And you won’t have to worry about any thermal throttling if it existed beforehand. so apart from my little hiccup regarding over-tightening the CPU block which was just news to me, I’ve never run into the issue before. I do recommend this to anyone who regards him or herself as a very tech savvy Individual even if you’re not very comfortable, you can find forums or tear down guides the process should be fairly simple to follow. With that, if you like this video be sure to give it a thumbs up thumbs down for the opposite. Click that subscribe button if you haven’t already down below. Now I’ll catch you in the next video. This is science studio Thanks for learning with us.