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Modifying the heat pipe - Inspiron 8200


Henrik

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Hi all, i am a new user here and i want to say thank you for all the good info on this site.

Now, i hope i'm not off-topic on my first question.

Regarding the microprocessor thermal-cooling assembly on a DELL Inspiron 8200 laptop

Is it safe to remove the square thin metal foil/film that is located on the heat pipe section of the cooling system and replace it with thermal paste? Or is this foil actually making a better thermal contact to the CPU compared to thermal paste?

Have you done this mod yourself?

I have attached a photo of the heat pipe to help explain my question.

/Henrik

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I have moved this to OT, as I am not sure anymore where to post the highly technical stuff since Rene has been changing up the forums.

Anyway nice that we finaly have a good pic of the very pipe underneath my fingures, well mine is not the same exact pipe as yours but you know what I am talking about.

So that metal foil thing was what is coming into contact with the CPU?

Sounds like remains of some sort of special heat pad thing, but Arctic Silver 5 should be better.

Just make sure to get the I8kfangui program to be able to check your temperatures first.

The temps should go down if you do it right, otherwise I would shut it off if it goes above 80 C when your sitting at the desktop or something. (should be lower, like maybe 40/50ish something idle without fans turned on)

http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/index.php?showtopic=8885

Welcome to the forum, nice to have another I8200 user! :)

If you have any questions about BIOS flashing or graphics card modding just ask me or Kamika007 (both of us are on the moderator list)

The I8200 latest BIOS is just fine unless you want to use the docking station from the business laptops, and I have not even been able to get a working one yet anyway.

Graphics card upgrade in this is a bit tricky, unless you can solder GPUs on a small board the card I have is the fastest. (and hardest to get, even if you have the money)

If you haven't figured it out yet the HDD(s) are fair game upgrade wise, put basically any 2.5 IDE drive you want in there, should work.

Same goes with optical drives, I just got a slot loading DVD burner.

Also got a 108 mbps Atheros Wifi card from Netgate.com I got the 5004, but any of those will work, I would really recomend the 3054.

For RAM search for the Dell Precision M50 on Crucial.com

You might want to buy the RAM somewhere else though as crucial jacked up their prices last I checked.

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Bill, i'm truly sorry for placing my very FIRST post in the wrong forum. Nice start, eh? :-) I was reading a lot of threads and this discussion about thermal paste, triggered my question and choice of forum:

http://forums.laptopvideo2go.com/index.php?showtopic=6627

So that metal foil thing was what is coming into contact with the CPU?

Yes, it acts like a soft shim, placed between the CPU and the heat pipe slab. But it is very thin and made of aluminium and soft enough to mould upon the shape of the CPU and the heat pipe slab. I guess one should renew it every time the heat pipe has been dismantled. I have attached a close-up of the shim below.

I am tempted to remove it and use thermal paste instead, but a CPU can burn up in a matter of 1-2 seconds from startup if inefficiently cooled. Or can the mobile Pentium 4 - M shut down automatically due to high temperatures?

I would like to hear from someone who has actually done this.

- If you have any questions about BIOS flashing or graphics card modding just ask me or Kamika007

One of my most wanted mods/upgrades would be a new graphics card/GPU. I'm currently using a GeForce4 440 Go 64MB, but would really like to have the power of the Quadro4 700 GoGL.

- Graphics card upgrade in this is a bit tricky, unless you can solder GPUs on a small board

Could you please elaobrate on this? Someone has actually soldered a new GPU onto their existing gfx board? Please tell. I'm an electronic engineer and soldering is second nature to me :-)

Bill, thanks for the warm welcome and the info. I already have two internal HDD's (1x7200rpm + 1x5400rpm in the bay), 1GB RAM. I'm getting a new double aerial to be mounted in the TFT panel and might take a look at the Atheros card to replace my old 11Mbps non-WPA card.

I've done some mods to my i8200, like enhanced cooling, upgraded CPU, installed internal 24bit/96KHz sound card and more to come. If anyone is interested, take a look at the pictures attached.

Where on this forum should stuff like the above be placed? ..or is hardware tweaking outside the framework of laptopvideo2go.com ?

/Henrik

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Hi Henrik,

There are only very few laptops on the market with upgradable or even modular graphics subsystems. Most of them just have the GPU soldered on the mainboard. Even if you could just replace this chip, which you can't because pining differs widely, i doubt if you could solder/desolder fine pitch BGA's without specialised tools.

I think Bill was just horsing you around :)

ice-tea

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Where on this forum should stuff like the above be placed? ..or is hardware tweaking outside the framework of laptopvideo2go.com ?
We used to put all of the few 'Modding' threads into the OverClocking forum, but i did a tiny reorganisation/renaming of the forum, so best place would be HERE. Will rename the forum to reflect Bill's suggestion (Highly Technical information :) ) and move that thread. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Yep its not your fault its in the wrong place, Rene changed it and left out the technical section, which used to be clearly labled but on a different section.

Now it has been properly labled again.

Anyway as for the heat mod, what mods have you done for the heat so far? Just drilled those holes?

I don't know anyone else who has done this, but you can search the Dell forums and go ask BayWolf maybe. http://www.bay-wolf.com/

Other Dell Laptops have the same or very similar heatpipe design, and I do think it has been done before.

I would say go ahead and try, get one of your spare laptops/CPUs and be carefull with what your doing.

For the graphics card, you might be able to find one on ebay, it will have the same form facter as the GF 440 go, and be from a dell laptop.

You can also call up Dell, think the part number is 6x935.

http://www.geocities.com/thebithead/I8200F...tm?200624#Video

Calling Dell is best if they have one, you need to call the business line and lie saying you have an M50, which is what my laptop is flashed too.

As for upgrading it past this DX8 card to say a 128 or 256MB GF FX or 6 series, well you will need to be able to solder stuff off of and back onto the card without breaking it.

As an electrical engineer you should be able to draw up a sketch of the board layout by taking the card apart and examing it, maybe you have a broken card to dissasemble?

The closest I have heard of anything similar was back in like 2004 or so somebody got a "crazy engineer guy" to take his 5700 apart and upgrade it from 128 to 256 MB RAM, required new video BIOS and RAM chips and a few other components, next they supposedly put 512MB RAM on it, remember this was a laptop card atleast a year ago probably (or almost) so it was a serious feat, they didnt have nvidia 512MB cards yet even for desktops.

Anyway we never got any specific info on taking it apart other than that the guy had a heart attack when he saw the enigeer take everything off of his graphics card.

You might be able to find out who made the card (it can't be dell) and get plans from them, could search for Dell laptop nvidia card manufacturer or something.

I'm not any sort of engineer yet (still junior in HS) so I haven't done any of that stuff yet but I probably will someday, although the cards keeping getting smaller and more complex with more stuff on them, soon I'll need a magnifying glass to see the circuits on a laptop card, imagine what kind of machine I would need to replace stuff that size, be a long time before I get access to one.

About the Wifi card, on netgate they have 2 different types of internal cards, type 2 and type 3, now these are not to be confused with type 2 and 3 cardbus type cards, those are different.

The 5004 wifi I got was the smaller kind, think it was type 3 or something (has it on the page on netgate)

Anyway upon actually upgrading the card I found out my old one was the bigger kind and the antenna was not where I thought it would be, I bought the one I did cause it was recomended for Dells.

Moral is check your wifi card before you buy an internal upgrade.

I was able to plug the antenna up to the secondary connector and all is well somehow, have support for WPA and up to 108, even works on my D-Link gaming router (at that speed).

While you know the smaller card I got works, the only award it will win is weighing less, which really doesn't matter much in this case.

You should get a bigger card (which should have more power somehow) and the antenna conectors are in a plac that will fit.

Please don't be lazy like me and check the antenna connector locations first before you buy a card.

The card I bought was cheaper though...

Is that sound mod the new Audigy 2 ZS?

That bay in mine is occupied with a bad battery (both have broke cells)

Know how to fix those cheaply besides buying a new battery?

(Or know a good place to buy good affordable new batteries)

Also, while were on the subject of cooling, how easy is it to replace the fans? (I think according to documents on Dell's site you have to remove the motherboard first?)

Dont know if I believe that but it is really hard I am scared of maybe breaking something.

Edit: I don't know how much you know about metals an heat conductivity and thermochemistry or whatever you call it, but the stuff between the heatpipe and CPU is supposed to pull the heat off of the CPU on to the heatpipe.

Aluminum is not very good at that (copper better obviously) and I am sure a fancy thermal paste is even better, if used properly.

Or if your rich you can try diamond. (if your laptop is stationary, water cooling)

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Anyway as for the heat mod, what mods have you done for the heat so far? Just drilled those holes?

Yeah, that's about it. I renewed the cooling paste on the GPU as well. It had turned quite stiff. I'm also using a passive heat pipe stand for the laptop. It's a Nexus and works pretty well: http://www.nexustek.nl/tdd3000.htm

Actually, efficient cooling is the one most important thing for a laptop. Heat kills. When gaming or running heavy applications, i avoid using cardbus adapters and i don't use the battery, because those two things really seal the laptop up and typically uses a lot of power (=dissipates heat). The battery will also suffer from heat.

Also, in every day work, i have both fans running at minimum speed (step 23) almost all of the time. That keeps the temp at an even level (45-50 degr.cels.) instead of having it fluctuate in the typical range of 45-75 degr.cels.

You should get a bigger card (which should have more power somehow) and the antenna conectors are in a plac that will fit.

Thanks for the info. I'm replacing the stock aerial with a new, double wire one that runs all the way to the display casing, so i think it has plenty of lead.

Is that sound mod the new Audigy 2 ZS?

No, it's an M-Audio Transit, stripped from its casing.

That bay in mine is occupied with a bad battery (both have broke cells)

Know how to fix those cheaply besides buying a new battery?

I recommend buying a new battery. Don't mess with the cells inside the battery. The battery pack for the 8200 is packed with lots of electronics apart from the cells, and taking it apart is a mess. Go eBay.

AND TAKE THE BATTERY OUT WHEN NOT USING IT :) Heat kills it.

Regarding replacing the fan:

I am about to replace my double fan and the DELL online documents are a god sent. Trust them and you'll be fine. Yes, replacing the fan is one of the most time consuming (difficult) tasks on a 8200.

Even if you could just replace this chip, which you can't because pining differs widely, i doubt if you could solder/desolder fine pitch BGA's without specialised tools.

That's what i thought too :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Guest

Replacing the fan on an Inspiron 8000/8100/8200 is not too diffcult.

1) remove all cards, drives, batteries, etc.

2) Pry off the button/logo strip...it does not have any screws on it

3) pull the bar on the video cable (also no screws)

4) remove the 2 screws in back holding the display on

Only 2 screws hold the display on!

5) wiggle the display out and put it in a safe place

6) remove the screw in the middle of the button panel circuit board

leave the board on.

7) flip the laptop over and remove all the "K" screws

8) You can flip the keyboard and rotate it 90 degrees and still keep it connected.

Remove the keyboard and gently pry the connector off from the motherboard.

I pull the cable but you might want to be more careful.

8a) you might want to remove the heatsink here

9) remove the cables from the mini-pci card and modem.

10) you can leave the memory, mini-pci and modem connected

11) remove all the "p" screws (that's the rest of them)

the ones in the bottom back are screwed in with over 1" of thread so keep going!

12) pull the tab connecting the touchpad board tp the motherboard

13) run your fingernail around the L+R edges to separate bottom and top

14) put the touchpad board away (or clean it, there are only 2 screws holding it together)

15) take the 1" long small shield off the ethernet connector (spread it to unclick it)

16) pry the ethenet cable off the motherboard with your fingernail (or gently pull the cable)

17) there are only 3 silver screws holding the motherboard in

18) tilit it out. if you can't check step #6

19) the left and right rear edges catch. use a small screwdriver.

20) the fans are secured with 3 small screws. Also note how the dual power/

sensor wires are run when you replace them.

8100 fans go 10,000 RPM. 8200 and M50 fans go 7,000+ RPM max (different part numbers)

Regarding replacing the fan:

I am about to replace my double fan and the DELL online documents are a god sent. Trust them and you'll be fine. Yes, replacing the fan is one of the most time consuming (difficult) tasks on a 8200.

That's what i thought too :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi all, i am a new user here and i want to say thank you for all the good info on this site.

Now, i hope i'm not off-topic on my first question.

Regarding the microprocessor thermal-cooling assembly on a DELL Inspiron 8200 laptop

Is it safe to remove the square thin metal foil/film that is located on the heat pipe section of the cooling system and replace it with thermal paste? Or is this foil actually making a better thermal contact to the CPU compared to thermal paste?

Have you done this mod yourself?

I have attached a photo of the heat pipe to help explain my question.

/Henrik

On all my 3 Inspiron 8200's, I've done the mod. The metal foil/film is just like a thermal pad and you can just remove it and then remove the remaining stuff with either Goof-Off which is Xylene based or Goo Gone which is cirtrus based. My temps were hitting 85C until I removed it and then placed Nanotherm PCM+ on it which knocked the temperature down to less than 70C. Nanotherm is now part of Artic Silver.

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Wow, I couldn't believe what I was reading from Bill... :)

Me, John, and a lot of Dell Forum members had replaced the thermal pad on the heatsink pipe with Thermal Interface Material. I'm using the Nanotherm PCM+ which is solid when the CPU is completely cold and liquids when the CPU is hot while John uses Arctic Silver 5. A few people uses the Shin-Etsu Micro Si as well.

We've done this back in 2003-2004.

For the graphics card, 6X935 is the correct part number and you have to call Dell Small Business Spare Parts

and say you have a Precision Workstation M50, and not just a M50 and say you don't have your machine with you for the service tag number when they ask you.

I never knew Bill was still a junior in HS since it seems like he was over 18 as I thought Bill was a cadet at the United States Airforce Academy.

As for the Wifi card, Bill's Wifi card just like the dozen Atheros 5004 cards I have only work 50% and not 100% as the internal antenna only supports 2.4Ghz so only 802.11b/g works but not the 802.11a 5Ghz. I didn't buy my cards since these are all OEM by Atheros and is the same cards used in the D-Link 774 Router which has 2 of these cards inside.

The Audigy 2 ZS is new? Not sure how you measure age but the Audigy 2 ZS has been out for over 1.5 years and the Audigy 4 ZS and now the Xi-Fi has been out since then.

As for the subject of cooling, replacing the fans looks more complicated in the manual than anything else but you do need to take the entire system apart and the Dell is modular so taking it apart takes about 5 minutes and then putting it back takes another 10 minutes. I've done it over 30+ times on my 3 machines to swap out parts, etc. I do have 8100 fans in my 8200 since the RPM is higher and the CFM rating is higher except it has a higher energy rating.

It's really hard to break something unless you don't follow directions. Replacing the LCD panel and getting the bezel off is actually a higher risk.

:)

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So how much stupid stuff did I say? (school work must be getting to me head, or is it the lack of sleep? :) )

Thought you guys knew I used to be only 17.

Spotted the Audigy 2 ZS is new lie, guess it is still new compared to their old USB external 5.1.

I am pretty sure I gave the right part number for the card though.

Course I got my card from a guy in NJ because Dell wasn't any help, so I can't say much for ordering it from them, they woulnd't even sell me a 64MB 440 go.

Do you have the part numbers for the I8200 fans?

Maybe I'll join the Airforce someday, flying one of the new fighter jets is always cool, I have seen the F-22s upclose, which are relatively new.

I have even gotten to see where the missles come out, but you can't take pictures of that part and others.

If I was actually in the Air Force they would be paying me money and I would have 2 or 3 laptops and a few extra desktop PCs, I still have never gotten a real job yet, although I should be able to get one this summer.

I did apply for this engineering thing at Redstone arsenal, wonder if I will get accepted.

While you were gone I made it to the top 3 post count as the head post bot. :)

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Haha, I knew you were young but not the exact age since I thought you were a Air Force Cadet and I thought for that, you had to be atleast in college years as high school will get you in the ROTC.

The Audigy 2 ZS is pretty old since I know it's pre-2005 as I'm running a Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro ZS since summer 2004 or 2003. I never said you gave the wrong part number for the card, just that it's better to say Precision Workstation M50 than just M50. heh. I still have a ATI Radeon 9000 and a 64MB 440 Go but ordering the 3 6X935 cards from Dell wasn't fun at all as the first few orders got cancelled by them as they will not keep a backorder if the date is over a month.

6F858 is the Inspiron 8200 original fans

068RU are the fans used in the Inspiron 8100

Both fans are made by Sunon except the 068RU has a higher CFM, RPM rate.

Congrats on making it to the top 3 post counts though and I see the battle between you/nVidia and sn0wl/ATi camps is still going on... even though my prediction of the ATTack on Alabama (AT&T) on BellSouth had turned into reality a few weeks ago! :)

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I see the battle between you/nVidia and sn0wl/ATi camps is still going on

Nope, we are fine :]

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On all my 3 Inspiron 8200's, I've done the mod. The metal foil/film is just like a thermal pad and you can just remove it

Great news and thanks for replying.

I have some Arctic Silver II (2) laying around - is that ok to use too?

One thing that puzzles me a bit, is how loose the heat pipe actually sits on the cpu. Even the slightest push on the heat pipe and it moves. Is that just the way it is?

I replaced the fans in my 8200 with success and mounted a split aerial in the display bezel as well. I agree - taking the display apart is not funny.

Edited by ®®®
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It all depends on how old your Arctic Silver II is and if you have it stored correctly as the tip should be stored pointing down as the chemical mixture will be thinned liquid if you stored it the wrong way. I'm not sure if the heat pipe is actually loose or not since I haven't touched it for over 1.5 years already but it seems that with Nanotherm PCM+ as it's a liquid wax like material, it does dry up and one of these days, I'll need to replace the TIM with either AS5 or PCM+ again since my temps has been up to 85C and causing Windows to randomly reboot for the past month or two.

A question for Bill about the DVD-+RW ROM drive, did you use just a desktop burner or does it have to be a specific type?

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I bought this slot loading one from newegg, reads and writes everything I throw at it, (although it won't burn DVD-RAM but I dont burn those anyway, also prob doesnt work with minidisks, but again dont use those much)

http://www.pioneer-racing.com/pio/pe/image...K05_leaflet.pdf

Aparently newegg doesn't carry that one anymore, seems they have these 2 drives now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList....7&SubCategory=5

The slot loading one does support DVD-R DL although it doesn't mention it on newegg, also now supports DVD-RAM.

I had 3 bad experiences with desktop burners, not that you can't get a working firewire one, but this laptop one is always in my laptop, always reads what I throw in it (unlike old drive) and I never have to plug any stuff up to burn DVDs. (mine also burns DVD-R DL, but I have never burned a DL disk yet, but I do have some DVD+R DL disks waiting to be used. :P )

Here is the page on the new slot load.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/prod...DetailComponent

also this one

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/prod...DetailComponent

As for replacing, the slot load ones will stick in a bit when fully and properly inserted, but they do look good even without fitting the laptops side perfectly, plus the pimp slot load factor outweighs that.

The tray load one should fit just like the old drive, but on one side it will not curve out like the old custom drive did, so there will be an indention on the left side where it used to curve outward. (looking at from the left side of laptop)

Now like they say on the newegg reviews for the tray load, you should be able to easily take off the tray cover from your old dell drive and stick on the new one, if it must look the same.

Personally its not an issue, mine is flat and sticks in farther than your average one, but it still works and looks decent when properly installed. (and I have no more tray to break off, although I have never been that clumsy)

All you have to do is turn it off, take out the screw on the bottem, pull the drive out, take the 2 small small screws off of the the metal thing, then put the metal thing on the new drive (screw it back on), then put it in as far as it will go and screw it back in to the system, make sure you do keep the spring on the screw part, and don't break it with too much force, but you might have to use some force and wiggle it to get it in all the way.

I talk about looking the same because as you shoudl have figured out by now this system has a curved drive to fit the chassis, although only the cover needs to be curved. (to look the same)

Also I have pictures of my drive replacement on my camcorder and maybe photobucket and/or my PC somewhere if you want to see those.

Anyway once I booted up with the new drive installed all was well. :) Hasn't quit on me yet like my last external desktop drive attempt, which was a lightscribe benq burner (again I just have bad luck), that worked fine on firewire for like a month then started to quit working, last I stuck in our desktop the tray wouldn't even close, like it is possesed by the :) or something.

Someday if i ever get around to it I will contact benq and see what they can do (send it in plus money for a new one) Also my package was incomplete on that (only 2 screws) and I here their tech support is good and will replace stuff easily (the whole thing), what I would like is to trade my drive and the full box and everything to them plus some money or something and them sending me back the latest lightscribe drive sometime. :(

Anyway all of those slim DVD burners on newegg should work.

Prices are also now all under $90 so they are a good deal compared to when they were over $200, and these new ones still burn more formats faster. :(

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList....7&SubCategory=5

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting Bill... For a second, I thought the desktop ROM drives can be modified easily. hehe.

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  • 3 months later...

Just wanted to say thank you for the step-by-step list shown above. Much appreciated. I used it as a checklist to replace my fan unit and then put the pieces back together.

Looks like I'm running my 8200 (1.6Ghz) at a nice constant 47 to 51°C with two fans on Slow and 25% CPU load. I use I8fanGUI to control the temps. I scrutinized the foil on the CPU side of the heat pipe's "anvil" and figured it could use a bit of thermal paste but all I have here is the old traditional white oxide stuff and I just didn't have the courage to mess with it. It's easy enough to get at the heat pipe so if it seems like a good idea to do so I'll get back at it. Would love to have the CPU temp running below 45°C.

Thanks from a long time lurker.

Newsy

Vancouver Canada

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  • 2 months later...

Hiya fellas.

I'm new to the forum (and yes I know I'm ressurrecting a fairly old thread), but have had my i8200 for almost 3 years now, and want to share a couple things and ask a couple questions as I continue to upgrade and mod my laptop.

Henrik, if you haven't done it yet, you can safely remove the foil thingy on the heat pipe. I finally replaced my 1.7GHz P4 with a 2.4 just yesterday, and before popping the 2.4 in, I lapped the CPU, then pulled the foil off the heat pipe, cleaned it with some Goof Off, and lapped that as well. I used some Artic Silver 5 with the "scotch tape trick" before reassembling the heat pipe to the CPU as well. Using I8kfanGUI, my CPU hasn't gotten above 76 degrees C, even in the docking station and at full load for over an hour. It's about 69-70 degrees F in the room I have my computer. My aferage "at idle" temp in the docking station is 52-53 C (hell my tent would get hotter than that during deployments in the desert).

Also, I like the cooling mod you did with adding that secondary vent. How'd you manage to get it drilled so precisely? I'd like to do that with mine as well.

Bill, from an enlisted man, should you decide to take your commission and man up to serve our country, let me be the first to say "thanks". Hopefully your carreer will work out better than mine. I work aircraft maintenence (KC-135s) and I hate it. Hoping to go into medical very soon.

Anyhoo, I like the addition of an internal wireless adapter, but when I looked on Netgate, I couldn't find the 3054, just the 5004. I might end up just going that route if I can't find a 3054 and try my luck at getting the 5004 to work.

With your craphics card, did it come stock with your machine, or did you upgrade to it? I've got a GeForce 440GO in my system right now and I'm wondering if coughing up the 200 bucks for the Quadro4 would be worth the money.

I'll leave it at that for now. I'm sure I'll think of plenty of other things in the near future...

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  • 3 weeks later...

*Resurrects thread again*

Well Spook I am not sure yet weather I want to pursue a military career, but I am currently leaning against it right now. (If I go to Auburn I might take AF ROTC down there, but would not be surprised if I quit, especially with the 4 am exercise 2 times a week, or whatever it is)

If I were you I would look at getting some 802.11n equipment in your laptop now instead of the old super G stuff.

As for my card it was certainly not standard, I had to upgrade it, and it will probably cost your $300 these days, unless your lucky and can get a good deal.

It is probably better just to get a nice new core 2 duo powered laptop right now with a GF7 series card. (non turbochache)

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  • 7 months later...

Just resurrecting a thread:

I noticed that one of my fans pulls air in, and the other out, is this standard? If I were to upgrade to the 8100 fans, should I keep this configuration?

What's the "scotch tape trick?"

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  • 4 months later...

While we're still broadly on this subject, I'd like to remind all of you that we already have a pretty exhaustive thread on the pitfalls of thermal paste application "[HOW TO] Cooling paste". Unfortunately we didn't bother to handle the ins & outs of those nasty thermal pads. To be honest, I personally haven't experienced any laptop manufacturer applying thermal paste, just thermal pads. They go on quickly, and unskilled fingers seem to have little problem smacking them onto those shiny surfaces that will some day become very warm!

Regarding the microprocessor thermal-cooling assembly on a DELL Inspiron 8200 laptop

Is it safe to remove the square thin metal foil/film that is located on the heat pipe section of the cooling system and replace it with thermal paste?

That can be answered with a resounding yes. But only under the assumption that the basic guidelines mentioned in the above thread are followed rigorously. It is of course essential that ALL of the pad and its remnants be removed (as some of my predecessors have mentioned, a solvent of some type may be needed). When all is said and done, you should be confronted with two squeaky clean surfaces waiting to be joined in thermal happiness.

Or is this foil actually making a better thermal contact to the CPU compared to thermal paste?

Now that question does open up a whole new jar of worms.

-> The thermal pad is to my way of thinking, a rather sad piece of thermal design, whose only reason for existence is its ease of application [sic]. It probably does a fair job of heat transmission, but think about it: Can a non-homogenous concoction of at least 3 differing materials (a metal foil with adhesive applied to its bottom, and topped by some additional filler material) provide a truly efficient thermal path anywhere approaching that of a single, ultra-thin layer of specially-formulated amorphous material (i.e. thermal paste)? Hardly!

-> The paste is surely the way to go. But thermal paste is truly not a thermal pad replacement. We have to do a bit more to achieve an equivalency. Thermal pads do after all have a discernable thickness, and our thermal paste doesn?t. But this very thickness is an essential part of the design of virtually all CPU sockets, since there is always some form of spring-loaded force exerted upon the cpu/heatsink combination. This may be some form of frame which hinges over the CPU or merely a couple of spring-loaded ?twist-downs?. Whatever the form, the effective spring force is directly dependent upon the thickness of the ?sandwich? upon which it presses. If we simply merrily apply our thermal paste, and leave it at that, the heatsink or heatpipe will not have the designed force pressing it upon that hot object. And thusly the thermal transfer properties will NOT be optimal! We must restore the exact thickness of the old thermal pad in a fashion which is not detrimental to the thermal flow. The approach might be some sort of ?shim? of the appropriate thickness which is NOT between our hot object and the heatsink or heatpipe. Instead, the shim must be somewhere between the heatsink or heatpipe and the point or points where the force is applied. I?ve found that several very thin layers of cardboard can be very useful for the purpose. Remember, the shim itself must be immune to the heat. Some situations may require that individual shims of the same thickness be applied at multiple points where the force is not applied over a single surface. The CPU socket of my C840 was really easy to shim since the top of the heatpipe offers a large, closed surface for a simple cardboard based shim.

Have you done this mod yourself?

Of course!! And I?m happy with the results.

I hope that gives a bit of insight into the hazards of replacing those dreaded thermal pads! Just do it right??and with TLC.

Oh yes --- What is the "scotch tape trick?"

Edited by Darmdorf
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