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  • I just lost a little bit of respect for Dell…

    Home Forums Outside the box Rants I just lost a little bit of respect for Dell…

    • This topic has 9 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks ago.
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        I have a Dell G3-15-3579 gaming laptop.  I got it on sale a year and a few months ago during a Black Friday sale, and I really like it.  It has some places where Dell’s cost cutting is evident, like the 50% sRGB gamut display, but it generally feels and acts like a unit that costs more than a “budget” gaming laptop.

        The warranty is expired, and the temps I was seeing in the CPU were a bit higher than I would prefer (laptops tend to run hot anyway, since the space for cooling systems is so limited), so I decided to re-paste the CPU and GPU.  If you aren’t sure what that means, it involves removing the heat sink, cleaning the old thermal interface material (TIM) off of the heat sink and the corresponding surfaces on the GPU and CPU, then applying new TIM and putting it back together.  I’ve seen some reports by people that they can get decent reductions in temp by doing this, so I thought I’d give it a try.

        I opened the case, then removed the four screws holding the heat sink to the CPU.  I went to then remove the four from the GPU, and… there were none.  All four spots where screws were supposed to go were screwless.  I’ve never had the heat sink off before, and no one has opened the thing up since I bought it but me, and I know I didn’t remove them!

        I looked in the .pdf service manual Dell makes available and found that the screws were M2x3, and I happened to have some of those on hand, so after I’d completed the cleaning and re-pasting, I added the four missing screws.

        The laptop is definitely running cooler, by between 5 and 10 C, which is pretty significant.  The CPU was the bit that was running hotter than I would have liked before, not the GPU, and that’s surprising, given that the GPU was the bit that was missing the screws.  Either way, it’s idling at ~38C now with occasional spikes to 52C, where before it idled at around 45C and spiked to the mid 60s (core temps, measured at whatever the hottest core is at the moment).

        I don’t imagine that Dell intended these screw holes to not have any screws.  I know sometimes when multiple models share components, they skip bits that aren’t needed for the model in question, but it’s hard to imagine why they would deliberately skip these screws.

        One example is an anecdote, and that’s not enough in itself to really know anything.  I could have received the only Dell to have screws missing that entire year, while the competition could be putting tons of them out.  Or, perhaps, this is absolutely typical of consumer Dell PCs.  I don’t have any way of knowing.  Still, it’s disappointing.

        If this had caused any really big problem, it probably would have made itself evident during the warranty period.  I’m kind of surprised it didn’t… but it’s fixed now, and I’m pleased that the temps have come down (in light use, so far).  It’s really good paste that I put on there (Gelid GC-Extreme), so if anything, the performance improvement should only increase under heavier load.  I’ve used this for my overclocked CPU and video card in the desktop, and on the GPU and CPU in my Asus F8 laptop, and it’s the best I have found.

        I tried Thermal Grizzly liquid metal TIM on the F8 also, and the temps were decent but not as great as I’d hoped… and they got worse as time passed.  I now know that the gallium was being absorbed into the copper of the heatsink, leaving behind the indium and the tin, which were not sufficient to carry the heat load by themselves.  More reapplications of the liquid metal would have helped, as the absorption of the gallium into the copper slowed, but overall, I was disappointed by the whole thing, and I just put the conventional Gelid paste on there again, and had temps almost identical to the fresh application of the liquid metal– and without the risks (it’s liquid and conductive).

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.1 User Edition)

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