Saturday, May 30, 2020

Lenovo G580 - first time cleaning after 7 years

My mother's Lenovo G580 laptop from 2013 started to sound like it will take off even when just watching videos online. Using Hardware Monitor program I could see it is hotter than it should be. I never tried disassembling a laptop before, but it was getting on my nerves, so I decided to do it. Luckily there are several videos available on YouTube showing the whole procedure.

I bought thermal paste (Arctic MX-2) and I also bought a 120 GB Western Digital Green SSD in hope it will speed up the laptop a little bit and I could use the 500 GB hard disk from the laptop for myself, since she doesn't really need any storage at all.

It is ridiculous I had to disassemble everything to get to the fan, it should have been designed better. As you can see the fan exhaust was completely blocked by dust. There was only a little 1 mm hole on the left where air could get out. I cleaned everything, applied new thermal paste and put in the SSD.

When watching YouTube or a 1080p movie in VLC the CPU temperature was around 65°C before, now it dropped to around 50°C. Room temperature was around 22°C. The maximum CPU temperature I got while testing was now 20°C lower, from 78°C to 58°C. It is also important to mention that these lower temperatures are achieved with the fan spinning at much lower speed which makes the laptop more silent. I was very happy with the results.

Replacing the old hard disk with a new SSD did not make much of an improvement since the laptop is mostly used for web browsing, so the speed of the SSD is not really noticeable. The biggest bottleneck there are basically ads or ad blocking plugins slowing everything down. At least it is completely quiet and I got myself a 500 GB hard disk I can use to store my stuff.

After everything was done I realized I could have also replaced the 2 core/2 thread Intel Pentium 2020m CPU with a better 2 core/4 thread i5 CPU which can be found for cheap now. It is not really necessary since the laptop still performs perfectly fine. The only use case where it fails are x265 encoded 1080p movies, where it can reach 100% processor utilization which causes stutters, but x264 encoded movies run without issues. Maybe in a few years when it is time to clean it again...

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Baking a GPU in the oven - Part 2

Last September I wrote about how in May 2019 I had issues with my old Sapphire R9 270X GPU from 2013 and how I fixed it by baking it in the oven and how it was working with no issues for months.

Now I have to report that the GPU worked for 8 and half months in total, until February 2020, when it would again give only black screen when in Windows. I played and finished 8 games during that period with no issues, so it did serve its purpose well after being baked.

After making a short break from more demanding games and using my integrated Intel GPU for about a month, I baked the R9 270X again in March, this time for 10 minutes at 200°C. To my surprise it worked again. Unfortunately I managed to play and finish only 2 more games this time before I got a black screen once again, two days ago. So, this time it only worked for one and a half month.

I baked it again! At 200°C, but I left it inside for 15 minutes this time. After playing around with the oven thermostat a bit, I'm not sure how well the oven and the thermostat even work and if the temperatures are accurate. Nevertheless, it fixed my GPU again! Now, let's see how long will it last this time...