Lesson 30. Laptop Computer Hardware Maintenance

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Laptop computers must be maintained on a more consistent basis than desktop computers. The reason for the extra maintenance on laptops is because today’s laptops are made smaller than desktop computers, and there are design compromises on some models.

Laptop computers must be maintained on a more consistent basis than desktop computers. The reason for the extra maintenance on laptops is because today’s laptops are made smaller than desktop computers, and there are design compromises on some models.

Modern laptop heatsinks are designed extremely small, and the distance between metal plates is so small that dust gathers very quickly. As shown in the pictures below, there are small gaps between the plates and dust that is already gathers between them.

To clean this heatsink, it is not enough to simply use compressed air. The reason why is because the dust is so dense that it will separate from the plates and make big chunks that stick together. This dust will stick to the fan and stop it. Only the air compressor can blow the dust out.

The other important aspect of cleaning the heatsink is the principle of how the heatsink makes contact with the CPU and the graphics chip, or the North Bridge. The Graphics Chip usually has a thermal pad when the metal pad is placed on it. The reality is that many laptops fail from overheating graphics. This is true for older laptops that use a Graphics Chip that is soldered on the motherboard. There are also laptops that have separate graphics cards that are removable.
This design is a potential threat and could cause damage to the laptop permanently due to intense gaming. This is a very common problem with HP Pavilion model laptops and other manufacturer models that have nVidia graphics processors. If you do have one of these models and are confident with disassembling and assembling them then simply get a metal shim for that laptop model and replace the thermal pad with the metal shim. Actually, a copper shim would be best.

The temperature on a laptop can be checked in one of two ways easily at home. The first way is to use a program called CPUID Hardware Monitor which is a free program. You must focus on the two temperatures within the CPU core temperature which is shown below.

This temperature shown should not exceed 70 degree Celsius.  If the temperature is more that 70 degree when the laptop is used in day to day operation, and not gaming operations, then most likely the laptop needs to be cleaned and also needs a copper shim.
Regarding the second marked temperature, we can’t do much because it is a hard drive temperature. We can slightly lower it by removing the frame or the enclosure where the hard drive enclosed.

Some of laptop designers enclose the hard drives into an enclosure that also prevents the heat to escape from the hard drive. I have seen many instances where the hard drive enclosed completely and even sealed showing the manufacturer was afraid of some type of liquid damage or electromagnetic damage. I do not believe that the hard drive itself emits any dangerous electromagnetic rays nor do I believe it is sensitive to anything electromagnetic from the outside. Simply removing the hard drive enclosure from the hard drive would greatly improve the life span of the laptop.

The second method you can try is to simply check the temperature with your hand where the CPU is. Usually, the CPU is the place from where the fan noise is heard. If this area is really hot and gets hot quickly after the laptop powers on, it can indicate that it needs to be cleaned.
Another indication that this area needs cleaning is an overheating power adaptor. When the system heats up, it draws more power from the adaptor so the adaptor will also heat up to keep up with increased power consumption.

Laptops generally do not like dusty environments, especially when the dust is covering sensitive elements. And, the reality is that dusty laptops have a higher likelihood to fail.

There is a ton of information regarding laptop hardware maintenance. If any area in the laptop gets hot or warm, then the laptop must be cleaned

Laptops need a good power adaptor. The cheap power adaptors do not produce good filtered power and can damage the hard drive. Although this type of damage is very rare, it does happen.

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