Let’s Have Fun Opening the Lenovo Y470

It has been a while since I have had my Lenovo Y470, but it was finally time to open it up. I usually game on my desktop, but sometimes I hop onto my laptop to play Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, etc. However, I started to notice that my temps weren’t so great. Perhaps it was dust built up over time or the lackluster thermal paste used on the machine. I decided to let it fly for bit, that was until I started to hear my fans ramping up more so than usual.

I don’t do any overclocking on the laptop, so I admit that I overlooked the situation for a bit. So, I got real temp and I discovered some disturbing numbers. I was idling at around 50C and just opening a window or doing something mildly taxing would raise my temps up to around 60C. Unfortunately, load just ballooned out to some scary numbers. After playing Diablo 3 for around 30 minutes my machine reached 90C. And, as you could image that was the final straw. Something had to be done.

I know from experience that Sandy Bridge processors run a bit hot. Previously, my desktop, which has a 2500k used the stock cooler and had higher temps. The problem wasn’t alleviated until I replaced the stock cooler with my TRUE heat sink, which enabled me to OC to 4.5GHz. So, I dug around online and it seems that Lenovo either doesn’t put thermal paste on some models, or they put too much paste on some machines by accident. This raised another red flag in my mind. Perhaps I really needed to open my laptop up and check things out. So, this is where the fun starts.

Unfortunately, taking apart a laptop is not as easy as a desktop. We had to follow the Lenovo Y470 hardware maintenance manual step by step since each laptop is different. Getting to the CPU is the most involving task as it includes taking everything out of the machine. As you can see in the image above, starting from the upper left we have the keyboard, going down there is the panel for the power button and the DVD drive, to the right of that is the keyboard bezel with the mouse pad on it, above that is the RAM, HDD, and Intel wireless card. Continuing on, above those parts is the panel my brother and I had to remove on the bottom of the machine. Finally, on the lower right is the laptop motherboard.

As you can imagine opening up the laptop was a bit of a headache compared to a desktop machine. We were getting close to our goal. Having removed so many screws, ribbon cables, and power connectors, we could not go back.

As you can see above the entire machine was gutted to get to the CPU. All that separated us now was a few screws and a heat sink. After taking another look at the maintenance manual, we lifted off the heat sink. My brother and I let out a sigh of relief that there was in fact some thermal paste on the processor and GPU. However, it seemed like an excessive amount, so perhaps we were on that end of the spectrum.

Again, my temperature issues were with the CPU and not the GPU. However, the heat sink covers both of the GPU and CPU and we decided to replace the paste for both parts on the laptop. So, we wiped up the thermal paste on the heat sink and on the GPU and CPU. I had a little Artic silver 5 left over and we applied a bit to both. I also noticed a small amount of dust on the heat sink, which I cleaned out with some canned air, but it didn’t seem like that would be the major source of the heat problems.

I apologize for the blurry picture, but as you can see above there is the CPU and GPU on the Y470 motherboard. After we put the heat sink, it was time for another fun step in this project. We had to completely reassemble the machine again. A bunch of ribbon cables, power connectors, and some screw combined with some snapping action, we managed to get it back together. However, there was a real tense moment as we pressed the power button. Did we miss anything? Did we plug everything and connect everything back the way it was? What happened if the machine didn’t power on? Would we be tasked with some frustrating troubleshooting?

Operation Change that Crap Complete!

Fortunately, after pressing the power button, the laptop turned on right away. We still needed to make sure certain things like the track pad, audio, etc still worked, but we were relieved that we had video, and power (we previously had to to remove the LCD and power connections as well during the process). However, beyond that, our main focus was to check the CPU temperature. Had the paste really made that much of a difference?

So far, I can say that there is a difference in CPU temperature, especially on load. On idle the CPU is now a bit cooler. Previously, the temps were around 55-65C when doing some basic tasks. Now, the CPU hovers around 45-55C depending on what I am doing. However, load temperatures while gaming is the big picture here. I previously had gotten 90C when playing Diablo 3 for a bit. So, I had to start up Diablo 3 and check it out. My GPU temps are also now a bit cooler. Before they reached around 70-75C on load, and now they are between 60-65C on load. While those temps are still pretty high in my opinion, it certainly beats out 90C from before.

Furthermore, there is a curing time for Arctic Silver 5, so hopefully those temps will go down even more. And with all of that said, operation change that crappy thermal paste was a success!