Like a well-oiled machine, if you maintain the laptop performing regular maintenance runs the laptop can see its useful lifespan increased as well as being a crucial hardware during a mission critical event. This tutorial will show you to replace the thermal grease in your Lenovo Thinkpad.
1. For this tutorial we’ll be working on a Thinkpad X240s. Your Thinkpad model and SKU can and will vary. It’s suggested that you download the service manual from Lenovo’s support site specific to your laptop’s SKU/model.
2. Flip the laptop with its belly side up and undo all the screws holding the bottom cover on. You may want to have a sheet of paper whereby you’ve marked the locations for each screw in case each screw has a different length and/or width.
3. With the screws placed in a secure location. Pop off the bottom cover.
4. Locate the Cooling assembly with the fan. It should one unified system.
5. Undo the cable that sends telemetry from the fan to the board and vice-versa. You should also take care and unhook any wires trailing from the board (to other areas) that may be tethered to the cooling fan.
6. Unscrew the retention mechanism over the processor die. It will have a numbering on it, you should unscrew in the order listed and it should essentially be in a criss-cross order i.e. 1>2>3>4.
7. Lift up the cooler and cooling assembly.
8. Flip it over and remove the thermal paste that was applied from the factory. You will need isopropyl alcohol or nail polish remover to clean up the thermal paste. If you have access to Arctic Silver ArtiClean, you can use that too. You can use cotton swabs or coffee filter to pick up the residual thermal paste.
9. Do the same for the die package’s surface.
10. We suggest using Arctic Silver 5 or Arctic MX-4 as your thermal paste. With both surfaces cleaned you can apply thermal paste to the heatsource. You don’t need to apply thermal paste on the cooling assembly as well.
11. Apply a small amount, preferably pea size with a 1mm-3mm diameter at most at the center of the heat source.
12. Place the cooling assembly as you’d removed it from the heat source.
13. Tighten the screws in the order indicated on the heatsink. Going criss-cross as stated in Step 6. This will ensure that the pressure applied will spread the paste across the contacting surface. Please be sure to not over tighten. When it comes to tightening screws on a laptop, you should always have them at finger tight. Adding too much torque can and will strip the screw of their threading or worse, damage the underlying component, in this case the CPU’s die.
14. Reattach the laptop’s bottom cover.
15. Tighten the screws (again finger tight).
16. Flip the laptop over and power up your Thinkpad.
You should see significant temp drops. The better the thermal paste’s thermal conductivity. Due to the delicate nature liquid metal needs to being, we advise against using it in your laptop unless you know what you’re doing.