HP DV9000 Series Heatsink Modification
The HP DV9000 Series is a feature rich laptop with 17″ screen, two hard drive slots, 2 RAM slots up to 4GB, Media Center Remote, Keyboard with number pad, poor cooling, and overheating components. In all seriousness, this laptop is quite remarkable with the right modifications to enhance cooling of the critical components: CPU, GPU and Northbridge. The overheating issues must be understood to solve the problem.
I’ve compiled a list of flaws in the design of this computer (BOLD items will be fixed in this mod)
- Primary hard drive is next to the GPU (the hottest component in the computer)
- Secondary hard drive acts solely as an external drive
- Heatsink configuration allows heat from the CPU to travel over the Northbridge.
- Northbridge is offset from the height of the CPU
- Cheap thermal pads are used to replace thermal paste
- GPU does not have its own fan for cooling
- GPU does not have thermal paste on it; instead a metal sticker (?) is used for cooling
- CPU fan gathers dust in the vents and line of lint is created in the back of the vent.
The list goes on but these are the major issues I’ve noticed.
Before we begin, I must say that any information used here to perform modification to your computer is the choice of the user. Be aware that I cannot take responsibility for any damages incurred by following my modification. I can assure you that these modifications where done several weeks prior to me posting this for confirmation that they work.
This modification was done to a HP DV9500/9700 laptop. There may be subtle differences between the different models in the DV9000 series. Make sure you do enough research to confirm that we have laptops with the same layout. This modification was done to a Intel-based version. The AMD version has 4 mounting screws over the processor. This may yield different results so be aware of this.Â
HWMonitor is a great tool to use to record your pre-modification temperatures.
- Running the computer in idle (no programs running) after 30 minutes.
- Running a high quality video or playing a video game for 30 minutes.
Preparation of materials:
It is preferred that the copper used be polished on both sides to allow for a shine. This allows for better surface contact and therefore better thermal conductivity. For my shim pieces, they were only polished on one side because I took them from an old copper heatsink. If you are in the same situation, I recommend using the polished side toward the chip and the rough side toward the heatsink. Since we will be using thermal paste on both sides as an intermediate layer, it may not matter as much in regards to the polishing. I just know it is preferred that both sides be polished either way.
There are many videos on YouTube, which I did not author, but provide easy to follow steps on how to take the DV9000 series laptops apart. Keep track of all your screws by placing them in a dish of some kind. All the black screws are interchangeable and the silver screws are as well. The only silver screws which are not are the ones for the WiFi card.
Make sure to clean the die of the CPU, GPU and Northbridge properly such that no residual thermal paste exists on the package or die of those chips.
Each die should be shiny just like the above picture.
The same shine should be true for the corresponding heatsinks for each chip. The GPU heatsink does not usually look like the picture above. A hard black and silver tape is used to cool the GPU. This does a very poor job of this and usually causes your GPU to overheat very easily. I recommend removing this tape and cleaning the GPU’s copper pad and I’ve done above. There is so black residue which remains but this shouldn’t affect the cooling too much. I know this because my GPU sits at 55 degrees C on low-graphical operations and hits 75 degrees C max on gaming applications (Fallout New Vegas & Gears of War PC). I never see 80 degrees C.
In the video guide, I show you how to apply the copper shims and copper penny to the die of each chip properly. Make sure to clean the copper shims with alcohol before applying the thermal paste and shims.
I didn’t take a picture of the Northbridge during this step. Make sure to use the same amount of thermal paste on the Northbridge as was used on the CPU. The GPU in the picture above has a little too much thermal paste. Try to aim for the amount of thermal paste seen on the CPU for every chip.
For this step, I didn’t take a picture of the CPU but apply the shim to the CPU the same way as it was done on the GPU and apply the same amount of thermal paste. The copper penny on the Northbridge in the picure should be applied with the back down for more surface area contact. Also, use the length of the building on the back of the penny to match the long end of the Northbridge die. Your penny should be upside down or right side up like in the picture. The penny in this picture is a little low, make sure the penny is away from the raised components on the chip. Look at the picture below as the penny is further way from the components.
Last, but not least, apply the GPU heatsink FIRST! You will not be able to apply it if you apply the CPU heatsink first. You should feel added resistance because of the shim. This ensures the proper contact is being made. If there is too much resistance, this means you applied the incorrect shim or your shim is too thick.
I used a micrometer to measure the thickness of my GPU & CPU shims and achieved a result of 0.49 mm. Requesting or making shims which are 0.5 mm is perfect from my experience.
Apply the CPU heatsink next but make sure the heatsink fan is seated properly before tightening the screws over the CPU. There are two feet which need to fit into the edge of the motherboard to ensure proper seating of the fan. Once in place, tighten the screws over the CPU and center the copper penny to the Northbridge heatsink.
This is extremely important, DO NOT FORGET to plug in the heatsink fan which is circled in RED.
Follow the disassembly videos in reverse to reassemble the laptop. If you have any questions, post below.
For the temperature testing, use the same HWMonitor program to see what your temperatures sit at. Make sure to use the same testing technique used in the pre-test to achieve similar results and a real reading of the difference in temperature after the modification.
Again, feel free to ask me any questions you may have below.