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 Post subject: early 2006 MacBook fan/heat sink/thermal paste questions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 1
Hello and thanks for the awesome site. I did a bunch of Googling on the subject, and I'm joining and posting here to cover my experience in upgrading my black week 22 unibody 13" MacBook, as you folks seem to cover the subject the best :D

Some background info first:

I'm by no means a tech, but I'm handy with tools and have steady hands, and this will be my first time opening up a laptop. I already purchased upgrades for memory and the HDD, but I considered that since I'm a smoker, it might be advisable for me to either clean the fan and heat sink, or even replace the fan while I have the machine apart for the memory and HDD upgrades.

Since late 2007 I've run smcFanControl software, and the temps are pretty normal, or even a bit lower than what I've seen others report - 88-92 F at idle, 118-130 F for average use, 140-150 F for streaming video, 160-170 F for heavy processing, and the highest I've ever seen is 173 F. My fan makes no unusual noises at idle or full speed, but I should mention that I've been slowly bumping up the base fan idle speed - when I first got smcFanControl, I set it for 2000 rpm, about 8-10 months later I moved it to 2500 rpm, and since the beginning of 2009 at 3000 rpm. No reasoning on the bumping other than to accommodate for any dust or smoke residue (I'm not that bad of a smoker) - the temps pretty much have been the same all along, as I also have Marcel Bresink's Hardware Monitor software and have been watching temps pretty much since Day One. The fan readily spins up to full speed (6300 rpm) within seconds of heavy processing. I'm aware that increasing fan speed increases the volume of intake air, and this might have accelerated dirt/residue on the fan and heat sink - thus my concern and search.

I watched the specific MacBook video, downloaded and read through the repair guide, and I understand the procedure. I'm probably going to buy a fan through this site just to be prepared for what I find upon opening the case. My questions are this:

- The fan is removable easily enough for cleaning and/or replacement, without affecting the heat sink. If I find that the heat sink needs cleaning, is there a way to do this without removal of it?

- If I have to remove the heat sink for cleaning, do I need to replace the thermal paste? The video and repair guide make no mention of this (I only watched the fan replacement vid - I'll have to go back and look to see if it was mentioned in something like the logic board replacement vid). This is my biggest concern, since I've had no overheating issues, and can't help but think that not replacing the paste (or adding too little/too much if it does need replacing after heat sink removal) will upset the machine.

- I see a replacement heat sink listed in the parts section, but it's out of stock - can I get by with just A) cleaning the heat sink as best I can without removal, or B) remove/replace the existing heat sink without doing anything about the thermal paste?

- If the thermal paste is a necessity, is there any recommended application method/amount for my MacBook? It's a week 22 Core Duo "Yonah".



Thanks for putting up with my wordy post, and again for the awesome info provided. I realize the holidays are upon us, so I'll chill until a reply, and Happy Turkey Day!


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 Post subject: Re: early 2006 MacBook fan/heat sink/thermal paste questions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:35 am
Posts: 977
The general rule of thumb with thermal compound is to have a thin smooth layer with no gaps or bumps. This will help dissipate the heat with the highest efficiency.

If you have to remove the heat sink and you notice it does not look smooth, you may want to go ahead and reapply the compound.


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