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Insufficient cooling has given me issue with certain Lenovo thinkpads over the years. Most recently it was throttling on a X220, fixed by swapping to a redesigned fan/heatsink.

The first time for me was with their T43. This model was mostly a platform refresh of the T42. There's a chip called a southbridge that's located below the palmrest. Between the models this chip went from 400mhz to 533mhz. Lenovo decided it wasn't important to improve the cooling, no heatsink whatsoever included on the southbridge. However, they kept ample temp sensors in the case so the fans would pulse nonstop as it failed to cool this one chip.

I had two nicknames for that laptop. The 'nut roaster' and the 'vacuum cleaner'. I eventually fixed the problem by hammering out an old copper penny and sticking with thermal compound to bridge the gap between the heatsink and chip. It wasn't perfect but it dropped the temps like 10C. The rest could be controlled with an installed fan daemon.




I have similar problem with T420s from 2012 - great laptop, but there's a lot of coil whine and horrible fan with very small heatsink. It's a model without dedicated GPU, but i5 alone is enough to push the fan to constant medium-high speed and it's still 70-80°C running Windows 10 with Chrome. Repasting or cleaning the heatsink does not seem to help.


I have a T420s but with an optimus configuration. The dedicated GPU is pretty much useless because of thermal throttling and yes, even the i5 alone is often enough to go into throttling territory. This is after repasting and thorough cleaning of the fan assembly. And if you want to access the fan assembly then prepare taking apart the whole laptop.


Huh, interesting. I have two T420s laptops (i7s with dedicated GPUs), and have a friend with one too (i5 integrated). None of them has those issues, but we all run Ubuntu. One of mine did have fan issues once, but it was due to the fan itself going bad, and once replaced it was fine.


Thanks for the hint on replacing the heatsink on the x220. A quick search lead me to a reddit post claiming the heatsink from the x230 can be fitted to a x220. Is this what you did, or did you do something else entirely?


> Most recently it was throttling on a X220, fixed by swapping to a redesigned fan/heatsink.

Personally I believe the major source of heat of the X220 comes from the Sandy Bridge processor. The next-gen Ivy Bridge in X230 has almost no performance gain, but reduces heat dissipation significantly (ironically, Ivy Bridge is also the turning point when Intel started to use crappy thermal paste in the desktop CPU packaging, leading to thermal issues...).

I own both machines and the difference is great. Also, two of my X220s from different sources all suffer with random shutdown issues, I suspect the source is the cold solder joints under the power MOSFET or a defective one (saw a troubleshoot post of a similar issue in a fourm), but it's BGA, so...

Anyway, that's why I recommend everyone who wants a X220 to get a X230. You can even replace the motherboard and the bottom case to "upgrade" the X220 to X230.

> the heatsink from the x230 can be fitted to a x220.

I believe it's virtually identical. I never heard about the X230 heatsink performs better, perhaps it's the case, I may give it a try someday...




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