Keeping my laptop cool has been an ongoing saga, and true to form the last few days have been a new chapter. Over the last few days I've had frame drops - unexpected, because I cleaned the heatsink out a month or so ago because we were back in summer.
Last night I took things apart, and took out some of the Deepcool Z5 I bought a while back (I had to redo Sabriena's thermal paste, and couldn't find the Gelid stuff I bought) and re-did the thermal paste. Put everything back together, and things aren't any better. I wonder what's going on?
My laptop was hitting thermal shutdown, and when I checked things with MSI Afterburner it turned out that while the GPU was at or below 80C, the CPU was hitting close to 100C, scaling back a bit (which would explain the frame drops) before the laptop shut off. Wild ideas started going through my head, like the possibility of a fractured heatpipe (which would basically spell the end of using the laptop as a laptop, as replacements don't seem to be available), but I decided to shut it down and sleep on it.
This morning, I took it apart again and had another go. I wasn't entirely happy with how the thermal paste spread: it looked fine on top of the actual chips, but a fair bit of it ended up outside which to me is an indication I've used too much. Cleaned everything up, and this time I noted that there is a specific tightening order. I'm not sure if I nailed that tightening order last time, but I resolved to ensure it happened this time.
Turn things back on and fire up GTA5 to test things, and it's looking a bit better. It's not a conclusive test, because the house is substantially cooler than it was yesterday, but the delta between the CPU and GPU temperatures is a lot smaller now so I'm optimistic.
Absolutely can't wait to build a desktop and hopefully be done with laptop heat issues for a while.