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Fixing an XPS with a parking ticket: Is this a terrible idea?

Musty
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My boss asked me to take a look at his laptop. It was BSOD with a failure to detect hard drive message.

 

Our IT department looked at it twice (taking a week each time) and told him it was fine, but as soon as he turned it on it crashed again.

 

When I looked at it i re-seated the M.2 hard drive and it worked fine for an hour while it was sat on my desk. As soon as I moved the laptop it failed again.

 

I noticed the M.2 had some flex to it, and the sticky pad on top of the M.2 that I guess normally prevents it from flexing with support from the chassis was a little worse for wear.

 

I don't know if this is a thermal pad or not? It didn't feel or look like one I've seen before.

 

Anyway... i reinforced it with what I had to hand. A folded up segment of parking ticket.

 

Everything works now, even if I give the laptop a good shake / throw around in my bag. 

 

I know its not a good fix, but it isn't going to cause any... long term issues is it? 😅

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If it's stupid, but it works, it isn't stupid.

BabyBlu (Primary): 

  • CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K @ up to 5.3GHz, 5.0GHz all-core, delidded
  • Motherboard: Asus Maximus XI Hero
  • RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 4x8GB DDR4-3200 @ 4000MHz 16-18-18-34
  • GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Sea Hawk EK X, 2070MHz core, 8000MHz mem
  • Case: Phanteks Evolv X
  • Storage: XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB, 3x ADATASU800 1TB (RAID 0), Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
  • PSU: Corsair HX1000i
  • Display: MSI MPG341CQR 34" 3440x1440 144Hz Freesync, Dell S2417DG 24" 2560x1440 165Hz Gsync
  • Cooling: Custom water loop (CPU & GPU), Radiators: 1x140mm(Back), 1x280mm(Top), 1x420mm(Front)
  • Keyboard: Corsair Strafe RGB (Cherry MX Brown)
  • Mouse: MasterMouse MM710
  • Headset: Corsair Void Pro RGB
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Roxanne (Wife Build):

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K @ up to 5.0GHz, 4.8Ghz all-core, relidded w/ LM
  • Motherboard: Asus Z97A
  • RAM: G.Skill Sniper 4x8GB DDR3-2400 @ 10-12-12-24
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 FTW2 w/ LM
  • Case: Corsair Vengeance C70, w/ Custom Side-Panel Window
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB, Samsung 860 EVO 1TB, Silicon Power A80 2TB NVME
  • PSU: Corsair AX760
  • Display: Samsung C27JG56 27" 2560x1440 144Hz Freesync
  • Cooling: Corsair H115i RGB
  • Keyboard: GMMK TKL(Kailh Box White)
  • Mouse: Glorious Model O-
  • Headset: SteelSeries Arctis 7
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

BigBox (HTPC):

  • CPU: Ryzen 5800X3D
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B550i Aorus Pro AX
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4-3600 @ 3600MHz 14-14-14-28
  • GPU: MSI RTX 3080 Ventus 3X Plus OC, de-shrouded, LM TIM, replaced mem therm pads
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 202
  • Storage: SP A80 1TB, WD Black SN770 2TB
  • PSU: Corsair SF600 Gold w/ NF-A9x14
  • Display: Samsung QN90A 65" (QLED, 4K, 120Hz, HDR, VRR)
  • Cooling: Thermalright AXP-100 Copper w/ NF-A12x15
  • Keyboard/Mouse: Rii i4
  • Controllers: 4X Xbox One & 2X N64 (with USB)
  • Sound: Denon AVR S760H with 5.2.2 Atmos setup.
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Harmonic (Game/Plex/Other Server):

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6700
  • Motherboard: ASRock FATAL1TY H270M
  • RAM: 48GB DDR4-2133
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 530
  • Case: Antec Three Hundred
  • Storage: Inland Premium 512GB NVME, Sabrent 1TB NVME, Blu-Ray Drive
  • PSU: Corsair CX450
  • Display: None
  • Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S with 2X Fractal Venturi HP-12
  • Keyboard/Mouse: None
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

NAS:

  • Synology DS216J
  • 2x8TB WD Red NAS HDDs in RAID 1. 8TB usable space
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Shouldn't cause any long term issues. Only issue could (potentially) be throttling due to heat on the SSD. Most likely it was a thermal pad though, and those can be had for pretty cheap if you're noticing any performance dips due to heat. 

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1 minute ago, gbkendall said:

Shouldn't cause any long term issues. Only issue could (potentially) be throttling due to heat on the SSD. Most likely it was a thermal pad though, and those can be had for pretty cheap if you're noticing any performance dips due to heat. 

 

Yeah overheating was my main concern if it was a thermal pad.

 

It was a relatively thick pad at some point in its life. Pale green with a sticky back and a spongy material 

 

I'll have a quick look online when i get a chance. Everything I've seen seems to be relatively thin which wouldn't help with the flex issue.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Musty said:

 

Yeah overheating was my main concern if it was a thermal pad.

 

It was a relatively thick pad at some point in its life. Pale green with a sticky back and a spongy material 

 

I'll have a quick look online when i get a chance. Everything I've seen seems to be relatively thin which wouldn't help with the flex issue.

 

 

From what I can see online, it looks like 1.5-2mm should be thick enough. You can also always squish two thermal pads together to make a thicker one if it ends up not being thick enough. 

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4 minutes ago, Musty said:

Everything I've seen seems to be relatively thin which wouldn't help with the flex issue.

You can get thermal pads anywhere from .5mm to 6mm+ thick. You can try to guesstimate the gap you need to fill, or just get an assortment of thicknesses. It's a nice thing to have on hand.

BabyBlu (Primary): 

  • CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K @ up to 5.3GHz, 5.0GHz all-core, delidded
  • Motherboard: Asus Maximus XI Hero
  • RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 4x8GB DDR4-3200 @ 4000MHz 16-18-18-34
  • GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Sea Hawk EK X, 2070MHz core, 8000MHz mem
  • Case: Phanteks Evolv X
  • Storage: XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB, 3x ADATASU800 1TB (RAID 0), Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
  • PSU: Corsair HX1000i
  • Display: MSI MPG341CQR 34" 3440x1440 144Hz Freesync, Dell S2417DG 24" 2560x1440 165Hz Gsync
  • Cooling: Custom water loop (CPU & GPU), Radiators: 1x140mm(Back), 1x280mm(Top), 1x420mm(Front)
  • Keyboard: Corsair Strafe RGB (Cherry MX Brown)
  • Mouse: MasterMouse MM710
  • Headset: Corsair Void Pro RGB
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Roxanne (Wife Build):

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K @ up to 5.0GHz, 4.8Ghz all-core, relidded w/ LM
  • Motherboard: Asus Z97A
  • RAM: G.Skill Sniper 4x8GB DDR3-2400 @ 10-12-12-24
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 FTW2 w/ LM
  • Case: Corsair Vengeance C70, w/ Custom Side-Panel Window
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB, Samsung 860 EVO 1TB, Silicon Power A80 2TB NVME
  • PSU: Corsair AX760
  • Display: Samsung C27JG56 27" 2560x1440 144Hz Freesync
  • Cooling: Corsair H115i RGB
  • Keyboard: GMMK TKL(Kailh Box White)
  • Mouse: Glorious Model O-
  • Headset: SteelSeries Arctis 7
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

BigBox (HTPC):

  • CPU: Ryzen 5800X3D
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B550i Aorus Pro AX
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4-3600 @ 3600MHz 14-14-14-28
  • GPU: MSI RTX 3080 Ventus 3X Plus OC, de-shrouded, LM TIM, replaced mem therm pads
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 202
  • Storage: SP A80 1TB, WD Black SN770 2TB
  • PSU: Corsair SF600 Gold w/ NF-A9x14
  • Display: Samsung QN90A 65" (QLED, 4K, 120Hz, HDR, VRR)
  • Cooling: Thermalright AXP-100 Copper w/ NF-A12x15
  • Keyboard/Mouse: Rii i4
  • Controllers: 4X Xbox One & 2X N64 (with USB)
  • Sound: Denon AVR S760H with 5.2.2 Atmos setup.
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Harmonic (Game/Plex/Other Server):

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6700
  • Motherboard: ASRock FATAL1TY H270M
  • RAM: 48GB DDR4-2133
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 530
  • Case: Antec Three Hundred
  • Storage: Inland Premium 512GB NVME, Sabrent 1TB NVME, Blu-Ray Drive
  • PSU: Corsair CX450
  • Display: None
  • Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S with 2X Fractal Venturi HP-12
  • Keyboard/Mouse: None
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

NAS:

  • Synology DS216J
  • 2x8TB WD Red NAS HDDs in RAID 1. 8TB usable space
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2 minutes ago, gbkendall said:

From what I can see online, it looks like 1.5-2mm should be thick enough. You can also always squish two thermal pads together to make a thicker one if it ends up not being thick enough. 

Just now, Hairless Monkey Boy said:

You can get thermal pads anywhere from .5mm to 6mm+ thick. You can try to guesstimate the gap you need to fill, or just get an assortment of thicknesses. It's a nice thing to have on hand.

 

Thanks! I'll order some and swap one in when they arrive.

 

The temporary fix will at least give him a working machine in the short term. 

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13 minutes ago, Musty said:

 

Yeah overheating was my main concern if it was a thermal pad.

 

It was a relatively thick pad at some point in its life. Pale green with a sticky back and a spongy material 

 

I'll have a quick look online when i get a chance. Everything I've seen seems to be relatively thin which wouldn't help with the flex issue.

 

 

If the thermal pad wasn't attached to a finned heatsink of somekind with some airflow it wasn't doing much. In my experience only the PCIe 4.0 SSD's need heatsinks anyway, and there's disagreement on whether the entire thing should have a heatsink or just the memory chips or controller.

 

You could install Crystal Disk Info to check the temps on the SSD and use Crystal Disk Mark to stress the SSD while checking temps.

 

Edit -  Stop parking illegally lmao 😛

CPU - Ryzen 5 3600 | Motherboard - ASUS TUF X570 | RAM - Patriot Viper Blackout 32GB 3200MHz | GPU - RTX 3080 TUF OC | Case - InWin 805 | Boot Drive - Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0  Storage - 2 x 1TB SSD's & 1 500GB SSD | PSU - Seasonic Focus Gold 1000w | Display - ASUS TUF VG27WQ Curved 1440P 165Hz | Cooling - ASUS TUF LC240 AIO + 5 aRGB Fans

 

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Just now, Gazereths said:

If the thermal pad wasn't attached to a finned heatsink of somekind with some airflow it wasn't doing much. In my experience only the PCIe 4.0 SSD's need heatsinks anyway, and there's disagreement on whether the entire thing should have a heatsink or just the memory chips or controller.

 

You could install Crystal Disk Info to check the temps on the SSD and use Crystal Disk Mark to stress the SSD while checking temps.

No finned heatsink, it was just directly contacting the aluminium chassis.

 

I would normally run some tests like this, but the laptop is totally locked down by our IT services. I don't have admin on it unfortunately. 

 

I would have normally booted to ubuntu from a memory stick to run some tests but my boss only has USBC ports and I don't have a USBC to USBA adaptor handy 😅

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19 minutes ago, Gazereths said:

Edit -  Stop parking illegally lmao 😛

 

🤣 It was an accident, I promise. 

 

I tried to pay on a mobile app, but because I was late for a meeting and rushing I didn't check the payment had processed properly 🙈.

 

Opened my phone after the meeting to a lovely error message.

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8 minutes ago, Musty said:

 

🤣 It was an accident, I promise. 

 

I tried to pay on a mobile app, but because I was late for a meeting and rushing I didn't check the payment had processed properly 🙈.

 

Opened my phone after the meeting to a lovely error message.

A likely story  😛  I remember having an app that you had to start when you entered the car park and stop when you left.....I forgot to stop it and was charged for about 15 hours parking when I was there for about 3 😞

 

Was there no standoff and screw holding the SSD down? Thermal pads aren't usually that sticky.

CPU - Ryzen 5 3600 | Motherboard - ASUS TUF X570 | RAM - Patriot Viper Blackout 32GB 3200MHz | GPU - RTX 3080 TUF OC | Case - InWin 805 | Boot Drive - Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0  Storage - 2 x 1TB SSD's & 1 500GB SSD | PSU - Seasonic Focus Gold 1000w | Display - ASUS TUF VG27WQ Curved 1440P 165Hz | Cooling - ASUS TUF LC240 AIO + 5 aRGB Fans

 

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2 minutes ago, Gazereths said:

A likely story  😛  I remember having an app that you had to start when you entered the car park and stop when you left.....I forgot to stop it and was charged for about 15 hours parking when I was there for about 3 😞

 

Was there no standoff and screw holding the SSD down? Thermal pads aren't usually that sticky.

There is the normal screw and standoff securing the SSD down. But there seems to be some flex in the middle of the SSD. 

 

I'm not sure exactly what is causing the issue, because it should be fairly secure. Maybe the chassis itself is a little warped.

 

Anyway my best guess is that the fact thermal pad is squished between the chassis and the SSD helps to stop the SSD it flexing too much (just based on force / friction rather than adhesive. It isn't particularly sticky). 

 

The thermal pad on this looks worn and a little crushed, so might not be preventing the flex as well without some additional support.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Musty said:

There is the normal screw and standoff securing the SSD down. But there seems to be some flex in the middle of the SSD. 

 

I'm not sure exactly what is causing the issue, because it should be fairly secure. Maybe the chassis itself is a little warped.

 

Anyway my best guess is that the fact thermal pad is squished between the chassis and the SSD helps to stop the SSD it flexing too much (just based on force / friction rather than adhesive. It isn't particularly sticky). 

 

The thermal pad on this looks worn and a little crushed, so might not be preventing the flex as well without some additional support.

 

 

 

 

Well I suppose a laptop would have more flex and movement than a desktop, and the manufacturer obvioulsy knew about the issue to put the pad there in the first place, though it's seems like a slight design flaw. My guess is it's just for stability and not a thermal solution. Is it a bog standard pcie3 SSD or maybe even SATA? If so it doesn;t really need cooling, also it wasn't as if the laptop was cutting out after prolonged use then be usable again, it wouldn't boot even when stone cold right??.

 

Surely your IT dept has backups of all the important stuff on the drive anyway, it'll just be your bosses porn that gets lost if it overheats and fries itself lol

CPU - Ryzen 5 3600 | Motherboard - ASUS TUF X570 | RAM - Patriot Viper Blackout 32GB 3200MHz | GPU - RTX 3080 TUF OC | Case - InWin 805 | Boot Drive - Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0  Storage - 2 x 1TB SSD's & 1 500GB SSD | PSU - Seasonic Focus Gold 1000w | Display - ASUS TUF VG27WQ Curved 1440P 165Hz | Cooling - ASUS TUF LC240 AIO + 5 aRGB Fans

 

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2 minutes ago, Gazereths said:

Well I suppose a laptop would have more flex and movement than a desktop, and the manufacturer obvioulsy knew about the issue to put the pad there in the first place, though it's seems like a slight design flaw. My guess is it's just for stability and not a thermal solution. Is it a bog standard pcie3 SSD or maybe even SATA? If so it doesn;t really need cooling, also it wasn't as if the laptop was cutting out after prolonged use, it wouldn't boot even when stone cold.

Yeah it is a bog standard one. It is from a Dell XPS 15 2 in 1. I didn't actually check the exact model but it should be 3 or 4 years old by now and I don't think pcie4 support came to laptops until Tiger Lake was released last year? 

 

When I told my boss what the issue was, he said that he had been wondering what that grey / yellow stuff was that kept escaping out of his ports in when he removed cables 🤣.

 

I guess the original pad was just falling apart. Not ideal for what should be a high end laptop. 

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2 minutes ago, Musty said:

I guess the original pad was just falling apart. Not ideal for what should be a high end laptop. 

Yeah, but at least it isn't a Mac with a soldered in 256GB SSD and 8GB of soldered in RAM.

CPU - Ryzen 5 3600 | Motherboard - ASUS TUF X570 | RAM - Patriot Viper Blackout 32GB 3200MHz | GPU - RTX 3080 TUF OC | Case - InWin 805 | Boot Drive - Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0  Storage - 2 x 1TB SSD's & 1 500GB SSD | PSU - Seasonic Focus Gold 1000w | Display - ASUS TUF VG27WQ Curved 1440P 165Hz | Cooling - ASUS TUF LC240 AIO + 5 aRGB Fans

 

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4 minutes ago, Gazereths said:

Yeah, but at least it isn't a Mac with a soldered in 256GB SSD and 8GB of soldered in RAM.

🤣 very true. An easy to remove back panel and a 5 minute fix is infinitely preferable.

 

Although it does make me wonder how our IT department had it for two weeks without figuring it out 🙈

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