Thursday, January 24, 2013

My 18 year old son amazes me - his description of how he repaired a laptop

I saw the work that Daniel did to repair his brother/s computer and I am amazed at the self taught skills that he has. I asked to him to write down what he did.   His computer skills for hardware and software are way beyond mine now and I do know a bit about computers.

He is smart, learns fast and responsible but is unable to find work, if people only knew how good he is I am sure he would have a job or at least a constant stream of people getting him to fix their computers.  If you want a skilled 18 year old geek to fix your computer for not a lot of money, you should try out Daniel.   If you have old computers and have no need for them any longer, Daniel would interested in them to see if he could make something out of them.

Ben's computer a recent Dell Inspiron model had been acting up with constant frame drops when watching video, a super saturated display, and graphics effects problems and freezing in video games. I tried updating the driver's but everything was up to date. I figured it sounded like a problem with the GPU anyways, most likely overheating seeing as these issues only showed up after the computer had been in use for a while. 
I started by opening up the chassis, which would have been easier if Dell wasn't also trying to market Ibuprofen to anyone doing work on their laptops. After about twenty minutes of unscrewing and prying I'd managed to get down to the fan. 
I was not surprised to find the air outtake of the heat sink clogged with dust, which was fairly easy to remove with most of it coming off in one strip and the rest being cleaned off with a q-tip. 
I also noticed that the GPU was connected to the heat sink using a thermal pad and figured that maybe replacing that with some proper thermal paste could up the performance just a little bit more as well 
I removed the heat sink from the Processor and GPU and cleaned off the original thermal past on the CPU and GPU with a couple alcohol wipes and applied the new thermal paste. It turned out that the thermal pad that cooled the GPU wasn't in very good shape anyways so it's probably good that I replaced it. I reassembled Ben's computer and it ran fine. 
The two small bits of maintenance greatly increased the frame rate in video games and movies as well as removed the saturation problem, however video games still freeze sometimes so I'll have to bring it back to see if I can't find the cause of the problem. 

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