[SOLVED] Laptop without fan. I feel the urge to add one...

Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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I found a free Dell Inspiron 15-3573 with an Intel Pentium Silver N5000.

As I usually do, I plan on adding a cheap SSD and more RAM (8 instead of 4). BUT...

Interestingly enough, it looks like a board from a 15-3567 with a Core i5 7200U would fit in there, and there are some for as little as $100 on ebay. I would have to cut out vents for the fan to be able to blow air, but other than that, it looks pretty straight forward, at least I think it is.

However, instead of spending $100 on top of the SSD and RAM on a motherboard that may or may not fit or work, I thought, what if I just installed a real CPU cooler? The CPU has a metal board on top as a heat sink. It doesn't even have any fins. It looks like the cooler and fan from the 15-3567 should fit. There are even the screw holes for the missing fan and cooler. Again, I'd have to cut vents, but that's something I've done before on other laptops so shouldn't be hard.

The Pentium Silver N5000 has 4 cores, a base frequency of 1.1GHz, but has a burst frequency of up to 2.7GHz. In reality, this computer should be just fast enough for the general desktop laptop use it will be getting. But getting a little more would be nice. If I understand this right, once that little heat sink heats up the CPU has to throttle back to keep from overheating. By adding active cooling the CPU, in theory, should be able to ramp up to higher frequencies more often and stay there longer. Right?

The hardest part, I'm guessing, is how to integrate a fan controller of some sort, since there doesn't seem to be a header on the board. Not even a place to solder one to. There's lots of room where the non-existent DVD drive is supposed to be to add a DIY fan speed controller. I've seen a lot of 12V desktop fan controllers online, but don't know where I could get 12V from on the board nor am I sure that that's going to be a good idea. I could solder a connector to the 5V and ground pins on the back of one of the USB ports to get 5V and then hook that up to some sort of 3 wire fan controller.

Any ideas, thoughts and critisisms would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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The N5000 has a 6w TDP. It chucks out barely any more power than a phone CPU. You really shouldn't need active cooling.

You can check the temperatures currently using a program like hwinfo
True.

But the heatsink is a sheet of metal no bigger than the bottom of a mouse inside a rediculously empty laptop. Do you think if I cut a bigger sheet of copper it might help some?
 

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
53
4
535
0
The N5000 has a 6w TDP. It chucks out barely any more power than a phone CPU. You really shouldn't need active cooling.

You can check the temperatures currently using a program like hwinfo
This is absolutely correct.

After getting the computer back together and running several programs on it, the hotest I could get any one of the cores was 65°C, not enough to merit a fan at all.

Oddly the computer is buttery smooth now that it has 8GB of RAM and the SSD. It even feels faster than my old Core i7 (1st gen).
 

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