Dealing with the Goo
At this point in the process, with the logic board out, we could see for ourselves the stock from-the-factory thermal paste application. They sure didn't skimp on the goo. Here's what the thermal paste on the heat pipe looked like:
There was even more goo on the CPU, GPU, and main logic chips, which are on the bottom side of the logic board. Here is what they looked like:
If the theories about too much thermal paste were correct, then my laptop definitely had a problem transferring heat. Of course, the only way to find out for ourselves was to press on. So, we cleaned the chips down to their mirror-finished packaging to prepare them for a new, and supposedly better, application of paste.
The heat pipes also got the fine treatment. They were cleaned up so that their polished copper pads, where the logic board chips make contact, were impeccable. All it took was a bit of elbow grease and industrial-grade isopropyl alcohol, and then a finish with a chamois cloth to make sure that there was no residue.
Next up was applying a new coat of thermal paste. For this experiment, I bought some of the best stuff out there: Arctic Silver 5. It seems to be the favorite of the over-clocker and system modification community, and the Arctic Silver website has great instructions on how to apply it. Carefully following these instructions, as well as the recommendations of others who had done this job, I applied the Arctic Silver.
Comparing my work to the Arctic Silver site and to other people's pictures, I was pretty sure I'd done as well as I could. So, I put it all back together to find out the result.