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[Nexus 9 Mod] Cooling/Heatsink Mod

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By Philaphlous, Senior Member on 31st December 2014, 06:56 PM
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Ok guys,

First off, I'd like to give a little disclaimer, opening your tablet and/or doing mods is dangerous for the tablet and could potentially lead to either breaking something or destroying your tablet. You're forewarned and I'm not responsible for any damage you do to your own device.

The idea:
The Nexus 9 gets quite hot. Especially when holding the tablet directly on the back, the NFC antenna area gets quite warm because the SOC Tegra K1 is right behind it on the motherboard. The idea is to 1. Create better cooling performance and 2. Create a barrier for the heat so the back of the tablet no longer gets that hot.

The Mod:
Step 1:
Remove the back cover of the tablet. It's super easy. Basically if you have a decent fingernail all you need is that. Just gently squeeze your fingernail between the back and the aluminum side and you should then feel and hear a little popping noise. This is the tabs all around the cover popping off. Once you do this, you should be able to remove the back of the cover without damaging anything.


Step 2:
Get access to the motherboard. You'll notice the top of the tablet has copper foil at the top. This is the "shielding" which we will utilize as the heatsink. Obviously its very little copper and doesn't possess alot of thermal capacity to hold alot of heat. All we're doing here is creating a barrier so that the copper can soak up some of the heat from the Tegra K1 chip.


You don't need to remove the motherboard but here's what we're trying to get at. Behind this tin cover is the chip.
Add foam or a thick (1-2mm) piece of double sided tape that allows for the area to be compressed. This will basically ensure that the tin shield and copper are pressed against the Tegra K1 chip. This basically is the alternate to screwing down the heatsink like we would on a PC or laptop.

Step 5:
Put the back back on the tablet. You'll notice that the foam really sticks out and doesn't allow the cover to fully reattach to the tablet. You'll have to make sure its not TOO thick or the back won't go back on properly. Remember, the NFC antenna prongs are close to this area so you can't make it too thick or else the tablet won't turn on.

You'll notice the back is raised a tad in that area but it also feels very firm because the foam is pressing against the motherboard where the chip is. This will make us sure that the foam is doing the job of pressing the tin and copper shield against the chip.

After that you're done. It's a simple mod and it should drop your tablet anywhere from 2-5C for a little period of time. Obviously the cooling isn't active cooling so after a certain amount of benchmarking or stress on the chip, it'll begin to warm like normal.

Good luck. Let me know what you guys think. I considered replacing the tin shield with copper but decided that'd be a bad idea.
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3rd January 2015, 02:41 AM |#2  
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Don't think step 4, adding the foam to the back of the chip is a good idea. All that's going to do is hold in the heat and not allow the chip to cool. The copper sheet is too thin to conduct much heat out from under it it.

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4th January 2015, 08:16 PM |#3  
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I think jd is correct .

Until now I newer had problems with heat. Its getting warm,
but no problems with that.

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6th January 2015, 07:21 PM |#4  
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OK guys... I think at this point after having the mod about a week that something better is due. I'll likely be picking up some copper tonight and I'll be shaping the copper for a heatsink instead of the emi shield. It should work way better... Hopefully
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10th January 2015, 06:41 PM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philaphlous

OK guys... I think at this point after having the mod about a week that something better is due. I'll likely be picking up some copper tonight and I'll be shaping the copper for a heatsink instead of the emi shield. It should work way better... Hopefully

keep us posted!

I really want to try this mod.
Little bit worried that i will break something..
10th January 2015, 10:32 PM |#6  
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Lol that u need to resort to **** like this when proper thermal dissipation should have been added in first place like shield tablet.


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11th January 2015, 01:38 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demo23019

Lol that u need to resort to **** like this when proper thermal dissipation should have been added in first place like shield tablet.


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That is a true statement. The tegra k1 chip an easily get upto the 72c thermal throttling limit with chrome.

What I've done so far is replaced the stock thermal pad with one of my own. It's from frozencpu and I think it's a fuijiboy thermal pad... At least I think it is. It's a few years old. However it works great! I'm now down to keeping the gpu from thermally throttling with benchmarks. The big downside is the chip still eventually heats up. The tin cover just doesn't have enough thermal capacity. So my only next step is to go all out and replace the tin emi shield with a solid copper one that's thicker and can hold more heat depending how I make it.
I'm not quite there yet with the copper sheet since I don't have it yet. But I've read a few articles and it looks like once a heat spreader of that kind is added, we should have no issue with heat... It'll even reduce the temperature of the back of the tablet.
I'll keep everyone posted on the next update.

Just to keep a figure in mind. I'm able to run antutu without any thermal throttling. Overclocked with 2.5ghz and 900mhz gpu. Thanks to the elementalx kernel
11th January 2015, 05:57 PM |#8  
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very nice work!

ive got a friend who can cut some copper plating.
So when your done and it works i would love some dimensions.
11th January 2015, 11:01 PM |#9  
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I took down some of the mod guide since it wasn't really a huge benefit. I'll be picking up some copper tomorrow and I'll be getting some glue to go with it. I'm on a big time budget do it might not be thermal glue but it'll still do the job...
12th January 2015, 10:14 PM |#10  
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Will one of those flat ram sinks fit in there?
13th January 2015, 12:32 AM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toopy

Will one of those flat ram sinks fit in there?

No. There is barely enough clearance for anything. At best you can manage maybe a 2mm heatsink tops. I'm using a solid copper sheet that's 0.025 thick.. Which is about 8x thicker than the normal shield they come with... It's literally like a thick piece of aluminum foil...
I should have new pictures and results up tomorrow. I just got the solid sheet of copper today
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