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[Guide][Hard Mod][Nexus 6P]Improve cooling and greatly reduce Thermal Throttling

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Gorgtech

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2012
1,128
1,126
Nuremberg
Warning: This MOD will void your warranty. You will have to open the device and leave traces behind by performing it. Only perform this Mod if you are willing to take a risk.

Since I have already voided my warranty of both my Nexus 5 (2013) and Nexus 7 (2013), why not do it again? There are a few things I do not like about the Nexus 6P and having looked at some pictures from various Teardowns, I was pretty confident that I could improve this device as well. Be warned that this device is really hard to open and I had a few failed attempts before.

What can you expect from this MOD? A more reliable device, better cooling and less Thermal Throttling.

I want to thank Aquatuning Germany for helping me out with this guide by sending me this nice thermal paste as well as the required Heat Gun I was lacking.

aquatuning-phobya-nann7jb9.jpg


Phobya NanoGrease Extreme: This thermal paste has a insane thermal conductivity of 16W/mK which promises excellent results and will replace the pink rubber used by Huawei.

aquatuning-alphacool-nzj01.jpg


aquatuning-alphacool-xxjdt.jpg


aquatuning-alphacool-y7kx3.jpg


aquatuning-alphacool-mzjz3.jpg


I tried to open the Nexus 6P before but failed miserably with a regular hair dryer. It seems that you need plenty of heat and the right tools in order to open such a device. I have never needed a Heat Gun before but everybody has to start somewhere ;)

Alphacool HardTube Heat Gun Pro 2000W: This Heat Gun has 3 different levels of heat: 100°C - 450°C - 600°C and can burn a hole in your hand if you´re not careful.

I was afraid at first because the visor glass is very thin, curved and looks like something which will break just by staring evil at it. If you really think you have what it takes to torture your device, let´s proceed!



Material needed:

- a Heat Gun
- rubbing alcohol
- a razor blade or parts from a soda can
- a precision screwdriver set
- premium thermal paste
- premium 0.5mm thick thermal pads
- a guitar pick or spudger
- a very thin guitar pick or chirurgical knife
- some thin plastic card

You might also consider to get some sort of basic repair kits for mobile devices if you´re not confident that the tools mentioned by me are enough for you to perform this MOD too.

This video inspired me to give it a try too. I think this one is a nice example and since it helped me to finally give it a shot, I guess it is worth mentioning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdWR7cU0sdc

You need to open your device and to make sure that you lay down your display on a soft surface in order to prevent it from being scratched. Don´t forget to remove the SIM card tray right after.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-the2gk8t.jpg


Use a Heat Gun to soften the glue and carefully insert a very thin razor blade between the visor glass and the Aluminum case. It is a great idea to raise the phone from your table by using some spare piece of wood or else you might heat it up too. Be warned that you might need several tries before you can cut through with a thin razor blade or some self made blades out of a soda can if you are not a experienced phone technician who does this kind of stuff on a daily basis. I tried at first the 100°C setting but this one took too long. I switched over to the 450°C setting and kept a good distance because there is a high risk of damaging the components or even igniting stuff.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thexmjbd.jpg


Finally, I removed the critical visor glass without shattering it. This is really scary if you have never done anything like this before.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-the01jgy.jpg


Use a Heat Gun for the lower plastic part but be careful because this part does not like heat at all and might warp and change the colour. You really need to be patient on this part. Fitting a razor blade works too but it is not as easy as you might think. Once you have built a lever and raised one lip, everything is pretty easy. Use a thin plastic card or similar object to cut through.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thep4krn.jpg


Now you need to remove all 6 screws with a precision screwdriver set and make sure that you don´t lose them. Removing the back was quite tricky if you lack the tools. I had to borrow a very thin guitar pick made of metal in order to open the case.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-ther0kit.jpg


Remove the screws of the motherboard and disconnect all connectors. It is easier to remove the motherboard if you remove the 3.5mm headphone jack and front camera first. Now you will see the rubbery thermal paste used by Huawei. It looks cheap and also feels cheap. I bet it is not the highest grade paste used either!

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thegtjbx.jpg


I put the motherboard on a antistatic foam and had a closer look.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-the4kj13.jpg


Use rubbing alcohol and some cue tips for ears, paper towels or even toilet paper in order to get rid of the old thermal paste. This looks a lot better, eh?

gorgtech-nexus-6p-theq2k33.jpg


Clean the closed container with rubbing alcohol too.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-the08kvl.jpg


What is inside? More of that lovely thermal paste. In order to open the lid you need to use a lever. Make sure that you do not use much force and especially damage the small components around. It is not very hard to open the lid once you have figured it out;)

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thexxjx5.jpg


The back of the lid also needs some cleaning too.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-the3hkk7.jpg


That looks a lot better. Use rubbing alcohol again and clean the SoC and the back of the lid.

aquatuning-alphacool-89sa5.jpg


aquatuning-alphacool-bhswl.jpg


aquatuning-alphacool-l1sld.jpg


Alphacool Eisschicht: These pads have a insane thermal conductivity of 17W/mK which promises excellent results. I´ve used them in my Nexus 5 (2013) Mod too since these 2 stripes are enough for many modifications.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thew0uqh.jpg


Attach the thermal pad you want to use. You will need about 15x15x0.5mm in order to fully cover the SoC. Make sure to attach the pad in such a way that you can still close the lid later. The SoC is a really tight fit but it seems that such a pad might work out too if it can adapt to the gap without high pressure. At first I used the Phobya NanoGrease Extreme thermal paste I received. This paste reminds me of Arctic Silver 5 and it is not very easy to apply. It is quite thick and needs some patience. You can use thermal paste instead of a thermal pad too but it´s up to you to decide, how much you need in order to fill the gap which is quite noticeable.

gorgtech-nexus-6p-thejik6k.jpg


Apply the thermal paste on the metal area too, make sure that you do not use too much of it. Let some space for the metal contacts to touch the area too. It does not look too good but once you attach the motherboard back, it will fit like a charm and adjust itself to the existing structure. Use a thick "drop" of paste and let the lid of the EMI shield spread the paste for you.

Now reassemble the device. You can use the old glue of the visor glass and lower plastic part and it will still fit. I might buy some thin double sided adhesive bands later and fix these parts again. At least now I will not need to apply that much heat again in order to remove them ;)

There was a huge discussion about how much thermal paste I´ve used and in order to avoid it. I´ve performed this Mod 2x now and there is barely any difference noticeable between the first and the second try. The thermal paste between the SoC is a lot dirtier while a thermal pad does not create that much mess.

Update 29 February:

Like I said before, I´ve performed this Mod twice and there is barely any difference noticeable between using a pad or using thermal paste. I get slightly better scores in Benchmarks now but in the end I should have let the device like it was after the first try.

Here is a nice picture for you. This is how the area looked after I removed the motherboard again. I simply used a larger surface of the lid to connect with the metal area which wasn´t a issue after all. Did I flood the whole device with thermal paste? Did it change the thermal conductivity for the worse? Absolutely no.

And now some of you might wonder, what happened to the SoC first? Was this one drowned in thermal paste too? Well, just have a look at this picture too after I scraped off the thermal paste. As you can see, there was barely any "mess" at all or else it would have looked a lot worse. The "grey" layer is tough to remove though but it does not matter in the end since you cannot reach some pores with a paper towel. It won´t affect the thermal conductivity of the now attached thermal pad.

There was nothing wrong with the modification itself, I simply wasted more material than necessary.

The whole device runs smoother and feels warm and nice after a while. The display remains warm too and also the Aluminum back needs a while to heat up. Sooner or later this device will throttle too but it will take a lot longer before it heats up enough because the heat is dissipated faster through the elite thermal pad and thermal paste. I´ve played again with various benchmarks and the high scores and linear temperature increase are evidence enough for me that the cooling is great the way it is now.

Update 27 February:

Many guys have mentioned that I used way too much thermal paste. I might have used a lot more than necessary which is quite a waste but it doesn´t flood the entire case and spills out of every corner. You can use a lot less paste or even try a small metal plate (about 0.3mm - 0.5mm thickness) if you have the patience to measure the actual gap between the EMI shield lid and the metal area on the display frame.

I´ve tortured this device a lot and can confirm that the heat dissipation is still a lot better than it was before. I might open this device at a later time again and see if I really made a mess and also provide you with pictures.

I don´t force any of you to modify your device but you´re free to tell me your experiences in case that you actually performed this Mod too :D

I just wanted to show you my Mod and also inspire some of you who also like to perform crazy experiments. This was the main reason why I went through the trouble of creating this guide.

Tests:

Update 10 March:

RngrYogi was brave enough to perform this Mod too and used nearly the same ingredients (similar thermal paste and thermal pads) like I did. Check out what he has to say about his results. He can confirm that the Mod helps the device to lower the thermal throttling intervals and to recover faster ;) His Benchmark results also show that this phone can deliver a great performance when it doesn´t heat up too often.

I will update the OP from time to time if I get more success stories like these.


Update 28 February:

How reliable are Benchmarks when it comes to testing for stability or performance? Even if you perform 100 runs, you have a high tolerance between the results you get. All I was interested in was the temperature increase which is shown in some Benchmarks. It´s linear which is a good sign that everything worked out fine, even if I used a lot of thermal paste to fill the major gaps. That´s enough evidence for me that the cooling of the SoC works like intended and didn´t change for the worse.

On the other hand, if this Mod would have decreased the cooling performance of this device, the scores should also be way lower? Simple logic because a hotter phone tends to throttle more often than a device with a better cooling.

How did I test?

I use a customized, rooted and debloated Stock based ROM (MMB29Q) which suits me well. Every system is different and it also depends which kind of Apps you use. I used two different ways of stressing the whole system by forcing the CPU to use the max. speed at any times in order to generate as much heat as possible. The right tool for me was the usage of the ElementalX Kernel and the EX Kernel Manager App by flar2.

1)Stock Speed, no overclocking at all: Performance Mode activated and Min=Max frequency enabled for all cores.
2)Max Speed, set highest overclocking settings of the Kernel: Performance Mode activated and Min=Max frequency enabled for all cores (1708Mhz and 2054Mhz)

I also killed all active Apps like eg. WhatsApp and let the device stay idle for a while before performing the Benchmarks. Like I said before, there is no way to ever get the same results because every device has a different configuration and amount of Apps installed. The used Kernel settings can also influence the performance.

Here is a great example of how unreliable Benchmarks are when it comes to comparing the performance. I don´t want to link huge image files directly in this OP, this is why I post external links this time. If you don´t trust me, see for yourselves that both images are 100% unaltered.

27 February, Antutu 6.0.1 @ maximum overclocked speed: I was offered a update yesterday but only received a parsing error when I wanted to install it. Have a look at the Playstore ratings and see for yourselves, this is why I could only use 6.0.1

http://abload.de/img/screenshot_20160227-1lirkv.png

28 February, Antutu 6.0.4 @ maximum overclocked speed: This time I was able to install the update and perform the test under the same conditions like yesterday since I didn´t change anything again.

http://abload.de/img/screenshot_20160228-1frrar.png

You get a different result for many reasons. I guess I made my points clear why I don´t really trust Benchmarks when it comes to comparing scores only? I trust my user experience instead. If the device performs well, Apps open fast and I don´t feel any lagging at all, I don´t care if one Benchmark would show me 100k points or even 40k points.

In the end I want to make clear that this modified device will also throttle sooner or later when the device heats up after a while which is inevitable, even if you use the best thermal paste available. The cooling system of this phone is physically limited. Even if you use a diamond sheet instead of thermal paste, this device will still heat up at some point. It would also take a longer time.

This MOD can prolong the time needed for the Thermal Throttling to kick in because it helps to dissipate the heat faster. If you play heavy games or use the phone for Benchmarks only, you might notice the Thermal Throttling to kick in after eg. 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours.

I also made a full NANDroid Backup in TWRP which included all partitions and also enabled compression. The phone heated up like you are already used too but it was not as hot as before. It felt a lot cooler.

I am happy with the results, in terms of reliability this is a great improvement for me ;) At least now I know what I have inside and for me it was worth it.

I feel honored that this Guide has been mentioned at XDA in this article and also in the video.
 
Last edited:

bobbarker2

Senior Member
Aug 30, 2013
1,525
532
Impressive efforts to open the phone. How do you go about sealing it back up when you are finished?

Using a heating gun to re-melt the adhesives to make it sticky again. Buying thermal paste for a phone that is so difficult to take apart (2/10 repairability score on ifixit) is a complete waste of time/money/effort. If someone does this, they will see little, if any, noticeable gains where it effects the way they use the phone, and they will have severely weakend the bonding strength of the adhesives in the process. Not to mention the numerous ways of messing up the disassembly/reassmbly and resulting in a brick. And now since the warranty is now voided, they have to buy a whole new phone at full price to replace the one they just turned into a paper weight..

It's just asking for trouble and definitely not worth it. Tons of risk for little gain.
 
Last edited:

ksoze

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2007
137
71
OP - that is way, way too much thermal paste. Even if you were to only apply it just to the CPU like your pic above, it would have been too much - yet, you double downed by applying just as much on the heat shield as well...

Chances are if you were to take it out again, it would have gotten everywhere by now. I wouldn't be surprised if it started leaking out at one point.
 

itzsnookums

Senior Member
Oct 22, 2009
1,063
351
Spokane, Wa
I ended up doing kinda of the same thing on my M9, except i used thermal paste under the metal rf/heat shield, then i had a couple xbox 360 motherboards laying around, and instead of using thermal paste from the heat shield to the metal casing i used a thermal pad, i cut it in half to make it thinner and reassembled without creating a mess. and no bulges during reassembly.....

just my experience
 

dastinger

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2010
893
307
OP - that is way, way too much thermal paste. Even if you were to only apply it just to the CPU like your pic above, it would have been too much - yet, you double downed by applying just as much on the heat shield as well...

Chances are if you were to take it out again, it would have gotten everywhere by now. I wouldn't be surprised if it started leaking out at one point.
Yep, definitely too much. For a CPU that size, something like a grain of rice should be enough.
 

Nitemare3219

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2010
1,348
490
Way too much paste. Also, spreading it around like that creates air pockets which are a no-go. Not a huge deal for this little processor, but still something to note. Also, toilet paper? Hell no - at LEAST use some high quality paper towels. Toilet paper would make a mess and fall apart.

Good on you for being brave and trying it. Some real tests would've been cool to see how much of a difference was truly made though!
 

d1ez3

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2011
1,153
154
Orlando, Florida
Way too much paste. The paste is a lot less conductive than the metal. A LOT. You only want it to fill the air gaps which is way more insulating. Hopefully it works out for you
 
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Gorgtech

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2012
1,128
1,126
Nuremberg
OK, I might have gotten over the edge with the thermal paste and I see that in case I would want to remove the motherboard again, it would be a lot harder now. This kind of thermal paste is also quite sticky.

I've created the guide to show you what would be possible to achieve with this phone, in case you like stuff like this.

However, like I mentioned in the OP, this modification is very hard to perform since opening the device involves many risks.

I like experimenting though and if my Nexus 6P should fail, I'm out of luck.

I also have my doubts that most guys would want to perform this Mod too but what if someday the battery fails and needs to be replaced? You would have to open the device anyway and also use the chance to apply fresh and better thermal paste ;)
 

republicano

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2010
998
248
I was thinking to get another plate of copper, if there is a gap,or some thermal pads, not alot you can do, better to have an efficient SOC or implement a better way to get the whole phone to absorb the heat.
As above, alot of thermal paste, a small dot would be better as you used a better paste than stock,

Anyway it's silly to think we should have to do this,
 
Last edited:

Gorgtech

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2012
1,128
1,126
Nuremberg
Thanks for all the Feedback. I´ve updated the OP ;) I don´t force any of you to perform this Mod and I will use less thermal paste next time ;) For now, everything is still OK and I didn´t see any thermal paste leaking through the motherboard and the whole case. I got over excited and used more paste than really necessary which is a waste of material but didn´t change the results for the worse.

I´m performing a series of extra Tests which will also include a overclocked device in order to see if I can somehow teach this guy the "Art of Heating" again and trying to burn my fingers.
 
Last edited:

Gorgtech

Senior Member
Sep 3, 2012
1,128
1,126
Nuremberg
It depends, the SoC of the Nexus 7 (2013) faces towards the back and not the display frame. A slight improvement is still possible because you can use a thin metal plate or a thermal pad to connect it with the lid of the EMI shield. It´s better than nothing.

Even if you manage to find a gap inside the case and to glue a thin plate of metal to eg. the back and connect the SoC with it, it will be a great improvement. This kind of ICs can perform very well, even without a passive cooler attached to them.

What I noticed now is that my battery temperature is lower because it gets less heat from the SoC now. The heat is dissipated faster through the better thermal paste. I will post a few Screenshots later and also describe the measuring conditions used by me ;)
 

syntrix

Senior Member
Nov 10, 2008
803
96
Little Rock, AR
How did I get here?

Oh yeah, WAY too much thermal paste. That's counter-productive. Thermal paste basically fills in the scratches/imperfections to help heat transfer. A goopy snot of bubble gum wadded there will insulate the chip, and it will have less cooling ability.
 

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  • 82
    Warning: This MOD will void your warranty. You will have to open the device and leave traces behind by performing it. Only perform this Mod if you are willing to take a risk.

    Since I have already voided my warranty of both my Nexus 5 (2013) and Nexus 7 (2013), why not do it again? There are a few things I do not like about the Nexus 6P and having looked at some pictures from various Teardowns, I was pretty confident that I could improve this device as well. Be warned that this device is really hard to open and I had a few failed attempts before.

    What can you expect from this MOD? A more reliable device, better cooling and less Thermal Throttling.

    I want to thank Aquatuning Germany for helping me out with this guide by sending me this nice thermal paste as well as the required Heat Gun I was lacking.

    aquatuning-phobya-nann7jb9.jpg


    Phobya NanoGrease Extreme: This thermal paste has a insane thermal conductivity of 16W/mK which promises excellent results and will replace the pink rubber used by Huawei.

    aquatuning-alphacool-nzj01.jpg


    aquatuning-alphacool-xxjdt.jpg


    aquatuning-alphacool-y7kx3.jpg


    aquatuning-alphacool-mzjz3.jpg


    I tried to open the Nexus 6P before but failed miserably with a regular hair dryer. It seems that you need plenty of heat and the right tools in order to open such a device. I have never needed a Heat Gun before but everybody has to start somewhere ;)

    Alphacool HardTube Heat Gun Pro 2000W: This Heat Gun has 3 different levels of heat: 100°C - 450°C - 600°C and can burn a hole in your hand if you´re not careful.

    I was afraid at first because the visor glass is very thin, curved and looks like something which will break just by staring evil at it. If you really think you have what it takes to torture your device, let´s proceed!



    Material needed:

    - a Heat Gun
    - rubbing alcohol
    - a razor blade or parts from a soda can
    - a precision screwdriver set
    - premium thermal paste
    - premium 0.5mm thick thermal pads
    - a guitar pick or spudger
    - a very thin guitar pick or chirurgical knife
    - some thin plastic card

    You might also consider to get some sort of basic repair kits for mobile devices if you´re not confident that the tools mentioned by me are enough for you to perform this MOD too.

    This video inspired me to give it a try too. I think this one is a nice example and since it helped me to finally give it a shot, I guess it is worth mentioning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdWR7cU0sdc

    You need to open your device and to make sure that you lay down your display on a soft surface in order to prevent it from being scratched. Don´t forget to remove the SIM card tray right after.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-the2gk8t.jpg


    Use a Heat Gun to soften the glue and carefully insert a very thin razor blade between the visor glass and the Aluminum case. It is a great idea to raise the phone from your table by using some spare piece of wood or else you might heat it up too. Be warned that you might need several tries before you can cut through with a thin razor blade or some self made blades out of a soda can if you are not a experienced phone technician who does this kind of stuff on a daily basis. I tried at first the 100°C setting but this one took too long. I switched over to the 450°C setting and kept a good distance because there is a high risk of damaging the components or even igniting stuff.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thexmjbd.jpg


    Finally, I removed the critical visor glass without shattering it. This is really scary if you have never done anything like this before.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-the01jgy.jpg


    Use a Heat Gun for the lower plastic part but be careful because this part does not like heat at all and might warp and change the colour. You really need to be patient on this part. Fitting a razor blade works too but it is not as easy as you might think. Once you have built a lever and raised one lip, everything is pretty easy. Use a thin plastic card or similar object to cut through.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thep4krn.jpg


    Now you need to remove all 6 screws with a precision screwdriver set and make sure that you don´t lose them. Removing the back was quite tricky if you lack the tools. I had to borrow a very thin guitar pick made of metal in order to open the case.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-ther0kit.jpg


    Remove the screws of the motherboard and disconnect all connectors. It is easier to remove the motherboard if you remove the 3.5mm headphone jack and front camera first. Now you will see the rubbery thermal paste used by Huawei. It looks cheap and also feels cheap. I bet it is not the highest grade paste used either!

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thegtjbx.jpg


    I put the motherboard on a antistatic foam and had a closer look.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-the4kj13.jpg


    Use rubbing alcohol and some cue tips for ears, paper towels or even toilet paper in order to get rid of the old thermal paste. This looks a lot better, eh?

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-theq2k33.jpg


    Clean the closed container with rubbing alcohol too.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-the08kvl.jpg


    What is inside? More of that lovely thermal paste. In order to open the lid you need to use a lever. Make sure that you do not use much force and especially damage the small components around. It is not very hard to open the lid once you have figured it out;)

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thexxjx5.jpg


    The back of the lid also needs some cleaning too.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-the3hkk7.jpg


    That looks a lot better. Use rubbing alcohol again and clean the SoC and the back of the lid.

    aquatuning-alphacool-89sa5.jpg


    aquatuning-alphacool-bhswl.jpg


    aquatuning-alphacool-l1sld.jpg


    Alphacool Eisschicht: These pads have a insane thermal conductivity of 17W/mK which promises excellent results. I´ve used them in my Nexus 5 (2013) Mod too since these 2 stripes are enough for many modifications.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thew0uqh.jpg


    Attach the thermal pad you want to use. You will need about 15x15x0.5mm in order to fully cover the SoC. Make sure to attach the pad in such a way that you can still close the lid later. The SoC is a really tight fit but it seems that such a pad might work out too if it can adapt to the gap without high pressure. At first I used the Phobya NanoGrease Extreme thermal paste I received. This paste reminds me of Arctic Silver 5 and it is not very easy to apply. It is quite thick and needs some patience. You can use thermal paste instead of a thermal pad too but it´s up to you to decide, how much you need in order to fill the gap which is quite noticeable.

    gorgtech-nexus-6p-thejik6k.jpg


    Apply the thermal paste on the metal area too, make sure that you do not use too much of it. Let some space for the metal contacts to touch the area too. It does not look too good but once you attach the motherboard back, it will fit like a charm and adjust itself to the existing structure. Use a thick "drop" of paste and let the lid of the EMI shield spread the paste for you.

    Now reassemble the device. You can use the old glue of the visor glass and lower plastic part and it will still fit. I might buy some thin double sided adhesive bands later and fix these parts again. At least now I will not need to apply that much heat again in order to remove them ;)

    There was a huge discussion about how much thermal paste I´ve used and in order to avoid it. I´ve performed this Mod 2x now and there is barely any difference noticeable between the first and the second try. The thermal paste between the SoC is a lot dirtier while a thermal pad does not create that much mess.

    Update 29 February:

    Like I said before, I´ve performed this Mod twice and there is barely any difference noticeable between using a pad or using thermal paste. I get slightly better scores in Benchmarks now but in the end I should have let the device like it was after the first try.

    Here is a nice picture for you. This is how the area looked after I removed the motherboard again. I simply used a larger surface of the lid to connect with the metal area which wasn´t a issue after all. Did I flood the whole device with thermal paste? Did it change the thermal conductivity for the worse? Absolutely no.

    And now some of you might wonder, what happened to the SoC first? Was this one drowned in thermal paste too? Well, just have a look at this picture too after I scraped off the thermal paste. As you can see, there was barely any "mess" at all or else it would have looked a lot worse. The "grey" layer is tough to remove though but it does not matter in the end since you cannot reach some pores with a paper towel. It won´t affect the thermal conductivity of the now attached thermal pad.

    There was nothing wrong with the modification itself, I simply wasted more material than necessary.

    The whole device runs smoother and feels warm and nice after a while. The display remains warm too and also the Aluminum back needs a while to heat up. Sooner or later this device will throttle too but it will take a lot longer before it heats up enough because the heat is dissipated faster through the elite thermal pad and thermal paste. I´ve played again with various benchmarks and the high scores and linear temperature increase are evidence enough for me that the cooling is great the way it is now.

    Update 27 February:

    Many guys have mentioned that I used way too much thermal paste. I might have used a lot more than necessary which is quite a waste but it doesn´t flood the entire case and spills out of every corner. You can use a lot less paste or even try a small metal plate (about 0.3mm - 0.5mm thickness) if you have the patience to measure the actual gap between the EMI shield lid and the metal area on the display frame.

    I´ve tortured this device a lot and can confirm that the heat dissipation is still a lot better than it was before. I might open this device at a later time again and see if I really made a mess and also provide you with pictures.

    I don´t force any of you to modify your device but you´re free to tell me your experiences in case that you actually performed this Mod too :D

    I just wanted to show you my Mod and also inspire some of you who also like to perform crazy experiments. This was the main reason why I went through the trouble of creating this guide.

    Tests:

    Update 10 March:

    RngrYogi was brave enough to perform this Mod too and used nearly the same ingredients (similar thermal paste and thermal pads) like I did. Check out what he has to say about his results. He can confirm that the Mod helps the device to lower the thermal throttling intervals and to recover faster ;) His Benchmark results also show that this phone can deliver a great performance when it doesn´t heat up too often.

    I will update the OP from time to time if I get more success stories like these.


    Update 28 February:

    How reliable are Benchmarks when it comes to testing for stability or performance? Even if you perform 100 runs, you have a high tolerance between the results you get. All I was interested in was the temperature increase which is shown in some Benchmarks. It´s linear which is a good sign that everything worked out fine, even if I used a lot of thermal paste to fill the major gaps. That´s enough evidence for me that the cooling of the SoC works like intended and didn´t change for the worse.

    On the other hand, if this Mod would have decreased the cooling performance of this device, the scores should also be way lower? Simple logic because a hotter phone tends to throttle more often than a device with a better cooling.

    How did I test?

    I use a customized, rooted and debloated Stock based ROM (MMB29Q) which suits me well. Every system is different and it also depends which kind of Apps you use. I used two different ways of stressing the whole system by forcing the CPU to use the max. speed at any times in order to generate as much heat as possible. The right tool for me was the usage of the ElementalX Kernel and the EX Kernel Manager App by flar2.

    1)Stock Speed, no overclocking at all: Performance Mode activated and Min=Max frequency enabled for all cores.
    2)Max Speed, set highest overclocking settings of the Kernel: Performance Mode activated and Min=Max frequency enabled for all cores (1708Mhz and 2054Mhz)

    I also killed all active Apps like eg. WhatsApp and let the device stay idle for a while before performing the Benchmarks. Like I said before, there is no way to ever get the same results because every device has a different configuration and amount of Apps installed. The used Kernel settings can also influence the performance.

    Here is a great example of how unreliable Benchmarks are when it comes to comparing the performance. I don´t want to link huge image files directly in this OP, this is why I post external links this time. If you don´t trust me, see for yourselves that both images are 100% unaltered.

    27 February, Antutu 6.0.1 @ maximum overclocked speed: I was offered a update yesterday but only received a parsing error when I wanted to install it. Have a look at the Playstore ratings and see for yourselves, this is why I could only use 6.0.1

    http://abload.de/img/screenshot_20160227-1lirkv.png

    28 February, Antutu 6.0.4 @ maximum overclocked speed: This time I was able to install the update and perform the test under the same conditions like yesterday since I didn´t change anything again.

    http://abload.de/img/screenshot_20160228-1frrar.png

    You get a different result for many reasons. I guess I made my points clear why I don´t really trust Benchmarks when it comes to comparing scores only? I trust my user experience instead. If the device performs well, Apps open fast and I don´t feel any lagging at all, I don´t care if one Benchmark would show me 100k points or even 40k points.

    In the end I want to make clear that this modified device will also throttle sooner or later when the device heats up after a while which is inevitable, even if you use the best thermal paste available. The cooling system of this phone is physically limited. Even if you use a diamond sheet instead of thermal paste, this device will still heat up at some point. It would also take a longer time.

    This MOD can prolong the time needed for the Thermal Throttling to kick in because it helps to dissipate the heat faster. If you play heavy games or use the phone for Benchmarks only, you might notice the Thermal Throttling to kick in after eg. 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours.

    I also made a full NANDroid Backup in TWRP which included all partitions and also enabled compression. The phone heated up like you are already used too but it was not as hot as before. It felt a lot cooler.

    I am happy with the results, in terms of reliability this is a great improvement for me ;) At least now I know what I have inside and for me it was worth it.

    I feel honored that this Guide has been mentioned at XDA in this article and also in the video.
    13
    OP - that is way, way too much thermal paste. Even if you were to only apply it just to the CPU like your pic above, it would have been too much - yet, you double downed by applying just as much on the heat shield as well...

    Chances are if you were to take it out again, it would have gotten everywhere by now. I wouldn't be surprised if it started leaking out at one point.
    8
    Ok I did several versions of this mod myself and the Op's decision to change to a thermal pad was a great idea as I had decided to do this from the beginning after seeing the gap between the lid and the chip. I removed and reattached the camera's glass cover and the plastic cover at the bottom many times and must say using the correct amount of heat and being careful resulted in no damage at all to the pieces. Using a X-tronic #4040 and applying 150c for the glass and letting the heat soak in a little allowed me to remove it with no bending at all. 100c on the thin plastic at the bottom resulted in the same results. A couple of small nicks at the injection site of the metal razor blade to the frame itself were unavoidable especially after multiple removals but if that is an issue you can always buy another back and glass as they are on the market now or find a seriously thin plastic razor which you can buy.

    I testing using a 1.0mm soft pad I had extracted from a AMD 7970's VRM rail and sink. Obviously it is not a good idea to reuse a thermal pad but I know that and just wanted to test pressures, gaps, and softness of the pad and to see if it helped. It did. The 1.0mm pad was a bit too thick but this pad was super soft and allowed a little more pressure after it was squashed by the plate and the board after being screwed back to the frame which was ok considering the pad will fill the gap well and still did not cause a deformation or extra pressure on the motherboard after reseating it. I also used some cheaper thermal paste to do the outside. ThermalTake TG-7 which as I found out later only had a thermal conductivity of 3.3W/m-K so that was not too good considering we are dealing with low pressure, largely imperfect surfaces, large gaps, and lack of a good true heatsink.

    So the device transmitted heat a little better and still throttled a lot showing how much heat was still being insulated inside the chip. So after testing I ordered some FujiPoly Ultra Extreme 17W/m-K pads from Amazon and some good Gelid GC Extreme that has a from Amazon also. The pads are only .5mm thick like the AlphaCool in the OP and are much more stiff and somewhat brittle to bending and excessive movement compared to my previous pad from the 7970's VRM sink, so be careful with them but the stiffness assists here. The Fujipoly pads came with the exact same protective covering as the AlphaCool Pads so with the similarities in look and specs they should be almost exactly the same. I used the pea method to apply and spread the TIM when dropping the motherboard down to be reseated. The amount used was more like a squished grain of rice as I did not want to insulate the chip instead of transferring the heat to the frame.

    After redoing the mod with some quality materials, benefits are realized, and I could not be happier. Upon some tests using geekbench and a few games monitoring the cpu temp and throttling habits I can attest to the fact that the chip and thermal solution here definitely wicks the heat away from the chip much quicker than the stock solution. Now that being said this chip still throttles like a boxer with no corner or water but what I saw was how quickly the chip, software, and hardware throttles in place relieved themselves after the severe stress was gone allowing the phone to turn the cores back on and turn up the Mhz again. You can experience the front glass, frame and the rear casing heating up quickly under a moderate load and thus becoming heat soaked pretty quickly. This may result in more dangerous heat levels reaching the user's face on a phone call so just be aware and don't scare yourself or drop your phone. This mod is only meant to be attempted by experienced techs and thus they accept their own responsibility doing it. The cost of these TIMs were around $48 Shipped overnight from amazon. So pretty expensive, but they give good results.

    My tests included multiple runs of geekbench which saw scores dip into the low 2500's after 3 runs on stock and taking a good 5 or 6 mins to recover from all forms of throttling. After the mod I could not get my score to dip below the 3800's and was consistently staying in the 4000 range after the 3rd to 5th runs. Upon checking how quickly the chip recovered from the throttling was startling! As fast as I could switch to Kernel Adiutor after a 3 run test and then a 5 run test the device had dropped almost instantly back to around an average of 45c and saw the cores reactivate and the Mhz restrictions lift within 5 seconds of switching, all while the body and frame were totally heat soaked.
    I am currently running the Dirty Unicorns ROM.

    All in all this mod definitely helped my phone's performance and longevity and I must give props to the Op on attempting to open this beast and take on the task of doing what everyone here at XDA strives for and that is pushing our already ridiculous devices to the extreme and allowing us to squeeze every drop of performance from them. My many thanks on putting this out there and giving us room to play. Because I totally understand how difficult it can be to read some the the replies you can receive after doing something like this to a flagship device. I agree that the process needed a little refinement but I also must say the title of this post gives the intended results. :highfive:
    6
    Impressive efforts to open the phone. How do you go about sealing it back up when you are finished?

    Using a heating gun to re-melt the adhesives to make it sticky again. Buying thermal paste for a phone that is so difficult to take apart (2/10 repairability score on ifixit) is a complete waste of time/money/effort. If someone does this, they will see little, if any, noticeable gains where it effects the way they use the phone, and they will have severely weakend the bonding strength of the adhesives in the process. Not to mention the numerous ways of messing up the disassembly/reassmbly and resulting in a brick. And now since the warranty is now voided, they have to buy a whole new phone at full price to replace the one they just turned into a paper weight..

    It's just asking for trouble and definitely not worth it. Tons of risk for little gain.
    4
    Thanks for all the Feedback. I´ve updated the OP ;) I don´t force any of you to perform this Mod and I will use less thermal paste next time ;) For now, everything is still OK and I didn´t see any thermal paste leaking through the motherboard and the whole case. I got over excited and used more paste than really necessary which is a waste of material but didn´t change the results for the worse.

    I´m performing a series of extra Tests which will also include a overclocked device in order to see if I can somehow teach this guy the "Art of Heating" again and trying to burn my fingers.