[Nexus 9 Mod] Cooling/Heatsink Mod

Search This thread

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
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.
j1OS5BSyX1WXQVKv.huge

G2LiZNdLa1esUO6v.huge

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.
e3c628e7_image.jpeg

OCRii1iM4IpKw2gH.huge

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.
bf3d66e5_image.jpeg

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.
f5a59a06_image.jpeg

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.
 
Last edited:

jd1639

Recognized Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
16,832
5,401
Minnesota
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.

Sent from my Nexus 9 using XDA Free mobile app
 
  • Like
Reactions: lastdeadmouse

SoniXDroid

Member
Jan 7, 2011
22
2
I think jd is correct .

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

Sent from my Nexus 9 using XDA Free mobile app
 

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
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
 
  • Like
Reactions: Freak07

berendspruijt

Senior Member
Sep 8, 2012
83
20
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..
 

demo23019

Senior Member
Dec 9, 2007
2,216
613
Lol that u need to resort to **** like this when proper thermal dissipation should have been added in first place like shield tablet.


Sent from my Nexus S using xda premium
 
  • Like
Reactions: Beta1440

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
Lol that u need to resort to **** like this when proper thermal dissipation should have been added in first place like shield tablet.


Sent from my Nexus S using xda premium
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
a588e111f231723229d11ac9db20dedd.jpg
 

berendspruijt

Senior Member
Sep 8, 2012
83
20
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.
 

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
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...
 

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
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
 

toopy

Member
May 13, 2005
23
3
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...

easy way to make thermal glue is to mix a solution of 1/2 araldite (epoxy) and 1/2 of your choice of thermal paste.
I use generally use Arctic silver 5 as that's what I normally have on hand.
 

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
Well the strange thing is the mod works great... However, it doesn't really help throttling... So something else has to be throttling down the chip...
Quite disappointing.
6ec230ee26f04c298e265a2fbe9e3c03.jpg

The actual chip will throttle at 72c ... However at 2.5ghz it's maxing around 68c on a stress test...
Another strange thing is when the gpu is overclocked to 950mhz the temps go through the roof on some stress tests. I've seen temps upto 87c when stressing the gpu and that's after the mod. Overclocking just 100mhz creates a huge temp difference for the gpu...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Jsunn

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
76
OK a revisit from the past... The mod helped some but it is still lacking. I ended up breaking down and purchasing 2mm thick thermal pads last night. This is vitally important for this mod. I will have a new guide up in a week or 2 once I get the pads and install them. I've realized the thermal transfer is terrible with the stock 0.5-1mm thermal pad... Hopefully this will finally resolve the heat issues.
 

berendspruijt

Senior Member
Sep 8, 2012
83
20
OK a revisit from the past... The mod helped some but it is still lacking. I ended up breaking down and purchasing 2mm thick thermal pads last night. This is vitally important for this mod. I will have a new guide up in a week or 2 once I get the pads and install them. I've realized the thermal transfer is terrible with the stock 0.5-1mm thermal pad... Hopefully this will finally resolve the heat issues.

nice make lots of pictures ^^
 

tomkins0752

Senior Member
Dec 11, 2012
197
43
Some dump in the south
I came across this thread and decided I would try this as well.
If I play a good 15-20 minutes of Kingdom Rush, the side would get really hot.
So I ordered a couple 1.2mm bronze heat pads from Amazon and just put them in.
The back cover just barely snapped back on, but it doesn't bulge or anything.
Now to go test it out.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 12
    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.
    j1OS5BSyX1WXQVKv.huge

    G2LiZNdLa1esUO6v.huge

    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.
    e3c628e7_image.jpeg

    OCRii1iM4IpKw2gH.huge

    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.
    bf3d66e5_image.jpeg

    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.
    f5a59a06_image.jpeg

    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.
    5
    Ah ha! Finally success! Only took about 30 times opening and closing get my tablet. But I now have a very well cooled k1 chip. The thermal paste arrived, removed the thermal pad and walla, great results.
    fd06201e_image.jpeg

    This is the k1 chip with a copper shim. I used thermal paste and some glue to glue down the shim since I don't want it moving at all.
    Next, I was finally able to cut some copper and keep it flat. Fortunately it fit perfect the very first time.
    4c7440b2_image.jpeg

    As you see, I placed the 2mm thermal pad on the back side of the k1 chip. This adds pressure to the heatsink and will use the back cover as a pressure plate to always provide a good contact with the chip.
    092b590d_image.jpeg

    As you can see, there's a slight indentation in the thermal pad. This is from the back of the cover where it's pressing on the pad and adding pressure to the heatsink, this ensures proper contact with the chip since there's nothing to screw down the heatsink with.

    Overall I have about a 10c drop in temperatures for about 35 seconds. After that it will slowly raise in temperature as the copper heat plate becomes saturated with heat. However, I used to see 85c in some benchmarks at the stock tablet, now I don't see anything past 76c.
    3
    Here is the heatsink I will be using. It is 0.025" thick copper. It's about 50x thicker than the copper foil previously used.
    f2136bfb8087a7889b62d133b8f3ed82.jpg


    I should have the thermal pad here by Friday I think. Stay tuned.
    2
    OK a revisit from the past... The mod helped some but it is still lacking. I ended up breaking down and purchasing 2mm thick thermal pads last night. This is vitally important for this mod. I will have a new guide up in a week or 2 once I get the pads and install them. I've realized the thermal transfer is terrible with the stock 0.5-1mm thermal pad... Hopefully this will finally resolve the heat issues.
    1
    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.

    Sent from my Nexus 9 using XDA Free mobile app