A Lenovo W540 was overheating, peaking at 99° before the Intel Core i7 4700MQ would automatically throttle down the speed to prevent permanent damage. A nasty side effect of this is reduced performance. A workstation-grade laptop should be able to handle this kind of heat without issue, what was going wrong!? This was obviously something hardware related since the fan would run at 100% while the air coming out of the fan was room temperature and the CPU was ready to boil water. After disassembling the machine I noticed the heat sink compound wasn’t “smooshed” against the CPU like it should be:
Take a closer look at the image above. What is that desiccant ball doing in there, keeping the heatsink from pressing against the CPU correctly??
Close up of the heat culprit:
I’m going to assume this mistakenly fell in during initial assembly and isn’t an intended feature. After removing the ball and securing the heatsink the compound spread much more evenly:
Prime95 was also happy with the results: