Author Topic: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)  (Read 10305 times)

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Offline kat

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MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« on: February 22, 2018, 08:17:33 AM »
The process below relates to making a simple custom heatsink for an ATI/AMD 6700M MXM graphics card (an AMD 5950M recognised by Windows 10 as an 6700M) with limited tools, to fit inside a HP Elitedesk 800 G1 USDT (Ultra-Small/Slim Desk Top) computer (system uses the same/similar MXM module configuration typical of mobile workstation or laptop video card upgrades - note also, MXM type II graphics cards only fit MXM mounting slots, they cannot be fitted to internal/laptop pci express slots). Notwithstanding the heat-sink itself, to actually run an MXM graphics card a 180W external power adapter was needed (Part No. #613766-001 or alternatively #613766-002) as the original 135W results in a POST error relating to power shortages (not enough).

Parts used/needed;
- AMD/nVidia Type III MXM card[1].
- Copper or aluminium plate or sheet[2].
- 40 x 40 x 30mm aluminium heatsink[3].
- 3M double-sided thermal adhesive pad/tape[4].
- CPU/GPU thermal pad/s (silicone)[5].

Optionally;
- Machine screws/bolts; M2 (2mm x 8mm) and M1.6 (1.6mm x 5mm)[6].

Tools used for the job
- junior hacksaw with metal blade.
- standard bastard file for metal.
- needle files (round).
- 2mm drill bit for metal.
- pin-vice.
- wet-n-dry fine grit.
- craft knife.
- scissors.

Making the heat-sink
To keep the process as simple as possible, the plan is to mount the aluminium heatsink square on a section of plate that’s cut to size and drilled so it can be mounted to the MXM module mounting posts on the motherboard (M1.6 screws). To avoid waste and keep the amount of work to a minimum, the baseplate will first be draw to size on a sheet of paper or thin card. This will then be cut out, placed on the metal sheet, which will be marked and cut based on this template, mounting holes included.

The basic MXM heatsink with aluminium block and copper baseplate

First mark the mounting holes to determine base-plate actual size.
The simplest way to do this is use the MXM graphics card mounting bracket on the underside of the board (if the MXM board has no mounting bracket use the holes the bracket will attach to). Hold a piece of paper over the bracket (board underside) and poke holes where the mounts are. Double-check position and alignment (cf. #1 below).

Holes puched in paper to double-check measurements for baseplate

With holes punched, the distance between them should be;

 - 46mm centre-to-centre

Using at minimum a 2mm drill-bit to match the M2 mounting bolts/screws, this makes the inside edge-to-edge measurement 44mm (or 43mm nominally), with an outside edge-to-edge of 48mm[7] (or 49mm nominally) (cf. below).

Basic measurements for the copper baseplate - 46mm centre-to-centre, 56x56mm

Knowing MXM specific mounting hole size (not the same as typically expected for ATI/AMD graphics cards) and placement the heatsink plate can be drawn relative to the MXM graphics cards overall size and the GPU’s position on the board[8].
Using 2mm thick copper or aluminium plate[9] (1.2mm minimum) and the centre-to-centre mounting hole distance of 46mm, add another 5mm hole-centre to outside edge, making the plate 56mm x 56mm[10] overall (5mm from hole-centre to outside plate edge). This forms the template and should look similar to the image below;

Paper and card templates used to draw/scribe copper baseplate

Once drawn, the MXM heatsink template can be cut out and transferred.
Double-checks measurements after initial layout then cut paper or card template using a craft knife and straightedge or steel ruler. Place on copper or aluminium plate and mark or scribe the baseplates outline and centre-punch the mounting holes [11] (spray-glue may help here).

The basic heatsink baseplate marked on 2mm thick copper plate

Cut to shape and drill mounting holes.
Using a metal cutting saw cut as close to the outside edge of the heatsink as possible (the outer border)[12] to minimise the amount of excess material that needs to be removed. Once cut, confirm the mounting hole centres are clearly punched, drill using a 2mm or 3mm drill-bit for metal[13]. Finish up using a metal file to finalise the shape, remove any heavily scribed lines or marks on the upper surface with wet-n-dry sanding paper or other abrasive.

Cooper (2mm) baseplate scribed, drilled and sized

Clean, de-oxidise and de-grease surfaces.
To make sure the heat-resistant double-sided tape sticks the aluminium heat-sink block and baseplate firmly together clean and de-grease using surface cleaners and/or alcohol[14] – this is critical for lasting adhesion. Apply the tape to the underside of the heatsink block – cut to shape/size and/or trim excess where needed. Centre the block over the plate and press down firmly[15]. The MXM heatsink unit is now ready to install.

The basic MXM cooling unit with aluminium heatsink block and copper baseplate

Installing the custom MXM heat-sink.
The final step is to install the heat-sink unit to the MXM graphics card module. Apply thermal grease to the GPU, alternatively use a silicone thermal pad. Position the heat-sink and fasten using standard M2 bolt/screws – although pressure ensures a tight fit between GPU chip and heat-sink be mindful of gaps that may form when fastening pressure is unevenly applied[16].

The custom made MXM heatsink installed in a HP 800 G1 USDT
Hardware properties of AMD Catalyst in Windows 10

Does the MXM heatsink work?
In a word, yes. Performace boost will differ depending on the module installed but they should generally be greater than embedded GPU chipsets. Unless installing an MXM card to run multiple monitors, the addition of an MXM graphics card does mean the system had two effective graphics units, or rather two GPU's, the MXM module and embedded Intel-based chipset that came with the system. This may cause conflicts (power issues notwithstanding), which can generally be solved disabling the embedded GPU in faviour of the unit on the MXM card.

Why make a heatsink?
Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy a heatsink?. Ordinarily yes, if MXM graphics cards used standard fittings. As they don't nothing off-the-shelf fits; either mounting holes are too far apart or too close together, often by a millimetre or two, or stock heatsinks are too large to fit inside the confines a the USDT case/format, a similar issue as might be found in some server rack units where custom heatsinks need to be made to accommodate and cool server graphics cards.


Footnotes:
[1] although "Type III" MXM graphics cards may physically fit the available MXM motherboard slot, they may not be hardware or Operating system compatible, a condition that might not be discovered until booting up.

[2] metal plate or sheet material for baseplate should be a minimum thickness of 1.2mm to limit distortion and flexing – thicker material can be used but will typically affect ease of production.

[3] heatsink dimensions are largely determined by the height from GPU to underside of the case lid, and reduced width/depth as allowed for access to mounting holes – larger prefabbed heatsinks can be used but will need altering to allow for mounting point access.

[4] thermal tape is often used to ‘stick’ heatsinks to chips mitigating mounting pins and brackets. Success depends explicitly on clean surfaces. Thermal adhesives are not the same as silicon heatsink pads that aid heat transfer between surfaces.

[5] thermal pads made from silicone should be preferred to thermal past as the spongy resistance is used to ‘tension’ the heatsink once mounted instead of springs as might normally be used.

[6] to mount the heatsink itself to the MXM bracket the same type of M2 screws/bolts used in laptops can be used. To mount the MXM card itself to the motherboard MXM mounts M1.6 screws/bolts are needed. These requirements may vary depending on motherboard and card mounting brackets or posts.

[7] as the holes related to M2 threaded bolts/screws they will need to be slightly larger to ensure the mounting bolts have wiggle room if needed to fit the mounting plate. Drilled with a 3mm bit, or a 2mm then expanded using a needle file, either/or subject to availability, this makes the inside edge-to-edge measurement between 44mm (maximum) to 45mm (minimum) – ideally 44.5mm, and/or an outside edge-to-edge of 47mm (minimum) to 48mm (maximum) – ideally 47.5mm.

[8] ] GPU chip placement is not always centred within the space defined by the brocket and holes, or perpendicular to the MXM board edges.

[9] baseplate should be a minimum of 1.2mm thick to minimise flexing when fastened to the MXM mounting bracket.

[10] the size described here is based on defining an area that allows enough room to fully support the mounting holes without undue bending or twisting of the plate (depending on plate thickness and tempering) – the heatsink baseplate could be made large or smaller depending on the space available and/or whether partially or fully covered other onboard chips and modules is possible (they don’t obstruct the baseplate).

[11] it will be easier to mark or scribe around a card version of the template using an indelible pen, fine-line marker, or pointed object. If scribing, initial markings should be light so corrections can be made with relative ease.

[12] depending on the metal used for the base plate, use a powered, ‘junior’ or full-sized hacksaw with metal-cutting blade (teeth close together). To be absolutely sure of mounting hole placement, positioned the MXM card on top of the plate and marked down through the holes double-checking their position relative to those marked. Do this before cutting out the raw baseplate.

[13] drill one hole and double-check the diagonal (e.g. bottom-left to top-right) for placement and accuracy before drilling the opposite corner. To allow some wiggle room, use of a 3mm bit is recommended else holes may be too tight (alternatively a needle file can used to clean up or widen the holes). Countersink holes to de-burr.

[14] for copper plate in particular use Brasso or similar branded or off-brand, mild abrasive, surface cleaner/metal polish before clearing any residue with (isopropyl) alcohol or nail-polish remover.

[15] use a table and once positioned, apply full weight to the unit for a moment to ensure absolutely fast adhesion. Test by checking for any play or wiggle – if tape comes unstuck the surfaces would not properly cleaned and prepared.

[16] ideally fasteners should be spring loaded in that a long bolt is fastened to the mounting bracket under the MXM board which is then tensioned by the presence of compression springs. Unfortunately, these types of fittings are not readily available for MXM cards so the use of silicon thermal pads is recommended to provide adequate thermal transfer and compressive resistance to the downward pressure of the fixings that are used.

Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card module upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 06:52:17 PM »
To update this topic on making a custom heatsink for a proprietary MXM card (grrrr). The initial version, whilst it worked, was limited in a number of ways that meant once the card starts to cycle up, the heat dissipation couldn't properly take advantage of the rear case fan. A design that could do this was needed.

So version two, a copper plate (a little larger than version one) was utilised extending the base closer to the fan, onto which a set of 0.2mm copper fins were bonded (heat resistant epoxy putty). Each fin plate was bent around a 2mm stainless steel plate making the overall width approx. 3mm. A series of these were bonding c.5mm from one another. The end result worked better that the first but the fins had contact issues due to using epoxy putty, which caused gapping and uneven transitions from plate to fins. So, another version was made bonded with resin epoxy.

Version two of the MXM heat sink extended the copper base so one side of the 0.2mm dissipation fins were next to the rear case fan for more direct air flow.

Version three was an improvement to version two, taking the same basic principle and extending it a little, slightly modified base and more fins bonded using a heat resistant resin-based epoxy with a slightly longer set time to allow in-place adjustments.

A simple but more stable bending rig was use (clamps and bench rig rather than using fingers to manually bend plate) to shape the copper blanks around a 2mm precision-ground tool-steel blank (hardened steel so it won't bend). This gave each fin much sharper bottom edges. Once fins are shaped they're bonded into place propped up with a steel set-square to ensure reasonable squared-ness whilst the epoxy sets (shorter fins are cut and formed to accommodate bracket screws in the corners of the plate).

Once installed into the machine a makeshift cowl was made from corrugated cardboard that fit over the entire heatsink, end butting up to the rear case fan to force airflow the the tunnel this creates and over the dissipation fins. Works surprisingly well considering (not shown below).

Copper dissipation bending rig for the 0.2mm fins - copper sheet bent around 2mm precision-ground tool-steel blank.

Fins propped-up whilst epoxy sets hard enough for it to support weight of fins. Set-square ensures they stand upright, match-sticks to fix the distance (which just happened to be the right tool for the job).

Final custom built MXM heatsink installed (sans cardboard cowl). Spring-tension that keeps the plate in place for good heat transfer is created using 1mm silicon thermal pad between chip and heatsink base.

Offline kat

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MXM graphics troubleshooting/compatibility
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 11:07:06 AM »
Speaking strictly of the HP 800 G1 USDT which includes an MXM Type-A socket for an MX module, not all MXM graphics boards appear to be compatible with the system, in other words, while most MXM Type-A boards might be the correct form factor (size and socket fit), they may not actually work. Typically failure will be due to a power shortage or a system BIOS or MXM module firmware incompatibility.

Power Adapter
To use an MXM graphics card a 180 watt (PN: 600082-001) or 230 watt  (PN: 609946-001) AC power adapter is required as the default PSU, rated at 135 watts or less, does not supply enough to the system once an MXM board is installed (on boot the machine will power up, beep and power off without displaying anything on screen). Note: as both adapter were system accessories they are now obsolete and no longer manufactured or available from HP.

BIOS/Firmware
For an MXM graphics card to work at all in the USDT a system BIOS upgrade may be necessary. Before doing so however, the module should be slotted into place to check the current BIOS can be accessed or is functional (unplug from mains and drain residual power from system beforehand) - after a board is installed the system may boot to Windows/Linux, and be usable, without displaying any prompts or BIOS being accessible. Should this happen try resetting the BIOS pressing the CMOS button in the middle of the system motherboard and rebooting. If this nothing changes a 'battery pull' may be necessary to completely hard reset/wipe the CMOS/BIOS - remove motherboard battery for at least 20 seconds and replace (ensure to unplug from mains power and press the power button for at least 20 seconds to drain any residual current before pulling the battery), power up with MXM board installed, a 'reset' message should appear providing instructions with corrective steps to follow, BIOS (should) then be accessible.

Quote
IMPORTANT: if the BIOS is not accessible and/or the MXM board does not show in the BIOS it is likely the graphics card is not compatible and will remain inoperable regardless of BIOS settings used (UEFI vs Legacy - for some cards these options may need to be switched prior to installing the card else the BIOS may not be accessible for changes after-the-fact) or Windows drivers installed.

Some boards may be subject to to more difficulties during installation despite messaging to the contrary on the Internet; a 'Dell' identified card may not work correctly, if at all, in an 'HP' machine and vice versa. Unfortunately there is no way to determine this beforehand without purchase and install attempt.

Compatible MXM Modules
The following is a list of TYPE-A MXM modules that fit the MXM slot of the HP USDT (important: some users attest to certain cards working whilst others say the same cards don't so some caution should be exercised when purchasing an MXM graphics card upgrade);

AMD (ATI)
- Firepro M5950
- Firepro M4000
- Firepro M5100
- Firepro W5130M*
- Firepro W5170M*
- Firepro S4000X*

nVidia
- Quadro M520M*
- Quadro M620M*
- Quadro M1200M
- Quadro M2000M (M2xxxM)
- Quadro K1100M

(items marked * are less common than other MXM cards listed)

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 05:09:00 AM »
Hi... I am new here. I just want to thank you. I have been looking for solutions to upgrade my graphic card and so far you have given the best detailed info.

Today I ordered a 230w power supply. I already have the vga card. I have been trying to find solutions to the heat sink and I guess I will have to make one.

One question I have is did you reverse the fan next to the vga to have air blowing on it or did you leave it as is?

Thanks again... thanks to your effort I haven't given up yet.   ; )

Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 08:55:50 AM »
A 'cheap' way to solve the problem of maintaining airflow is to 'cowl' the entire heatsink... so continuing in the spirit of cobbling together a custom heatsink like it's as easy as grilling cheese-on-toast, a cover was made from corrugated cardboard (Amazon parcel cardboard to be exact) that covers the heatsink down to the board on either side, and that snuggly fits against the rear fan casing - of course if you had access to a 3D printer you could manufacture one that way (might have to consider static build-up using plastic though). The result is quite effective as the fans (front and back) are not changed and airflow is properly (relatively speaking) directed across the copper fins. The only time this has 'failed' is when the system spins up due to some program error that causes both CPU and GPU to escalate to the point of forcing a hard shutdown.

Don't have a photo to hand but next time the case is opened I'll snap and post one for reference. Good to see a fellow heatsink cobbler BTW!

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2021, 02:03:26 AM »
Hi again,
I am pleased to see this thread is still alive. Nice to meet you. For now my solution is to use an old asus p4p800 se heat sink. It fits nicely inside the case and looks a bit like your first attempt (the black heat sink). I just have one problem and that is fifuring out how I will anchor it to the motherboard. I will have to go see a machinist to lathe custom screws with a special hook. I'll try to upload pics when I have everything together.

I tried to find copper plates like you, but here in Thailand some things are harder to come by than back home : (

I love this little computer and upgraded the cpu to a 4 ghz and it rocks. I figure once I get the vga sorted this comp will be good to go for quite a few years still.

I am curious and I know you must know the answer... once I upgrade the vga do I still keep the 3 monitor option?

I am very curious to see your cooling system and once again thanks. It is nice tk meet someone with like minded intetests.

Thankd

Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2021, 08:15:16 AM »
If you can't get copper try aluminium plate, that should be easier to get hold of in your locale especially if you have access to a machinist - they usually have billets of the stuff and/or lots of waste or offcuts they may shape down for you - aim for 1 mm thick as absolute minimum you don't want to go below (bends under pressure), 1.5 mm - 2 mm being optimal minimum.

When using unmodified screws make sure to place a silicon pad between chip and plate instead of paste as this provides some upward compression tension and tolerance for any uneven downward pressure from the mounting screws (2 mm dia. 10 mm long iirc) - you might be able to jury-rigged screws if they long enough to include springs, although this might mean using washers to 'cap' the screws against which the springs push. Will (again) post a pic next time the case is open.

You'll need to keep the onboard Intel graphics subsystem active when running multiple monitors as the Display Port outputs are split between the discreet card and onboard Intel. Don't know if it'll run three using VGA output at the same time.

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2021, 03:45:50 AM »
I got you about the machine shop. I went to a shop that sells metal last week... and they had brass plate about 2 mm thick. I checked the heat transfer index and it is about half of that of copper and about 1/3 that of aluminum. It is difficult here (in Thailand) to find what I could easily find back in Canada. Things here are REALLY backwards.

I accidentally dropped my vga card and one of the metal cooling chips 'chipped' so I tried to fasten it back with epoxy that resists up to 150 Celsius. Damn! I read that a GPU will go up to 37 celsius so I guess it might work... but still won't know until I get the power supply I ordered from Israel on ebay...

I ordered 2 other gpu's from aliexpress in case I get butter fingers again. I have 3 elite desk computers as I bought them for a good price and I am really looking forward to seeing if I can get the vga to work.

Cheers and thanks for keeping this thread alive... will update you as it goes and I will try to send photos as I progress.

BTW can I ask you what this website is about?
I was lucky to find your post and then I joined up and started reading what guys here are talking about. Seems like a 3D blog website... All I know is that it is interesting even if most of what the guys talk about here seems like alien talk... lol

Regards



Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2021, 09:27:30 AM »
Glues, cements, sticky stuff used directly on the cards or chips needs to resist high temperatures so the epoxy should work under normal conditions -keep in mind though that unprotected, the GPU chip will get hot enough to burnout in a few seconds, and by 'burn out' that's 'catch fire if you're not careful'! Make sure the part you stuck back on doesn't have any electrical conduits otherwise that card is likely shot.

As for brass ,yes its not ideal but it's good enough to prototype if it's all you can get, it will at least allow creation of the base plate to check fit and finish and act as a template when you can get hold of some copper or aluminium plate.

KatsBits is basically an educational community for creating custom content for games but other topics, such as this one on making custom MXM heat sinks, are sometimes discussed because it's computer or IT related and there's little to no information available anywhere else.

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2021, 05:48:28 AM »
Hi again,
I've been meaning to ask you how you got your fins to stick. I think, from what I can gather, that you used epoxy?.?.?

Or did you solder them? Thanks for the heads up about the epoxy... I was wondering about that. I won't be able to test until I get my power supply.

Cheers

Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 09:04:01 AM »
The original design with the standard heatsink was stuck using heat-resistant 3M tape - it's used for high capacitance LED's iirc so can withstand high temperatures. The copper fins were fixed using high-temp resistance slow-set epoxy (up to 260° C) - 'QuickSteel' brand (not an endorsement obviously but what was used), but any such epoxy should work in lieu of having the necessary soldering skills!

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2021, 05:50:38 AM »
Hi again...
Will try to find the epoxy. Should get my power supply today or tomorrow so I will have the possibility to continue experimenting.

I will know if the epoxy on my broken vga card will flame up or not  ; ).

I plan to use a pentium 4 cpu heatsink as a temporary heatsink to check if everything is compatible. Will post with updates...
Cheers

Offline Polo

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2021, 05:36:30 AM »
Yesterday I put in the AMD vga card and the computer booted well. I put my Asus temporary heatsink on and all went well. I dowloaded and installed the AMD drivers and control panel. It worked well.

But... However... the AMD gpu only works for one screen. The other screen is run by the onboard gpu. I turned off the onboard gpu and only one screen worked on the amd card. Any idea how to remedy this?

Anyways sorry to have changed the topic here a bit. The new power supply is a charm and I now have very good motivation to find the missing copper/aluminum plate.  BTW i did a benchmark test on the new card and I only gained 4fps on average for the AMD 7560 a card...

Better than nothing.    ; )

Offline kat

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Re: MXM graphics card upgrade (heatsink)
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2021, 07:57:46 AM »
According to the Elitedesk 800's manual, each port is essentially assigned a graphics processor but their output can be swapped per Windows display personalisation settings - you can't run both display port outputs from the MXM board. However, when using a MXM board boot messages are shown to whatever monitor is plugged into the upper display port (although they can be swapped in BIOS iirc).

As for the FPS, you might only get a marginal boost but you will at least being using a dedicated unit to drive the connected monitors output - the 7560 is technically comparable to the Intel's 4th gen CPU's with embedded graphics - check the list above if you want a boost.

 

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