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Replacing a laptop fan - anything I need to watch out for?

I’m pretty sure I can do this on my own with a replacement part and a screwdriver, but just checking to see if anyone knows any pitfalls that I need to watch out for.

I’ve had my MSI gaming laptop (it’s a GE60 Apache) for a few years, since like 2014-15…the fan started making a horrible grinding noise and based on some googling it’s likely it’s wearing out, but I’m not sure how or why.

It looks pretty easy to replace, three screws and two cables. I’ve found some replacements online with my specific model listed but they have all seem to have one power cable. I suspect the second cable on my current grinding fan is for the “turbo fan” setting, so I think I can replace it with one that just uses the one cable and just not be able to use the “turbo” setting.

Any advice from people who actually know what they’re doing?

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There’s a page showing a GE60 breakdown here but it looks like the model they’re using for the photos has a fan with just one three-pin power cable.

While not for this model Ive done this a bit on thinkpads; and in a past life was a apple certified technician who worked on a few apple laptops.

I dont know your comfort level with opening up a laptop/computer so forgive me if some this is old hat , but usual static wrist strap warnings apply ; if you dont have or don’t plan to use an anti-static wrist strap you sould ground yourself beforehand to eliminate static electricity. Before opening a machine is always a good idea to do this. Mostly for your laptop’s safety. Also make sure to follow this take apart’s instructions about disconnecting the power and battery before opening the laptop.

If you have a step by step take apart guide you should be good. Have a system for keeping track of the screws and go slow if this is your first time diving this deep into your laptop internals.

There ought to be a layer of thermal paste between the fan/heatsink combo and the CPU. You might be able to order the fan & coper bits with thermal paste pre applied. Ive found lots of those lying around on ebay for various thinkpads before. That sort of thing make its breaze.

Just be careful not to touch the thermal paste with your dirty human flesh hands. If you do your supposed to clean the thermal paste off with rubbing alcohol and reapply the thermal paste. It’s not toxic, but the oils of your skin can muck with the effectiveness of the thermal paste. Ive been a dufus more than once and mucked it up. Thermal paste is cheap and easy to apply.

I do advise having some thermal paste around in case you need to reapply or in case you cant get the new fan running and want to return to the old fan for a bit and regroup.

Im kind of fond of recommending Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste as it’s cheap, easily found online, very highly rated in terms of thermal transfer, and it is also not conductive. If you get a little sloppy with conductive thermal paste you can accidentally bridge circuits in your laptop which ought not be connected. Zero risk of that with non conductive paste no matter how sloppy you get.

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Thanks very much for responding and for the advice! I will make sure to ground myself. I have done computer repair so infrequently that basic reminders are very helpful.

Later MSI laptops seem to have those copper heatsink strips integrated to the fan, but it looks like in mine the fan is not in one unit with the heatsink strips (cf. the photos on the breakdown page with the fan in and the next one with the fan removed). I’ll check carefully next time I take it apart to see if it’s directly contacting the copper strips and needs to have thermal paste reapplied…

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Ah there you go! Your likely good to go then.

The last few laptops ive done like that they were unified, or getting at one really necessitated the removal of the other.

Based on this take apart guide, this MSI honestly was put together to make the fan rather serviceable. Im used to having to rip through much more of a laptop apart to get at it.

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@malatesta did you ever get that laptop fan replaced?

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I did! Ordered a replacement online and did it myself. It was pretty simple and straightforward and seems to be working pretty well. Replacing my keyboard was way harder.

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