18 months ago I bought a demo/b-stock HP TouchSmart IQ810de at an incredible low price at computeroutlet.nl, looking forward to use the touch interface etc. It was loaded with legal Windows 7 32-bit and in the shop it worked fine, except maybe for the calibration of the touchscreen. But hey, I would fix that at home, right?
At home I discovered that no HP software was pre-installed and that multi-touch was very instable after installing the HP software from the support site.
So I installed all the drivers, updates etc. from that site and things seemed to work nicely. But it isn’t my main machine and I used it intermittendly. So it took me a long time to realize there was a pattern in the crashes I was experiencing every now and then.
First I thought the harddrive was flaky, but after replacing it with another drive (and reinstalling everything….) it would continue to crash now and then. Then I figured it was the memorychips, and I took out one stick at a time to test this hypothesis, but it continued to crash, even though the HP diagnostics and load testing tools reported no problems with the memory modules. So finally it dawned on me that, because the crashes occured after using the machine for a couple of hours, it all might be related to thermal problems.
So yesterday I finally had the time and courage to open up the back completely and investigate the heatsinks of the CPU, GPU and chipset. By the way, taking off the back was not as daunting as I first thought. All screws are accesible without a problem, except for the ones along the back edges, which are hidden by easily removable plastic strips (start at the bottom to remove them). Taking the back off took some 20 minutes.
Unscrewing the heatsinks showed the problem immediately: completely dried out thermal paste, so the heatsinks weren’t making contact with the chips. Ouch HP, that’s pretty bad for a 2 year old machine. But easily solved with a bit of thermal paste. Putting it all back together took another 20 minutes.
I’m so happy I finally did this, it’s been running for hours now without a problem. Playing BlueRay discs, 15 youtube movies at the same time, doing loadtest with PC Doctor etc.. And I also installed all the software and drivers again, with Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium to fully use the installed 4Gb.
Oh yeah, multi-touch works very well now, especially after I recalibrated it with a hidden feature I found somewhere online:
- click on the desktop
- hit Scroll-lock five times.
- touch the mouse cursor whereever it goes on the screen (four spots)
- wow, very accurate now
- I also cleaned the sensors along the edges of the display with a Q-tip (no fluids)