Here is my step-by-step tear down guide for the Acer 3830TG-6431.
Disclaimer: Opening your laptop in this way will likely void your warranty. It is very easy to damage one of the small cables/connectors and make your laptop inoperable. I am providing this information as-is and I am not responsible for any damage/mayhem you may cause if you try to follow along at home. I have done most of the documentation from memory- so I may have missed a screw/plug/etc. If you are experienced in working on laptops, use your common sense when you are following this. If you have never opened up a laptop before, I would advise that you do not start on this one as there are several awkward cable placements- and several easy to damage plugs.
With this in mind, it is time to get into the gutty-works of the laptop:
1. Remove the single screw in the center and remove the bottom plate of the laptop
2. Remove the following from inside the laptop
a. Hard Drive
b. SATA board connector for Hard Drive
c. Mini-PCIe Wireless Card. The two wires are mini-coax and should snap on/off without much effort.
3. Disconnect the battery switch connector cable from the motherboard
4. Remove the eleven (11) 2.5mm x 7 screws from the bottom of the laptop
5. Use a plastic pry tool (see recommended tools at the end of this post) to carefully release the snaps around the edges. This will free the top cover containing the keyboard
6. Slowly separate the top of the laptop from the bottom; there will be 5 cables to disconnect before the two parts can be separated:
a. Power Switch connector
b. Trackpad connector
c. Keyboard connector
d. Bluetooth connector
e. I/O board connector
All but the Bluetooth are ribbon cables and can be pulled out (or clip retention released). The Bluetooth connector is a keyed connector and it should be carefully removed so the wires are not pulled from their socket.
7. Disconnect the left and right speaker connectors from the motherboard. These are keyed sockets and very small and easy to break.
8. Disconnect the display connector. Pull the connector straight up- do not attempt to pry this from the side as this can damage the connector.
9. Remove the one screw from the motherboard and the four screws holding in the battery bracket. (The motherboard is beneath the battery bracket)
10. Lift the front edge of the motherboard up to expose the connectors at the rear of the board (close to batteries).
11. Remote the three connectors:
a. Power connector
b. Battery connector
c. Daughter board connector
Note: The battery connector is also accessible from the bottom of the system.
12. Remove the motherboard from the chassis
13. Disconnect the CPU fan connector
14. Remove the two (2) screws in the NVidia GPU heat sink area and the four (4) screws over the CPU area.
Note: The four numbers on the heat sink are the tightening order sequence for re-installing the CPU heat sink. The numbers are opposite corners so to prevent over stressing one side and damaging the CPU core. I would also suggest doing a gradual tightening in rotation to further ensure the CPU is not damaged. For example:
Just barley start screws in sequence #1-4
Go back and tighten 1-4 in sequence to about half way
Go back again and snug screws 1-4 in sequence
Finally go back and fully tighten screws 1-4 (yep- in sequence).
This is a picture of the factory applied thermal compound. It doesn't look like they used the good stuff:
15. VERY IMPORTANT: clean off all of the old CPU compound before applying new thermal compound- from both the CPU and the heatsink!
PCB flux cleaner is great to get off troublesome thermal paste (found at Fry’s)
16. Make sure the tacky pads contacting the Chipset Processor, the GPU RAM and the chokes around the CPU don’t have any dirt/junk in them. This could affect the heat transfer from these systems to the heat sink could cause damage/failure over time.
17. Once your new thermal paste is applied, do everything in reverse to put the system back together.Here is a reference picture of the bottom of the system board:
This is the laptop bottom chassis with the system board removed; daughter board is still in-place:
This is a detail shot of the battery power switch and the Mini-PCIe WiFi card:
You will probably notice that the wire and connector from the battery power switch is missing. I did not find this connector until I was into removing the system board- and the connector didn’t come out correctly. Hindsight is always 20/20 and that is why step #3 is included above.
The system board power connector is pretty small- and almost impossible to deconstruct as Asus has added glue to the back of the connector (I am assuming this is to prevent possible terminal end pull-out from the housing?). It took me about an hour to get the cables stripped, tinned and the terminal ends out of the housing. It took another 30 minutes to get the damned little thing back together and soldered.
After all was done, one of the solder points broke from the switch board after the system was put back together. I was not going to take the laptop apart again to fix. I ended up stripping a length of wire and shorting the connection on the board inside the connector (and covering with electrical tape); this connector is so small that even the micro-sized hard drive jumpers are too large to fit inside the connector!
In review, I do think the laptop is running cooler. I did not take an accurate measurement before, but the system seems fees not as warm during normal use. I have even had the cooling fan switch off for 15-20 min at a time- and event that never occurred prior to replacing the thermal paste! :)
You will need a small screw driver and some plastic pry tools, such as these:
A plastic spudger tool is also invaluable for this kind of work: