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Cooling VRM in small laptop

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New Member
Sep 20, 2016

I have been killing myself for the past few months trying to cool the voltage regulator module (VRM) on my overly slim Dell 9550 laptop. The temperature sensor in the VRM area throttles the system very quickly and I think by cooling a bit we can bump up performance significantly as the CPU, GPU, and power consumption are all fine.

The laptop is incredibly small and there is just no airflow inside the case around the VRM. Looking for some creative ideas.

For background, the VRM is located at the bottom of the laptop at the back side roughly between the F6 and F9 keys. There are 6 tiny MOSFETS and 6 chokes that all get very hot.

- The case bottom is located just below the VRM

- Just to the back side of the VRM (eg perpendicular to the bottom case) is a ventilated aluminum grill that is about 1cm high and runs the entire width of the laptop. That is where the two fans exhaust out of. However, the vents behind the VRM are sealed with foam presumably so the laptop does not suck in hot exhaust.

Some ideas:

1. I tried 6 thermal pads between the chokes and the case bottom, but they made the case bottom and keyboard very hot very quickly. Fail.

2. I am thinking of building some type of simple detachable external fan solution.

a- For air intake, I thought about drilling a small ~2cm diameter hole in the bottom of the laptop just below the VRM and protecting that with some type of mesh.

b- For air exhaust, I would remove some foam from the vertical ventilated aluminum grill behind the VRM.

c- Maybe prop up the back part of the laptop 1cm with a round piece of solid rubber that runs the width of the laptop. That would provide room to place a small fan and could prevent the fan from sucking in hot exhaust from the back. There is already a rubber strip running underneath the laptop (for stability and to prevent the 2 fans from sucking in hot exhaust) so this could just interface with a concave surface...

d- Then attach a simple laptop 90-degree blower fan underneath. Idea is the fan pulls air from the fan's rectangular side "intake" and blows air up the fan's round top "exhaust" into the laptop. Thinking easy removal and can be powered via USB port.

Major issue - can't find a blower fan that intakes from the side and blows out the top. Do they exist?

Any comments, ideas or recommendations?

Much appreciated!!!