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Punch Card
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-05-2019
Location: US
Views: 160
Message 1 of 5

X120e Persistant CPU Overheating

Cpu is AMD e 350


1.) CPU running hot 98-100 and shutting down

2.) Display has stopped working at proper brightness. You can barely see it, but not enough to use it. it is not blank. And it can be pushed to external monitor through hdmi or vga ports and  Fn F7.


Brief background- I bought new way back, gave to daughter soon after and she has power use it for many years. OS = win7

She started having issues about a year ago with display and with random shutdowns. display finally gave out so she kept it hooked up to TV through extenal hdmi.

Shutdowns got worse, she took it in to a couple places, fixes did not work. she finally retired it and I gave her a laptop I had recently bought. ( mmm... I see a pattern there. another story, sorry )


I got it and decided to take a look at it.

I broke it down, found out one of the repair places decided to wad up aluminum foil, and wedge it on top of the heat sink. Apparently to help dissapate heat. But what it did was make it worse by blocking the incoming airflow. 

I removed that. It also looked like they gobbed a bunch of thermal paste ontop of the old original.

I removed all of that, cleaned it down to copper and cpu. and put a small spot back on it.

blew out all of the airducts, checked an to make sure it worked, and put it all back together.

Moved the single ram stick into the correct slot for only one.


Now, it stays running a liitle longer, but still gets hot and shuts down. heat sink is in good contact, air ducts all clean, and fan pushing air. Not sure now what is causing problem. I even replaced the original win7 hdd it came with and put in a ssd I had and loaded linux mint xfce to lighten the load.


I did see another post on her regarding overheating and X120e where someone replaced the motherboad and it fixed the problem. I ordered a replacement board from ebay. But if anyone would care to share, I am interested in any suggestions for possible solutions to this issue. And, I know this laptop has long aged out, but I will post if the replacement board solves the problem, or if this thing goes to the electron recycler.



Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 3,380
Registered: ‎12-01-2007
Location: US
Views: 130
Message 2 of 5

Re: X120e Persistant CPU Overheating



I don't have my ThinkPad X120e with me right now, but I do recall that it ran very hot.  When I replaced the thermal paste on it, I thoroughly cleaned both the heat sink and the CPU slug so that the old paste was completely removed and none of it was visible anymore, and used a high-quality thermal paste (like Arctic Silver 5, Thermal Grizzly Kyronaut, etc.) applied in a very thin layer on top of the CPU.  I also rubbed some thermal paste into the heatsink while wearing disposible gloves and then removed it so there would be just a little bit left to help fill any microscopic imperfections in the surface of the heatsink so there wouldn't be any tiny gaps blocking the radiation of heat away from the processor.


Did you check to see that the heat sink and the CPU were making good contact with each other?  I am wondering if during the "tin foil job" the repair company might have deformed the heat sink.




Aryeh Goretsky


I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

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Punch Card
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-05-2019
Location: US
Views: 106
Message 3 of 5

Re: X120e Persistant CPU Overheating


Thank you for this input. I did remove all old pastefrom both heatsing and cpu. And the heatsink did look in good condition, except for the super excess of thermal paste defeating the purpose of it. Did not rub it in by hand, but I did put about an 1/8" pebble size of arctic silver on the cpu, and seated the copper heatsink on the cpu well before I srcewed it down. felt it was a good connection. 

However, after looking back over the data I logged when I booted back up, I notice the fan rpm seems very low. At the time, I was focused on the temps, and knew the fan was working. But I reviewing that data after my original post. I noticed that the rpm was only in the 400's range. As hot as it was getting I would think the rpms should be more than that. I will see if I can find a specification on what that rpm should be. Fan may be slow and going bad, or fan speed circut on the board.

The quest continues

Punch Card
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎07-13-2018
Location: US
Views: 92
Message 4 of 5

Re: X120e Persistant CPU Overheating

I had the same model (it's still in the family) and I, too, remember it as running rather hot.  Question--do you run TPFC on it, or any other fan control software?


A number of years ago I was using my X120e to take the bar exam, and that required running a piece of software for test-taking that took over many of the functions of the machine (so as to prevent cheating).  One of the things it did interacted with TPFC, and I discovered a couple of hours into the exam that my fan wasn't running at all.


I was able to fix during a break, but scary.


The fact that your machine is having what sounds like multiple problems with heating suggests that it may go beyond the CPU.  If memory serves, the X120e uses a chip that integrates CPU and graphics, so it's possible that the bad news is that the chip either (1) has been damaged by heat already, or (2) is overheating because the chip is going bad.


One thing you can do with software like TPFC is to adjust the fan speed--try cranking it way up.  IIRC, TPFC will also tell you the temperature of several components.  That might help you to localize the problem.


As a final thought--look for software that loads at startup.  You may have things going on in the background that are eating a lot of CPU cycles. 

Punch Card
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-05-2019
Location: US
Views: 80
Message 5 of 5

Re: X120e Persistant CPU Overheating


Thanks for the reply. I do not currently have TPFC installed. I wonder though if you may be on to something though with,

".. If memory serves, the X120e uses a chip that integrates CPU and graphics, so it's possible that the bad news is that the chip either (1) has been damaged by heat already, or (2) is overheating because the chip is going bad. "

I wonder if that is also what caused the display issue. That would make sense. Well I have a replacement board and fan coming. I will replace and see if that does it. in for a penny, in for a pound now. If I can get it going, I will use it for a weather station logging project I am thinking about. If not, it was some fairly inexpensive entertainment. Thanks for the input

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