Category Archives: Tech Stuff

MateBook X Pro Bottom Creaking Fix

The Problem

The bottom of the Huawei MateBook X Pro makes a creaking or squeaking noise when you lift the laptop by a bottom corner.

The Cause

The noise is not caused by the laptop’s body but by the crinkling of the battery’s wrapping. You are exerting pressure on the battery area, slightly bending the bottom panel and pressing the battery.

The Solution

Warning: this will most likely void your warranty. You are liable for any damage to your device.

Peeling off the battery wrapping gets rid of the noise. To do this, you should first remove the big heatsink plate so that you can gently disconnect the battery from the motherboard.

Improving MateBook X Pro’s Speakers

Measurements in Stock Form

The MateBook X Pro has some of the best speakers on any ultrabook, but they’re not perfect. As you can see from this graph (the brown line is the frequency response), they sound a bit bright and lack bass. The bass mostly extends to about 200Hz but my desk gave it another resonance down at 135Hz.

The brown line is the frequency response, and the others are the harmonic distortion levels.

You can refer to this graph to adjust your equalizer setting in the Dolby app. You can also right click and download my Room EQ Wizard file to generate an equalizer setting for Equalizer APO.

Audio Drivers

Switching to generic Microsoft audio drivers in Device Manager makes the sound absolutely fecal. This leads me to suspect that basic but apparently necessary processing (such as coordinating between the pairs of tweeters and woofers) occurs in the Realtek drivers provided by Huawei (through Windows Update or otherwise).

Distortion Problem and Possible Fix

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Eliminating MateBook X Pro Power Limit Throttling

Here are some steps you can take to unlock more performance from the Huawei MateBook X Pro by removing thermal and power limitations.

Disclaimer: You are liable for any damage you make to your device.

[SW] Undervolt

Benefits: Make the CPU and iGPU run at a voltage no higher than it needs to. The processor will generate less heat and therefore throttle less. It may also save power.

  1. Install the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. Open it.
  2. Set the Core Voltage Offset to -0.080V. Let the Cache Voltage Offset sync with it.
  3. Use the CPU Stress Test to test the stability. If it passes the stress test, lower the Core Voltage Offset by 0.010V.
  4. Repeat the above step until you get a Blue Screen of Death. When you do, raise the offset by 0.005V.
  5. Test again to see if the new voltage is stable. Find the lowest stable voltage.
  6. Use the same method for the Processor Graphics Voltage Offset, but start at -0.050V.
  7. I reached a stable setting of -0.100V core and -0.050V graphics. You should get something similar.
For hardware modifications, refer to my MateBook X Pro teardown. You should also have some kind of anti-static protection.

[HW] Streamline the Fan Exhaust

Benefits: The hot air should exit more efficiently from the laptop body.

  1. Tape up the gap between the fan and the black, plastic, diffuser-like part that also houses the WiFi antenna.

[HW] Replace the CPU Thermal Paste

Benefits: The CPU’s heat will dissipate to the heatsink at a higher rate, so it will run cooler. The temperature drop will be crucial for preventing thermal throttling in the later stages.

  1. Take off the laptop’s bottom lid.
  2. Take off the heatsink.
  3. Disconnect the battery.
  4. Clean the thermal paste off the CPU and heatsink.
  5. Reapply better thermal paste.
    • I recommend Thermal Grizzly Kyronaut for its high thermal conductivity (12.5W/mK) and low viscosity (130-170Pas).
    • I don’t recommend liquid metal thermal paste for this laptop because it may corrode the heatsink and cause performance degradation over time.

[HW] Replace the dGPU Thermal Pad

Benefits: The GPU will run cooler and Nvidia’s GPU Boost 3.0 will boost its frequency higher.

  1. Replace the thermal pad on the Nvidia MX150 chip with a better one. Its thickness should be around 0.5mm, since that’s the thickness of the original.
    • I recommend the TGX series by T-Global Technology for its high thermal conductivity (12W/mK) and softness (65 Shore 00). You can get it on DigiKey.com.
    • I no longer recommend Fujipoly thermal pads because they are hard and get super brittle after being heated. Therefore, although they have very high thermal conductivity on paper, they make poor contact with the chip and heatsink.

[HW] Add Thermal Pads to the CPU VRM

Benefits: This prevents the CPU power-related components from overheating and causing the laptop to shut down when power limits are lifted in the subsequent steps.

  1. Cut 0.5mm thermal pads to size and put them on the grey inductors.
  2. Cut 1.5mm thermal pads to size and cover them over the tiny resistors.
    • I recommend Arctic thermal pads for their supreme softness (25 Shore 00), which is extremely important for ensuring contact with these irregular-height components, and by far the best thermal conductivity for thermal pads of this softness.

[SW] Remove Intel DPTF

Benefits: The Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework limits the maximum power of the CPU to 10W under sustained load. This mechanism is known as power throttling. Removing Intel DPTF eliminates this limitation and allows you to raise the power limits in XTU so that the CPU can sustain much higher frequencies for much longer.

  1. Download and install this registry file to add a Context Menu shortcut to acquire full Admin ownership of a system folder.
  2. Go to C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore.
  3. Right click on the FileRepository folder and click “Acquire Admin Ownership“. A Command Prompt window should automatically run to give you the permission to perform the following steps.
  4. Find the folders whose names start with “dptf_acpi.inf_amd64“, “dptf_cpu.inf_amd64“, and “esif_manager.inf_amd64“. Create 3 empty folders in another location with the same names.
  5. Disconnect your laptop from the internet.
  6. Open Device Manager and uninstall all devices whose names start with “Intel(R) Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework“.
  7. Copy the 3 empty folders that you created to C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.
  8. For each of those folders you just pasted in:
    1. Go to PropertiesSecurity, then Advanced.
    2. Click Disable Inheritance.
    3. Confirm all the subsequent prompts.
  9. Reconnect your laptop to the internet.
  10. Remember that this process still needs to be repeated after a Windows version update.

[SW] XTU Settings

Benefits: Allow the CPU to boost with more power and for longer (indefinitely!).

[SW] ThrottleStop Settings

Benefits:

Changelog

May 10

I replaced the CPU thermal paste with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut and the GPU thermal pad with 0.5mm Fujipoly XR-m. These should give me more thermal headroom, but I didn’t check the temperatures in stock form beforehand, so I have no comparison.

May 15

The MateBook X Pro’s CPU throttles to ~10W under sustained load. Intel XTU and HWiNFO report that this is Power Limit throttling, specifically PL1, which is set to 10W by default.

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MateBook X Pro Touchpad Rattle Fix

If your Huawei MateBook X Pro’s touchpad is loose and rattles when you tap on it, try sticking a piece of paper between the touchpad and the frame. You might not need to remove the battery like I did, but if you do, the heatsink plate has to come off first, which is a hassle. You do NOT need to take out the touchpad itself to perform this mod.

Matebook X Pro Teardown

Must-know for disassembly: unlike the MateBook X, there are no screws under the rubber feet. Instead, there are many plastic tabs that hold the back plate firm.

  1. Unscrew the screws.
  2. Use a guitar pick or similar tool to feel, locate, and lift the tabs.
  3. Pull the hinge side of the back plate first.
  4. No need to be gentle with the middle tab—it’s spring loaded.
  5. The tabs near the touchpad side like to be slid out.

The back cover has many foam pads that press against the internals.

The only heatsink in this laptop is this big metal plate. In most laptops, a fan or two blow directly through a heatsink with many fins. In the X Pro, heat spreads across the metal plate with the heatpipes’ help, warming up all the air inside the laptop. The small fan exhausts all this hot air and brings in new cool air using negative air pressure.

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HE400i EQ: Back to Basics

Introduction

After a year of listening to my HE400i with the previous equalizer settings I made, I decided to use a less aggressive version that only corrects the obnoxious treble peaks and compensates for the sub-bass deficiency.

Measurements and Correction

As always, the greatest appreciation goes to Solderdude at diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com. Just like last time, the measurements come straight from Solderdude’s home-made measuring rid, which I find exceedingly accurate. Check out his measurement methodology here and join the conversation at the DIYAH forum.

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