I followed this guide to replace the thermal paste and clean dust from the heat sinks. That reduced my idle CPU temperature by about 12 degrees Celsius. My cinebench r15 CPU score increased from ~350 to ~450 after waiting the thermal paste break in period. Most noticeably, after replacing the thermal paste and removing dust in the heat sinks, my computer runs much quieter under load. Chrome doesn't make my fans spin up any more!
When I opened the heat sink off the cpu and gpu, it was obvious it needs replacing. So much old dried crusty paste. And I'm too not sure they did a good job with the paste when manufactured.
Done on a ~6.5 year old MacBook Pro 15” late 2011 with the 2670qm CPU (the base model). I used MX-4 thermal paste, which did great on a Tom's hardware thermal paste benchmark. I intend to keep this laptop as long as I can :)
Good luck on your repair and go slowly! Read the comments for each step to avoid ruining your logic board!
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