It’s safe to say that I’ve seen my fair share of T440 ThinkPads in my time, and there’s one common element on all of them that just downright bugs me.
If you ever take the back off one (and not snap it off somehow), and decide to unscrew the heatsink, you’ll see two dies: a larger one on the right (CPU) and a smaller one on the left (GPU). Those little shiny blocks are the heart of that machine… and they’re so tiny too!
Now if you look closer, you’ll see that the GPU die is bare. Oops.
Yes, every T440 that I’ve worked on or taken apart to that level has lacked any form of thermal compound on the GPU die. In fairness, thermal compound is technically optional, as it’s only true purpose is to fill in the air gaps between both surfaces (this is why you only need a little), and therefore with a tight enough hold, you’ll still have functioning equipment without it. However, there is supposed to be a little pad of compound on top of it… and yet none of them have it. Strange.
Personally, I say that it’s worth removing the stock compound and replacing with a little bit of your own, if you have it, these things tend to get pretty hot. The one I’m writing this on reports an average idle temperature anywhere between 90°F to 110°F, or 32°C to 43°C. For comparison, the other laptop I use with an arguably stronger CPU idles at anywhere from 50°F to 60°F, (10°C to 15.6°C) which is colder than the room that it’s in.
For some people, they may notice some weirdness when running the GPU super hard, but in all the ones I’ve seen that’s not an issue with the stock cooling arrangement, so your mileage may vary just depending on the particular tolerances of the parts that yours was built with.