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Windows 7: Thermal pastes and CPU heat sink


04 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 
Thermal pastes and CPU heat sink

Hi there!

Just a quick one (hopefully). The fans in my PC have been making a lot of racket and I was checking them and cleaning them today and trying to pin point which one was kicking up such a racket.

During this I removed my CPU heatsink/fan and gave it a clean, but I wondered if I need to reapply thermal paste? I know when changing you're supposed to put it on, but I thought that as I have removed it, but not changed it, the paste won't be as good a contact between the CPU and the heatsink and won't disperse the heat as well (or maybe hardly at all?)

Just checked the temp with only Firefox (and background tasks of course) running, and my Q6600 is running at about 45, 45, 45, 58. The final processor is always the hottest and it says the max it has been was 70.

I'm loathe to do to much with the PC (gaming and I've got some videos to transfer to DVD, which always pushes one of the processors) if the lack of paste could damage the processor.

Thanks!!

NL

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Mar 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Yes you should clean off the old thermal paste from the CPU and heatsink and reapply new.
Use isopropl alcohol or a cleaner made for this purpose such as ArcticCleaner. Use a lint free cloth, I prefer coffee filters.
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04 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Thanks for the quick reply pbcopter!

It is dangerous to use the PC in the mean time? Although I should be able to get the bits tomorrow.

Thanks again.
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04 Mar 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Not to step on any toes.
According to Comp TIA A+ certification..... one should never use any solvents when cleaning parts of a PC, including wiping off thermal paste's and compounds, only use a clean soft lint free cloth or coffee filter as suggested by pbcopter, to apply and remvoe. To answer your question...Yes...whether you change out your cpu fan or just remove it to add/change parts, the preferred method is to clean and replace thermal paste/compounds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bassfisher6522 View Post
According to Comp TIA A+ certification.....
I guess I stand corrected. However, the only issue with the mentioned solvents is if too much is used, there is the possibility of socket contamination. Just dampening the filter has never cause an issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2011   #6

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pbcopter View Post
Yes you should clean off the old thermal paste from the CPU and heatsink and reapply new.
Use isopropl alcohol or a cleaner made for this purpose such as ArcticClean. Use a lint free cloth, I prefer coffee filters.
I agree, and highly recommend only using ArcticSilver5 thermal paste.
ArcticClean is recommended

But as stated.....

Quote:
Why Not Just Use Isopropyl Alcohol or Acetone?
Put isopropyl alcohol or acetone on a thermal pad and 10 minutes later you will have a thermal pad. Only with a lot of rubbing and scrubbing will you be able to remove the pad. While the alcohol or acetone may soften the pad, neither actually dissolves the pad. Although less visible, it is the same cleaning thermal greases with alcohol or acetone.
using a high grade alcohol (sparingly)works in a pinch, but, you want to clean off as much thermal compound or pad as possible and use the alcohol as a last step to remove the film left behind.
Then shine it as good as possible afterwords to get rib of any film and dust/lint whatever.


Added to coincide with GeneO's post below: How to apply thermal compound

As stated in the link above,,,,
Quote:
Never turn on a computer without a heatsink properly mounted on the CPU and thermal compound between the CPU core and the heatsink. A modern high-performance CPU can be permanently damaged in less than 10 seconds without proper cooling.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2011   #7

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by northlondon01 View Post
Thanks for the quick reply pbcopter!

It is dangerous to use the PC in the mean time? Although I should be able to get the bits tomorrow.

Thanks again.
Yes it is dangerous to use without a cooler - it would overheat, shut down, and possibly damage your CPU.

Clean it off with rubbing ( Isopropyl ) alcohol (sparingly) and Q tips.

When you reapply new paste, all you need is a drop the size of a grain of rice - spread that around on the CPU with a card or wax paper so that there is a very thin layer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Thanks guys,

I very nearly screwed my PC up terribly. It booted up and then just crashed and then wouldn't even load windows or access the HDD. I think I had a) put too much paste on (a friend said to put 1g on, which turns out is loads) and b) the clips on my heat sink hadn't clipped in properly to the mobo and it wasn't in contact with the processor casing.

I think I got very lucky indeed, as I switched it off and then opened it up, saw the heat sink was loose and this had spread paste all over the shop. I cleaned it all down and reapplied again, made 100% sure that the clips were in fully and rebooted and everything seems fine.

It was heart in the mouth time for 20 minutes or so and I thought I had totally knackered it (although I did then get a bit excited at the thought of an excuse for buying a newer setup, and subsequently a bit disappointed when it rebooted with no problem!).

I've checked the resourse monitor and everything looks to be working fine. Ran the RealTemp program and everything is around 40/50 degree C, and the clock speed was still at 2.4ghz.

I think I got very lucky indeed! Could there be any lasting damage that has yet to show itself?

Thanks again for the help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

Your probably OK. I think there is a thermal cutoff on your processor and it crashed before it even got there - sounds like.

Yea, 1 gram is huge. Like I said - the size of a grain of rice. The CPU and heat sink are good thermal conductors, but their surfaces are not perfectly flat. Any air in between them insulates them. All the paste does is make sure all of the surface is in thermal contact - you only need a very thin layer to fill in any space between them, which are very small gaps. Too much and you insulate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Thanks GeneO.

Everything seems to be fine. I guess it's all learning process - wish I'd come back here and checked the thread before going ahead with it, although I think the lack of contact was probably the main culprit and I wasn't aware of that until it popped loose!

Thanks everyone for again for their input.
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