Thermal Paste???


E

Eric White

Hi,

I am building my first computer and due to my inexperience have the
following problem. I purchased a p4 2.8E and fastened it to the mobo
socket. On top I placed the heat sink followed by the fan and closed the
clamps. Unfortunately, the fan cable could not reach the power pins for the
CPU fan so I unfastened the fan and heat sink to rotate 180 degrees. It is
then that I noticed a gray adhesive (thermal paste?) that had partly peeled
off from the heat sink onto the top of the CPU. Have I royally messed
things up or is there some way to fix? Any guidance would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Eric
 
Ad

Advertisements

B

Bob Knowlden

It's not a major problem.

It sounds like what you've done is tear the thermal interface material. It's
not thermal paste, but it serves the same purpose.

I doubt that it can be safely re-used.

What I suggest is (carefully) scraping off the material from the heatsink
with a single-edged razor blade. It may be helpful to remove the CPU from
the socket to remove any TIM from that, also. (See your mainboard manual for
instructions on inserting the CPU in the socket. You may also want to take
precautions about electrostatic discharge, which could damage your CPU or
mainboard.) You might use a solvent to remove any traces of the TIM from the
heatsink and CPU.

Applying thermal grease (also known as heatsink compound) isn't difficult.
Here are some instructions from one maker:

http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina_instructions.htm

(In my opinion, these instructions would only be followed exactly by
compulsive people. For example: I seem to have gotten away with using
mineral spirits [paint thinner] rather than pure isoprpyl alcohol as a
cleaner. However, it's best to err on the side of caution.)

Some things to remember:

The same maker provides Arctic Silver. I've not used it. It is probably good
stuff, but it can make problems in some circumstances, as it isn't a
dielectric (insulator). I doubt that it's a problem with an Intel CPU, but I
vaguely recall that AMD may not recommend it.

Heat sink compound works best when it is thin. It has a much lower thermal
conductivity than metal. (It is used because it has a much higher thermal
conductivity than air, so it improves heat conduction when used to fill
small gaps.) I believe that thermal interface material is supplied with
retail Intel heatsinks because it is easier to apply. TIM is intended for
one-time, use, though.

If a "Prescott" P4 (E suffix) is similar to a "Northwood" P4 (all the P4s
I've used so far), it has a built-in metal heat spreader (a metal plate that
sits on top of the CPU), so it's not as fragile as the chips that are more
nearly exposed silicon.

Lately, I've used Arctic Alumina. I'm not sure that it is significantly
better than the traditional heat sink compound that could be had at Radio
Shack for about $2. (Arctic Alumina is aluminum oxide in an unspecified
base. The Radio Shack stuff is zinc oxide in a silicone grease.) A small
tube of heat sink compound is good for more than a few applications.

In short, you haven't "royally messed things up". With a bit of work and a
little care, your heatsink/fan combination will probably work a little
better with heat sink compound than with the TIM provided by Intel. If you
ever wish to remove the heatsink again, it'll be a lot easier to clean up
than the TIM.

Good luck.

Bob Knowlden

Address may be altered. Replace nkbob with bobkn.
 
M

Mac Cool

Eric White said:
I unfastened the fan and heat sink to rotate 180 degrees
I'm not familiar with your particular setup, but usually the clips that
hold the heat sink are designed to work in one orientation and if you
reverse them, the sink will not make good contact with the processor and
it could overheat. You can probably rotate just the fan.
 
N

Navid

Bob Knowlden said:
It's not a major problem.

It sounds like what you've done is tear the thermal interface material.
It's
not thermal paste, but it serves the same purpose.

I doubt that it can be safely re-used.

What I suggest is (carefully) scraping off the material from the heatsink
with a single-edged razor blade. It may be helpful to remove the CPU from
the socket to remove any TIM from that, also. (See your mainboard manual
for
instructions on inserting the CPU in the socket. You may also want to take
precautions about electrostatic discharge, which could damage your CPU or
mainboard.) You might use a solvent to remove any traces of the TIM from
the
heatsink and CPU.

Applying thermal grease (also known as heatsink compound) isn't difficult.
Here are some instructions from one maker:

http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina_instructions.htm

(In my opinion, these instructions would only be followed exactly by
compulsive people. For example: I seem to have gotten away with using
mineral spirits [paint thinner] rather than pure isoprpyl alcohol as a
cleaner. However, it's best to err on the side of caution.)

Some things to remember:

The same maker provides Arctic Silver. I've not used it. It is probably
good
stuff, but it can make problems in some circumstances, as it isn't a
dielectric (insulator). I doubt that it's a problem with an Intel CPU, but
I
vaguely recall that AMD may not recommend it.

Heat sink compound works best when it is thin. It has a much lower thermal
conductivity than metal. (It is used because it has a much higher thermal
conductivity than air, so it improves heat conduction when used to fill
small gaps.) I believe that thermal interface material is supplied with
retail Intel heatsinks because it is easier to apply. TIM is intended for
one-time, use, though.

If a "Prescott" P4 (E suffix) is similar to a "Northwood" P4 (all the P4s
I've used so far), it has a built-in metal heat spreader (a metal plate
that
sits on top of the CPU), so it's not as fragile as the chips that are more
nearly exposed silicon.

Lately, I've used Arctic Alumina. I'm not sure that it is significantly
better than the traditional heat sink compound that could be had at Radio
Shack for about $2. (Arctic Alumina is aluminum oxide in an unspecified
base. The Radio Shack stuff is zinc oxide in a silicone grease.) A small
tube of heat sink compound is good for more than a few applications.

In short, you haven't "royally messed things up". With a bit of work and a
little care, your heatsink/fan combination will probably work a little
better with heat sink compound than with the TIM provided by Intel. If you
ever wish to remove the heatsink again, it'll be a lot easier to clean up
than the TIM.

Good luck.

Bob Knowlden

Address may be altered. Replace nkbob with bobkn.

Eric White said:
Hi,

I am building my first computer and due to my inexperience have the
following problem. I purchased a p4 2.8E and fastened it to the mobo
socket. On top I placed the heat sink followed by the fan and closed the
clamps. Unfortunately, the fan cable could not reach the power pins for the
CPU fan so I unfastened the fan and heat sink to rotate 180 degrees. It is
then that I noticed a gray adhesive (thermal paste?) that had partly peeled
off from the heat sink onto the top of the CPU. Have I royally messed
things up or is there some way to fix? Any guidance would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Eric
Don't use a razor. You may scratch the bottom of the heat sink and
compromise heat transfer.

Keep in mind that a thermal pad cannot always be replaced by thermal paste
and provide better performance. If the two surfaces have very large gaps
between them, thermal pad is better.

But, considering that the pad is damaged, it is correct that you need to
remove it. Inspect the surface of the heat sink. Use the edge of a paper
and hold it against a source of light to make sure that it is flat.

If you need the help of some hard material for removing the pad, use a
plastic card like a credit card. Don't use metal.
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

maggot

I'm not familiar with your particular setup, but usually the clips that
hold the heat sink are designed to work in one orientation and if you
reverse them, the sink will not make good contact with the processor and
it could overheat. You can probably rotate just the fan.
The Intel retail HSF works the same in either orientation.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads

Thermal paste 22
Thermal paste 14
No thermal paste? 0
Thermal Paste 8
Thermal paste 11
Best thermal paste 5
Thermal paste application 43
CPU thermal paste 4

Top