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CPU cooler thermal compound question

SanjuroSanjuro Senior MemberU.K.Posts: 1,590Registered Users
edited January 2011 in Technology
I got a nice CPU cooler that had thermal compound already applied to the bottom (ARCTIC MX-2). But after installing it I had to remove the CPU and send it back to the place I bought it from. That means the bottom of the cooler doens't have much thermal compound left on it.

The place I bought the cooler from was happy to give me some free thermal paste (Stars 420) so that I can have thermal compound all over the bottom of the cooler when I reinstall it on to whatever new CPU chip I get. However, Stars 420 obviously isn't MX-2.

So, should I:

a) clean off the remainder of the pre-applied ARCTIC MX-2 and add the Stars 420;
b) just stick the Stars 420 on; or
c) buy some MX-2 from a shop and use that?
Post edited by Sanjuro on

Comments

  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited January 2011
    Use some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and a cotton swab or q-tip to remove whatever is on the bottom of the heatsink. Get some more MX2 unless you have a tough financial situation. Other than MX 2, I would only use Arctic Silver or Arctic Ceramique. And of course, while Arctic Silver 5 will be graded better, and does in my opinion offer the best result on average, it is slightly more dangerous to use as it is conductive...so don't use it unless you are willing to be careful! LOL: see this article for TIM overkill! ;)

    http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=62&limit=1&limitstart=1
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
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    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
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  • SanjuroSanjuro Senior Member U.K.Posts: 1,590Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    I don't have any isopropyl, but my flatmate's girlfriend has some polish remover, which I used that to clean up the CPU before I sent it back. No reason I can't use that, right?
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited January 2011
    Erm, not knowing its exact contents, my immediate reaction is, no I wouldn;t use it. Basically you want something that is both neutral and will evap without leaving any residue of any kind. Isopropyl alcohol of at least 70% is what I would use (to be sure, I am also retentive, so I actually usually use 90% solution:) ) On the polish remover, unless it is basically just alcohol. no, I would not use it, or - you could use it to remove whatever stuff was on the heatsink or cpu, but then, use isopropyl afterwards (this is usually found in the Pharmacy as rubbing alcohol or topical sanitizer and will clearly staet it is isopropyl and at what percentage solution).

    If you would like some other references to this, see the article I linked above. it has not only best practices for TIM application, but for removal as well.

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

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  • evotucevotuc Senior Member Posts: 983Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    My wife informs me that nail polish remover is full of moisturizers, sparkle flakes and an untold number of other compounds. I don't think the main ingredient (acetone), would be a problem. Acetone is very rough on plastics and rubbers, so you would just have to be careful about that. The only problem with using nail polish remover is what else it contains.
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 16,223Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    I usually just use paper town to wipe off as compound as I can, then re-apply a tidbit of the new stuff.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited January 2011
    daelin4 wrote: »
    I usually just use paper town to wipe off as compound as I can, then re-apply a tidbit of the new stuff.

    LOL! Thanks for the nails-on-a-blackboard sound to an enthusiast!
    My wife informs me that nail polish remover is full of moisturizers, sparkle flakes and an untold number of other compounds
    Thanks Mrs Evo! Yeah, sounds about right. Acetone... Um, I use it with Dry Ice, but I would not want any trace of it near my CPU as a final step. It has a great capacity as a solvent, so is great for getting that cheap gunk off of your heatsink, but it also has a tendency to cause vapors and both expand or be flammable. I would follow up its use with isopropyl.

    Indeed, if every degree of performance does not matter, and you are not interested in a tweak that makes one or two or even five Celsius difference, you can probably use Stars 420 -or maybe peanut butter would work... But I wouldn't use it. There is a welter of information on lapping, the size of particles in TIMs and what is the best way to get the best results... I have spent years learning, using and refining these aspects of maximizing performance. They are not for everyone, but certainly coating your heat transference surface with either some material not intended for heat conduction (nail-polish additional contents), or one that is less capable than what you are going to add (by scra.ping it into the micro grooves of your heat contact surfaces) is not going to help your cause.

    Please note that fingerprints, lint, grease, hair and so forth may seem innocuous, but can play havoc with areas of your die where the heat is not being conducted at the same rate as everywhere else. Worst case scenario is an opening where a void occurs as TIM is used to prevent air (the least conductive of materials). Then you are truly asking for issues. As an additional primer, I provide the link to the Intel application of Arctic Silver 5 (note it is different for the AMD chip! -now _THAT_ is retentive!)
    http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/appmeth/int/vl/intel_app_method_vertical_line_v1.1.pdf

    http://www.arcticsilver.com/instructions.htm
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • SanjuroSanjuro Senior Member U.K.Posts: 1,590Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    Thanks for the advice about the nail polish remover. I'll make sure to get something else. As for applying the MX2, I don't have to be as obsessive as the Intel article suggests, do I? I was told by the shop I could just apply some in the middle and then spread it out a bit!
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited January 2011
    Yes, quite right! Arctic Silver that I reference is CONDUCTIVE!!! BAD/DANGEROUS if you aren't taking precautions and know what you're playing with. MX-2 is from Arctic Cooling, a completely separate company and although it has a slightly lower heat transference efficiency than Arctic Silver 5, it is NOT CONDUCTIVE! This is important, because then if it gets somewhere you don;t want, it may be messy, but probably won't cause a short... Probably... (There is a caveat here for the use of all nonconductive liquids... if you have enough dust laying about and it compines in enough density within the non conductive liquid, you could be in for a very rude awakening as the DUST can create conductivity! Clean people! Use those screens, and keep it clean! LOL). AS for spreading it out, I would follow the instructions on the Arctic Cooling site, even though I am not personally a fan of that approach given the delicacy of the 1366 socket...and would proceed with caution at least in my personal uses...
    http://arctic.ac/fileadmin/arctic/website/media/downloads/products/oldsite/install_mx2_retail.pdf

    (Just a note here that when I use the term conductive, I usually mean electrical charge conductivity - although in general useage in conversation about TIMs, the word may ALSO be used to refer to the heat transference rate - or 'heat conductivity'.. Doh! Be sure you are taking the context into account when you are reading!)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • IscaranIscaran Tech-Hero. Posts: 4,229Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    If you have no access to isopropyl alcohol you can use high grade drinkable and pure alcohol instead...errrm I mean wodka ;)

    Just sprinkle the wodka on a small tissue (not to soft so it doesnt loose "particles" when rubbing the surface) and then rub the CPU/GPU clean of the previous heat paste.

    Keep the tissue always wet until the old heat paste is gone.

    Then let the CPU/GPU surface dry completely - perhaps use a hair dryer on cool setting for a few minutes.
    After that you can mount the new cooler/heat paste.
    Iscaran

    Hero.

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