Cleaning thermal compound. Does it matter and do I have a problem

I have this CPU heat sink

Recently I took the heat sink off of my machine to clean the radiator with water because it was pretty clogged up with dust.

Anyways got it clean and left it to dry overnight. Re installed it with clean thermal paste and everything was hunky dory until a couple of days ago. when my computer shut itself down due to processor overheating.

When I replaced the thermal paste I didn't clean the old stuff off with alcohol and just literally wiped it clean with wipes and then dried it off with paper towel.

the copper on the heat sink itself actually burnt my finger when i touched it and though the processor was hot it cooled down very quickly once i took the heat sink off.

any ideas what has went wrong here?
does it matter if you don't use alcohol to clean the cpu/heat sink surface?
and do you think the resevoir of water could have leaked from the cooler as the towel I left it on to dry was wetter than expected

I have ordered Isopropyl 99% alcohol to clean the surfaces but I'm still apprehensive as to whether or not I should install this heat sink again as I'm paranoid that my 3930k will break, In which case I would need to roll with something lesser as funds are an issue at present.

Any replies would be greatly appreciated and many thanks in advance guys
2 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about cleaning thermal compound matter problem
  1. Best answer
    Are you overclocking the 3930k? When you applied the thermal compound did you do so with a very thin layer?
    Couple of things that you should know, if you wipe the top of the processor with alcohol it will wipe off the markings of what identifies the processor. S for the top of the processor just use a clean soft cloth. The base of the CPU cooler you can clean with the alcohol. The purpose of the thermal compound is to make a completely smooth surface with not spaces, so a very , very thin layer is all that's needed.
    The liquid can only leak out if you loosen the fittings or make a hole in the radiator. Since the top of the processor was very hot and the copper on the cooler was very hot then that means that the processor was not being cooled and that the liquid inside the loop was not moving.
    You can see if the fans are spinning but you can't see if the pump is working, you can only hear it if it's working. The odd thing is that it worked for a while before it shut down so if the pump was not working then it would shut down in minutes and as far as the processor breaking while it's certainly not good for it to be overheating the thermal shut down is designed to protect the CPU from running at a temp over 91c.
    The first thing you have to do is to make sure that the CPU cooler is working and that the wires are connected right and that the pump is pushing the liquid inside the loop. Your description has told me that it's not working.
  2. I'm not overclocking at all just running it at 3.2GHz out of the box... personally don't see the need for overclocking now although I would like to do so with a proper watercooling setup installed ie cpu block gpu block dim blocks and so on...

    anyways I cleaned the surfaces with isopropyl 99% before reading this and used the small blob method as apposed to moving the paste around with an old credit card.. perhaps the layer I put on was a bit thick but im starting to think it was the pump. I listened for the water when starting up my computer again and it was moving around so i ran a heavy load on the processor and the highest temp I got was 65% after 8 minutes of continual heavy load...

    All the wires were connected the same as before and properly so I don't understand why all of a sudden it would just stop.

    I'm going to let the computer run as normal and if it shuts down on its own again then I think it's time to invest in a new heatsink

    Thanks for the help =)
Ask a new question

Read More

Thermal Compound CPUs Components