Thermal Interface Scratched

The instructions for my P4 1.8A chip warn that I should be careful not to damage the thermal interface surface on the stock heatsink.

The thermal intake surface came with a scratch (approx 3/8" long) in the center.

I plan to overclock the chip to 2.4 GHZ.

Is it ok to use the scratched heatsink or should I send it back?
19 answers Last reply
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  1. Since I did not receive any relpies yet, I called intel customer support.

    One of their technicians told me that I should be ok. He said that the material will fill in the holes when it is used (heat is applied). He said that if the lost area is less than 10% of the surface, it should not present a problem.

    Please let me know if you have had a bad experience with a scratched intel heatsink surface. I would prefer to learn from your mistake than to fry my new chip and mobo.
  2. if the scratch isnt that deep, and its not over the processor core, i think you'd be fine.

    You can try to buff the scratch out, but since the surface needs to be flat to get proper contact, i think you'd have to sand down the whole bottom, not just the scratched area. search for some links on how to do that properly either here, or hardOCP forums (
  3. The scratch is in the center, so it would be over the core.

    The scratch is 3/8" in long and less than 1/8" wide.

    As the surface isn't that thick, the scratch is all the way through the material. Sanding would not be an option unless I wanted to use thermal paste or something similar.

    The technician said that the material would fill in the scratch (when the system is used / heat is applied). What do you think?
  4. Oh, i think i misunderstood, is it the thermal pad that is scratched? Not the actual metal of the heat sink? I thought you meant the metal had a scratch in it.

    If its only the thermal pad (kinda like wax i think) thats scratched, then you should be ok. But i think a lot of people would recommend that you scrape that off, clean it, and apply Arctic Silver compound, especially if you plan to overclock. It conducts heat better than the pads.
  5. Thanks for the input.

    Yes, it is the thermal pad that I am talking about.

    I plan to overclock my 1.8A chip to 2.4 so the arctic silver sound like a good idea.

    This is the first computer that I am building myself. If I apply a thin layer of arctic silver and spread it with a razor blade, how much risk is there that I could mess up (end up with a fried CPU).

    Once I have the heatsink installed, I would like understand if additional cooling is necessary. I mentioned in a separate post that I want to use an Inwin full tower case that I bought three years ago. My Enermax power supply has two fans (Video card also has a fan). If I add an intake fan to the front of the case (it has a cage but no fan)will it have much impact on the temperature within the case? What about a hard drive cooler? CPU cooler?

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
  6. Quote:
    This is the first computer that I am building myself. If I apply a thin layer of arctic silver and spread it with a razor blade, how much risk is there that I could mess up (end up with a fried CPU).

    i dont think there will be a problem...and if you did mess dont have to worry about the P4 burning up cause they have a built in thermal protection that prevents the cpu from burning up...
    If I add an intake fan to the front of the case (it has a cage but no fan)will it have much impact on the temperature within the case? What about a hard drive cooler? CPU cooler?

    lemme see...putting the fan at the back of the case (sucking out air) will have more of an impact (good impact that is)...but putting a fan at the bottom and at the back will be for the HD probably wont impact the overall temps but it will lower the temps of your HD...

    :eek: <b>Who fixed <font color=red>ATI</font color=red>'s leaky faucet??</b> :eek:
  7. Keep in mind that fans on the video card and CPU don't do much for the total system cooling. If you're not moving the hot air out and pulling cool air in, those fans will just be blowing hot air around inside the case.

    Arctic silver isnt too difficult to apply. Here's the manufacturers instructions:

    I wouldnt rely on the fans in the PSU to cool the case. Get a couple of case fans, at least one for exhaust, and one for an intake. be sure that both fans have a pretty clear path to move the air. sometimes the front bezel of the case doesn't allow that much air to get through. if you're feeling frisky you might want to cut a hole in the side of the case and mount an intake fan there.

    don't overclock all at once, get the system stable at default speeds first, then gradually increase and stress test it to find the limits. monitor those temperatures too.
  8. The Inwin case has a cage at the bottom front of the case for an intake fan. The front of the case curves out in the front (air would be pulled from the bottom between the front piece and the rest of the case). When I open the case up to take out the old components, I will have a better idea how the airflow would work.

    As for exaust, the case design seems to have plenty of small openings (I think they are small to use with a fan) in the sides and back. The Enermax PSU has an 80mm intake fan (at the bottom) and an 92mm exust fan (in the back).

    I would prefer not to cut holes in the case (no experience / tools for the job). If I had one 80mm fan pulling air in at the bottom front and the dual fan PSU at the top (in back), would this provide enough airflow?

    If I were to add additional case fans without cutting the case, where could I mount them? If you want to see the specifications, the case I have (IW-Q500) is the only full tower Inwin Case sold by Newegg.

    If my only choice is to cut holes in my current case or buy a new case with better cooling, what would be the best cheap case with sufficient cooling (or room for additional fans)?

    Are hard drive coolers and memory fans worth the extra money?

    Thanks again.
  9. getting enough cool air into the case is probably going to be your limiting factor. i would put one more exhaust fan in the case, don't rely on the PSU to move all that air.

    hard drive coolers and memory fans are probably not worth bothering with. get more air inside the case, preferably coming from the bottom so you get more circulation
  10. "hard drive coolers and memory fans are probably not worth bothering with."

    unless you need them. for example I have an old 10,000RPM dual platter IBM that could be used to melt down steel without my ultimate hard drive cooler on there. With the cooler it hovers around 100 deg F. The RAM heat sinks are useful when trying to attain those high FSB frequencies we all crave so much.

    It all depends on the application.
  11. "unless you need them"- doh, forgot about those 10k models. 100F with a cooler is kinda scary. i hope thats under a heavy load.
  12. I will open the case up tonight.

    Perhaps I can try to fit an additional exhaust fan to the back of the case below the CPU. As I mentioned, there are small holes in the back of the case, I may not have to make any new holes.

    The intake fan seems to be important. Should I try to add a filter to the intake fan (to prevent dust) or would I be better off with more air flow?

    The hard drive that I have is a 120GB Western Digital 7200RPM 8MB cache.

    The ram that I have is true PC2700 Samsung 333Mhz (I would like to overclock it to 400MHZ).

    Where would you suggest that I buy the fans and arctic silver (for heatsink)?

    Thanks again for all of your help.
  13. I currently don't have a filter, or a fan guard for that matter, but thats because adding the side fan was kinda spontaneous. anyone else use them?

    as for where to buy the stuff, i ordered my components from, with no issues. they seem to be pretty popular.
  14. All load levels it is hot. it starts heating up as soon as the thing spins up, after I just power up. The wierd thing is, I hear many of the 15K RPM drives run much cooler. Bearing technology maybe?

    I've not owned one of the newer WD drives. I wonder if that baby is going to heat up.

    One piece of advice, if it is determined that a drive cooler is needed I strongly recomend the Ultimate Hard Drive coolers I mentioned. They are very sweet, best I've found so far. They sit on the top of the drive, and are in the form of an actual heat sink, with dual 40mm fans blowing over the whole works. Some of the others I've seen just blow air on the hard drive and have no heat wicking material to speak of.
  15. I opened the case up last night.

    The cage in the front seems to be large enough to accomodate an 80mm fan.

    I will bring the cage to Radio Shack and compare it to the size of the actual fans.

    The bottom front and top back of the case each have an area about the size of a power supply (approx 4" high and as wide as the case) that looks like swiss cheese. There should be plenty of airflow for a fan. The only difference is that the front has a cage (can fit one fan) and the front panel (mostly solid plastic does have a very small filter? at the bottom) is curved to draw air in from underneath.

    I could fit one or two large fans at the back of the case above the power supply (most newer designs that I have seen in magazines have the exaust fans below the PSU). If I add a 80mm fan at the front for intake, what would you suggest I do for exaust? If the fan(s) are above the PSU is that ok? How much would airlow improve if the PSU was above the fans?

    I also noticed that the airflow is greatly restriced by cables (old setup had three hard drives new setup will only have one). What IDE cables would best improve airflow? If I use tape to reduce clutter, what would you suggest (duct tape, electrical tape, other)?

    Do I need a cooler for the Samsung Ram? If so, what would you suggest?

    Unless anyone has a better idea, I will probably use Newegg for the fans and cables.
  16. Mounts for case fans are pretty standard. you can probably hold a tape measure and guess what size they are: 60mm (2 3/8"), 80mm (3 1/8") , 92mm (3 5/8"), 120mm (4 3/4") the inches are not exact, but should be enough to figure it out.

    I don't think putting the exhaust fans above or below the psu would have a big difference. putting them at the top might give better circulation, putting them lower down (near the cpu) might also be better. you can experiment with that later.

    I believe there are rounded IDE cables that you can buy if they're getting really messy. Here's what mine looks like, with no problems: <A HREF="" target="_new">the old front intake fan viewed from the back</A>
    <A HREF="" target="_new">Side view, new intake blows right over the gpu</A>

    To tie up the wires, I used a twisty-tie from a bag of bread, which should be fine as long as its not touching any of the bare components, or anything that gets hot.

    If you use tape, i think electrical tape would be better. Its much easier to get off than duct tape, and doesnt leave as much of that sticky residue.

    I have no idea about the ram coolers.
  17. Thanks for the input.

    If I only have one intake fan would adding two exaust fans be worthwhile, or should I just add one?
  18. I'd just experiment and see what works best. start with one, check the temps, then throw the other one in. Try a few different configurations if you can.
  19. Thanks again.

    I will start with one and see how it goes. I will mount the exaust fan above the PSU (No case modification needed).
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