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Northbridge heatsink and thermal compound

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February 4, 2010 9:43:41 AM

Hi, I have Asus P5K/EPU mainboard:

I intend to change the thermal compound under the northbridge heatsink (the big copper heatsing with the word ASUS on it" I heard the I may have trouble removing it if the stock thermal compound has hardened. If somebody has worked with this or similar model, please let me know what kind is the stock thermal compound and will I have trouble removing it.
Thanks.

More about : northbridge heatsink thermal compound

February 4, 2010 11:50:02 AM

I have an ASUS p5k-pro and i have changed out the thermal compound on the north bridge. The original compound is quite "sticky" and the best way I have found to break its "seal" is to undo the pins holding the heatsink in place and twist. The original compound is quite easy to remove with acetone ( nail polish remover ) or other like solvents.

EDIT: The south bridge also uses the same compound as the north bridge and can be done with the same methods.
a b K Overclocking
February 4, 2010 3:37:26 PM

Also most of the time if the MOBO is warmed up the heatsink comes off easier - so before starting run the system under stress for awhile (ie. Prime95 for several minutes should help)
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 4, 2010 4:19:03 PM

why would you need to re-paste the NB? What are your temps?
February 4, 2010 4:54:15 PM

I don't know what is the northbridge temp because it does't have sensor.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 4, 2010 5:00:51 PM

then what makes you think that the NB needs to be re-pasted?

U can monitor your NB temp with everest. If your NB temp is not listed then all you need to do is stress test the CPU for at least 10 min, touch the NB with your finger, if you cannot leave your finger on the NB for more than 5 seconds then YES you do need to re-paste, if the NB stays warm or cool to the touch leave it alone....

http://www.lavalys.com/products.php?ps=UE&lang=en&page=...
February 4, 2010 5:12:48 PM

Quote:
thenwhat makes you think that the NB needs to be re-pasted?

U can monitor your NB temp with everest. If your NB temp is not listed then all you need to do is stress test the CPU for at least 10 min, touch the NB with your finger, if you cannot leave your finger on the NB for more than 5 seconds then YES you do need to re-paste, if the NB stays warm or cool to the touch leave it alone....

http://www.lavalys.com/products.php?ps=UE&lang=en&page=...


... to touch the NB or the NB's heatsink? Because if I touch the NB's heatsink and it's hot, then this is good - this means that there is good thermal conductivity between the chip and the heatsink. But if it is cold or cool, then this is bad (bad thermal conductivity).
I started this thread because although I don't know the exact NB temp, I am concerned about it, because when I assebled my PC a wire was trapped between the NB heatsink and CPU cooler and I had to apply strong force sideways to the NB heatsink in order to release the wire. I am not sure how I released it... but I suspect that this might have distupted the thermal compound under the heatsink.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 4, 2010 5:16:28 PM

No, what I meant is touch the sink when your system is under LOAD, this way you will know for sure if it needs to be re-pasted or not...

February 4, 2010 5:29:16 PM

OvrClkr said:
No, what I meant is touch the sink when your system is under LOAD, this way you will know for sure if it needs to be re-pasted or not...

Ok, even if it's under load, let's consider this again -
If the heatsink is hot this most likely doesn't mean that it must be repasted at all; it means that the thermal compound and heatsink are doing their best in dissipating the heat from the chip and I rather need to improve the airflow above the heatsink, because it's hot due to bad airflow.
If the heatsink is cool, this could mean two thinks - that the NB isn't getting hot under load or more likely - it IS hot but I cannot feel this through the heatsink because the paste is compromised.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 4, 2010 5:37:00 PM

Correct, but if your NB is flaming HOT then it is time to re-paste. The NB should not exceed 50c under normal operation/gaming/rendering etc....
February 4, 2010 6:00:40 PM

Ok, please recommend a good thermal paste or pad.
I was thinking of Arctic Silver 5, but... it is slightly electro-capacitive and shouldn't come in contact with bare electrical circuits, and since Intel P35 has some smal components near the core I would rather prefer completely dielectric compound. (I am not sure whether these small components are bare or covered with transperent substance, but I don't want to risk.)
Now I am thinking about Arctic Silver Ceramique, which is total electric insulator, but of course I am open to other opinions/suggestions.
Also I want the thermal compound to retain it's conductivity capabilities for a long time.
So what do you think, folks?
February 4, 2010 8:00:51 PM

I am currently using arctic silver on my p35 to no ill effect for almost a year now. The original thermal paste on it does well enough but under heavy overclocking and moderate over volting it would get a bit too warm ( apparently my north bridge has a temp sensor in it ). Also, the original thermal paste on my was applied sloppily and changing it was beneficial.
February 4, 2010 8:20:18 PM

NITROGENarcosis, some questions:
1. Where do you see the NB temperature?
2. Did you change the heatsink too or you are still with the original one?
3. How many degrees C was the temperature drop after you changed the original compound with Arctic Silver 5 (withou overclocking and in idle state)?
February 4, 2010 10:02:15 PM

1] my bios has a temp readout for the north bridge
2] I am using the original heatsink but have added a fan
3] without overclocking there was little change in the idle temps ( note all this was without fan ) but load temps were reduced quite a bit ( about 3-5c ). Adding the fan however made a large difference.

- If you are not overclocking the original thermal paste should be just fine as long as it is not disturbed, as you have said that there was i wire that you had to remove from under the heatsink which could have unset the thermal compound. Adding the fan should be unnecessary in your case.
February 5, 2010 8:48:27 AM

NITROGEnarcosis said:
1] my bios has a temp readout for the north bridge


What does it says: "Mainboard", "System" or "Chipset" ?
a b Ĉ ASUS
February 5, 2010 12:16:32 PM

OvrClkr said:
Correct, but if your NB is flaming HOT then it is time to re-paste. The NB should not exceed 50c under normal operation/gaming/rendering etc....


You obviously have not experienced nvidia's early chipsets have you? 50ºc would be a good temp for them

Even 65ºc would be fine for chipsets, iv never seen a reason to replace the thermal pase/compound on chipset heatsinks EVER - pointless unless you have replaced the cooler etc
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 5, 2010 2:00:42 PM

apache_lives said:
You obviously have not experienced nvidia's early chipsets have you? 50ºc would be a good temp for them

Even 65ºc would be fine for chipsets, iv never seen a reason to replace the thermal pase/compound on chipset heatsinks EVER - pointless unless you have replaced the cooler etc


As far as Intel, NO... As far as AMD , YES... I have several am2/am2+ boards (Nvidia Chipset) that suffered from weak NB sinks, all I did was remove the sinks re-paste with MX-2 or AS5 and vualaa temps came down by 7/8c and or install an aftermarket sink. When you are gaming at 3.9/4Ghz and your NB voltage is high, the NB(stock) can reach up to 70c. I have seen boards die when the NB goes past 72/73c...

That is why I asked the OP "why would you need to re-paste the NB? What are your temps?" at the begining of the thread... The NB should be ok as long as he does not overvolt anything ;) 
February 5, 2010 2:54:12 PM

OvrClkr said:
That is why I asked the OP "why would you need to re-paste the NB? What are your temps?" at the begining of the thread... The NB should be ok as long as he does not overvolt anything ;) 

In BIOS and in Everest I have a temp reading called "Mainboard". It is between 39 and 48 C, depending on room temp. The difference under load and idle is negligible, ony 1-2 degrees. I don't know whether this is NB or not, I don't know where the sensor is located. But I prefer to repaste the NB just to stop worrying.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b K Overclocking
February 5, 2010 3:04:18 PM

Mainboard is usually the "Motherboard" . If everest does not show your NB temps, the other alternative to get accurate temps is by using a temp-probe. But just like apache said, you might not need it at all since your NB threshold quite high.

Just do it the old fashion way, if it burns your finger under load just re-paste and get done with it =)
a b Ĉ ASUS
February 5, 2010 10:54:49 PM

If it burns your finger then ITS DOING ITS JOB TRANSFERING HEAT TO THE HEATSINK.

If you have killed boards its more then likely from the extra v's your giving the chipset, not the 70ºc temps, its sillicon on a bga package - video cards survive ~90ºc, so do processors, why wouldnt LESS COMPLEX chipsets? and its not as if those temps read correctly anyhow, and you would (usually) see stability issues FIRST.

Why dont you check the specs of an old chipset from Intel, say the 945 series - what you would find is most are capable of running at 100ºc without issues, 110 before throttle and 135 for shutdown - actual Intel specification.

Since the OP is using an Intel chipset this is relivant, and since hes asking such a basic question hes not a hardcore oc'er and doesnt require it to be modified as there will be no benifit.
a c 107 Ĉ ASUS
a c 166 K Overclocking
February 5, 2010 11:04:37 PM

Before using Artic Silver......consider the following:

Arctic Silver II Application Instructions(48-hours minimum curing time recommended)
Arctic Silver 3 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
Arctic Silver 5 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
Arctic Silver Ceramique Application Instructions (25-hours minimum recommended curing time)
IC Seven Carat Diamond Application Instructions (10-minute evaporation time, 2-hour curing recommended)

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

After this article was first published, there was an immediate backlash from some of the manufacturers listed in this review. The primary argument was the lack of cure time. Here is the Arctic Silver 5 recommended cure time instruction from the manufacturers web site:

Due to the unique shape and sizes of the particles in Arctic Silver 5's conductive matrix, it will take a up to 200 hours and several thermal cycles to achieve maximum particle to particle thermal conduction and for the heatsink to CPU interface to reach maximum conductivity. (This period will be longer in a system without a fan on the heatsink or with a low speed fan on the heatsink.) On systems measuring actual internal core temperatures via the CPU's internal diode, the measured temperature will often drop 2C to 5C over this "break-in" period. This break-in will occur during the normal use of the computer as long as the computer is turned off from time to time and the interface is allowed to cool to room temperature. Once the break-in is complete, the computer can be left on if desired.

So by my estimation of this statement it would take almost a year of normal use to properly cure the AC5 compound, or almost nine days of continuous power cycles to meet their recommendation. Benchmark Reviews feels that this is a characteristically unreasonable requirement for any TIM product, and we do not support it. We want products that perform without the burden of sacrifice on our time, especially with some many competing products offering performance without this extra requirement.


I can live with 2 hours so I went with the Diamond stuff from Innovation Cooling ... no conductive worries too.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/7038/thr-41/Innovatio...

Here's a "How To" for NB and SB TIM replacement

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=2008042004032968...
a b K Overclocking
February 6, 2010 4:58:11 AM

apache_lives said:
You obviously have not experienced nvidia's early chipsets have you? 50ºc would be a good temp for them

Even 65ºc would be fine for chipsets, iv never seen a reason to replace the thermal pase/compound on chipset heatsinks EVER - pointless unless you have replaced the cooler etc


Apache, this is kinda an unfair statement. It is the early nvidia chipsets w/ the nf200 chips that would get dengerously hot. These dont have the nf200, they should be running a little cooler. However, i think that 50c may be a stretch for this board due to the low end heat sinks on it. ;) 

I would say re pasting it is a waste. There is no way you can find an accurate reading of the NB (especially with nvidia's crappy sensors), and you are not having any problems with random crashes, are you? :sol: 
February 6, 2010 2:32:53 PM

Please recommend me a good thermal interface cleaning substance. I know about Arcticlean and Akasa Tim-Clean, but I cannot find them. Any other suggestions?
a b K Overclocking
February 6, 2010 9:25:41 PM

^ 91% rubbing alcohol.
Nobody uses the things that articsilver and other providers sell. Everyone here just uses plain old alcohol on a paper towel.
a c 107 Ĉ ASUS
a c 166 K Overclocking
February 6, 2010 10:36:23 PM

+1 to overshocked ....only special alcohol based substance I buy says "Stolichnaya" on it
!