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Thermal Compound spills underneath heat spreader

Last response: in Overclocking
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June 21, 2010 5:36:38 AM

i think i applied double the Thermal Compound Thermal Fusion 400 and it spilled out and went underneath the i7 heat spreader,

i redid the whole thing again , however there's a certain amount of thermal compound sitting between the heat spreader and the upper surface of the i7 processor on one of the sides.

is this a cause of concern,

can there be some malfunction or a short circuit when the processor really heats up

god this is my first machine and i went really wrong in applying thermal paste. :( 

June 21, 2010 1:25:09 PM

First, with any thermal interface material (TIM for short), less is best, since all you are trying to do is to fill the small imperfections that exist between the surface of the CPU heat spreader and the heat sink/fan. In the case of Cooler Master Thermal Fusion 400, most retail packages should have come with a razor blade to ease application. After you apply the TIM, you should have an extremely thin layer covering the entire heat spreader or heat sink/fan (but not both). When you apply pressure between the two surfaces, you should have very little squeeze out.

In your case, you are very lucky. Unlike ASM, Thermal Fusion 400 is non conductive. I would recommend undoing the heat sink/fan, cleaning up any of the TIM you have on either surface, remove the processor and thoroughly clean it with 90-100% isopropyl alcohol and q-tips. Be careful around the pin grid array if any of the compound got in there, but clean as best you can. Then follow the less is best rule when you reapply the TIM and put it all back together again.
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June 21, 2010 4:04:14 PM

Houndsteeth said:
First, with any thermal interface material (TIM for short), less is best, since all you are trying to do is to fill the small imperfections that exist between the surface of the CPU heat spreader and the heat sink/fan. In the case of Cooler Master Thermal Fusion 400, most retail packages should have come with a razor blade to ease application. After you apply the TIM, you should have an extremely thin layer covering the entire heat spreader or heat sink/fan (but not both). When you apply pressure between the two surfaces, you should have very little squeeze out.

In your case, you are very lucky. Unlike ASM, Thermal Fusion 400 is non conductive. I would recommend undoing the heat sink/fan, cleaning up any of the TIM you have on either surface, remove the processor and thoroughly clean it with 90-100% isopropyl alcohol and q-tips. Be careful around the pin grid array if any of the compound got in there, but clean as best you can. Then follow the less is best rule when you reapply the TIM and put it all back together again.


...are you sure that it is 100% non conductive. :??: 


and i think i cleaned the best i could , but i think there's a little bit on the upper side , below the heat spreader,

just like something below your finger nails,

i tried to clean it with a paper wedge as much i could.

i surely do not have the guts to use a alcoholic liquid,

and now that i have installed the whole PC i really will faint at the idea of doing it all over again,

this was my first cooler master SLI build of my life !!!

i just worry if i use the PC regularly and if things heat up ,

that shouldn't create a trouble or a mess underneath the processor heat spreader. :(  :(  :( 
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June 21, 2010 6:03:05 PM

To be honest, you can even use distilled water as long as you let it dry for 2 or 3 days. Alcohol will be better, though, since it will dry in a matter of minutes. In the past, during the manufacturing process, they used to use chloro-fluoro-carbons to clean parts after manufacturing, but some processes now use anhydrous isopropyl alcohol to clean. I have personally cleaned parts this way myself, with no detrimental effects to the parts.

The part is not ruined by getting wet, but rather by running current through the part while it is wet and forms conductive ions that short out pathways. This is the reason why the first advice given when any electronic device is dropped in water is to let the device dry out completely before you power it back on.
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June 23, 2010 6:32:56 AM

Houndsteeth said:
To be honest, you can even use distilled water as long as you let it dry for 2 or 3 days. Alcohol will be better, though, since it will dry in a matter of minutes. In the past, during the manufacturing process, they used to use chloro-fluoro-carbons to clean parts after manufacturing, but some processes now use anhydrous isopropyl alcohol to clean. I have personally cleaned parts this way myself, with no detrimental effects to the parts.

The part is not ruined by getting wet, but rather by running current through the part while it is wet and forms conductive ions that short out pathways. This is the reason why the first advice given when any electronic device is dropped in water is to let the device dry out completely before you power it back on.


well called up Intel end user support at Bangalore , India

and the support rep told me not to use any liquid what so ever, not even water,

he told me only to use soft cotton to wipe what ever i can.

no liquid to be used :??: 
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June 23, 2010 3:10:16 PM

Alcohol is great because it evaporates very quickly and leaves absolutely no residue behind. Much like some forms of window cleaner, it leaves no streaks because it completly evaporates. I personally feel more comfortable useing alcohol then anything else for cleaning. The abrasion from paper, tissue, q-tips leaving lint particles... I find that thought more detrimental to the cleaning process then alcohol.

If you really cant bring yourself to it though, just be patient. Take your time and clean it as best you can, even if it takes a few hours. make sure you take great care near any parts that would have electricity run through them. Even if its non-conductive, it could also BLOCK current from pins etc. Which is just as bad.

I hope you can fix it ^^ Good luck
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June 24, 2010 5:33:44 AM

ashkaji said:
Alcohol is great because it evaporates very quickly and leaves absolutely no residue behind. Much like some forms of window cleaner, it leaves no streaks because it completly evaporates. I personally feel more comfortable useing alcohol then anything else for cleaning. The abrasion from paper, tissue, q-tips leaving lint particles... I find that thought more detrimental to the cleaning process then alcohol.

If you really cant bring yourself to it though, just be patient. Take your time and clean it as best you can, even if it takes a few hours. make sure you take great care near any parts that would have electricity run through them. Even if its non-conductive, it could also BLOCK current from pins etc. Which is just as bad.

I hope you can fix it ^^ Good luck


thanks for your reply.

tell me one thing.........

even if the thermal compound were conducting, and it did short circuited the processor ....could this have a short circuiting effect on other parts connected to the motherboard like the RAM, Graphic Cards and the system bus ?

could they also burn out due to all this.?
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June 24, 2010 4:17:18 PM

Im not 100% sure. I've never had this problem befor :(  I would just make sure you clean it as best you can.

Heres a similar post on another forum (forgive me toms lol) They suggest buying cleaner designed for your TIM, and carefully go between each pin.

Hope it helps
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