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[SOLVED!] Arctic Alumina on the CPU

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May 15, 2009 2:16:28 AM

The story:

I asked a friend to bag some thermal grease while he was at the electronics shop. I hadn't any experience applying thermal grease before, so I assumed Arctic Silver's Arcitc Alumina was alright. After reading the provided instructions, I mixed it up and applied it to the CPU. The heat sink was loose, so the temperatures were sky high. Upon removing the heat sink I discovered that the Alumina wasn't eager to be cleaned off the CPU.

Now, I've applied Arctic Silver 5 on top of the Alumina that is still on the CPU and heat sink. In so far, this hasn't provided any problems, but I'm certainly considerate, and therefore wary, of the situation.


The questions:

1. I've accidentally applied Arctic Silver Arctic Alumina to my CPU. I'm now using Arctic Silver 5 on top of that. Temperatures are approximately 10°C higher. Should I be concerned?
2. What should (can) I do? Is there any way to non-destructively clean the Alumina from the CPU?

Any and all suggestions and ideas welcome! :hello: 
May 15, 2009 2:28:08 AM

Theres some alcohol based cleaning stuff you can get that will remove it i just forget what it is called
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Best solution

May 15, 2009 6:05:20 AM

???? Mixed up? Hate to burst your bubble my friend, but Ceramique is a single compound. If you had to mix it, either:
A) your friend and yourself got ripped off or...

B) you and your friend cant read

Either way, you didnt apply Arctic Silver Ceramique to your CPU. If there was mixing involved, you got a thermal adhesive, which is very bad news for your CPU.

EDIT: And your heatsink. Had you not separated them, there still might be a chance. At this point, your best option is to research 'CPU Lapping'. For safest results, I suggest reading http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252168-29-heatsink-lapping-guides

Be certain to read my post, the guide has been changed since I used it. Also, there are several sources online that contradict some of the info in the original post. Take time to google and research the work required before you undertake lapping your setup.
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a c 172 à CPUs
May 15, 2009 2:18:16 PM

The simplest way to clean thermal compound is with isopropyl alcohol and pieces of clean paper coffee filter or an old lint free T-shirt.

I have used AS5 and Ceramique (not together) and I have seen little difference in temperatures.

And if the heatsink is loose, it wasn't installed properly.
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May 15, 2009 6:34:23 PM

^ +1, Use something like Isopropyl Alcohol to clean off the remaining thermal compound, I use the one with 99% alcohol in it.
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May 16, 2009 1:34:54 AM

Nope! It was Arctic Alumina. The ceramic subtitle threw me off.

Thanks for the information on lapping, B-Unit.
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May 16, 2009 2:00:48 AM

The second.
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a b à CPUs
May 16, 2009 2:17:50 AM

Ah, well that's... bad.
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May 16, 2009 3:49:49 AM

The second is usually for things you want to stuck togather for ever.. for example if you have a heatsink for some old GPU that didn't have any "clip" to hold them off they use simular products as this(cheaper though). The way that the company says to remove this..if it's stuck(CPU+Heatsink).. put it in the fridge leave it for some minutes and try to remove it..

P.S. watch the pins if we are talking for a cpu with pins.
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May 16, 2009 3:55:34 AM

The second is usually for things you want to stuck togather for ever.. for example if you have a heatsink for some old GPU that didn't have any "clip" to hold them off they use simular products as this(cheaper though). The way that the company says to remove this(if I remember well which I'm pretty sure that I'm)..if it's stuck(CPU+Heatsink).. put it in the fridge leave it for some minutes and try to remove it..

P.S. watch the pins if we are talking for a cpu with pins, btw in the past.. more than hmm 8+ years I had the same issue with my brothers gpu heatsink, we want to remove it after we put that thermal compound but the freeze way that the company recommanded didn't work very well so I took my brain and did the exacly opposite. I put some heat to the heatsink and when it reached some serious temperature I remove it with force(and a towel so my hand didn't burn).. this way I can guarantee that it will work(it worked for me) BUT if you try that you need to be EXTRA carefull you can damage the cpu if you melt it :p  ..it needs some experience heh
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May 16, 2009 5:59:05 AM

Quote from
http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina_thermal_adhe...

" Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive IS NOT intended to be used between a CPU and the CPU heatsink.
On a CPU, only use Arctic Silver Thermal Compound or Arctic Alumina Thermal Compound."

You still have to clean off the old "thermal adhesive" before reapplying real thermal "compound", lol. You might want to get the 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. I usually just use soft paper towel, but the suggestion above for the clean paper coffee filter and an lint free t-shirt is a good method to use too.
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a c 126 à CPUs
May 16, 2009 8:16:17 AM

More than likely he will have to lap it off since its a permanent adhesive.

Goole Lapping. Its simple and effective.
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May 16, 2009 3:05:48 PM

AKM880 said:
Quote from
http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina_thermal_adhe...

" Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive IS NOT intended to be used between a CPU and the CPU heatsink.
On a CPU, only use Arctic Silver Thermal Compound or Arctic Alumina Thermal Compound."

You still have to clean off the old "thermal adhesive" before reapplying real thermal "compound", lol. You might want to get the 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. I usually just use soft paper towel, but the suggestion above for the clean paper coffee filter and an lint free t-shirt is a good method to use too.


Alcohol and coffee filters arn't gonna touch this. Its a bonding epoxy like JB Weld except it conducts heat pretty well. Trust me, it will have to be lapped off.

Also note that you dont nessisarily have to take your CPU down to copper, just lap it enuf to get the compound off.
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May 16, 2009 5:15:48 PM

rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab works well.
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May 16, 2009 6:02:33 PM

B-Unit said:
Alcohol and coffee filters arn't gonna touch this. Its a bonding epoxy like JB Weld except it conducts heat pretty well. Trust me, it will have to be lapped off.

Also note that you dont nessisarily have to take your CPU down to copper, just lap it enuf to get the compound off.


Oh wow that stuff bonds that well :lol:  , I guess that'll be the only suitable choice, lapping it.
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May 30, 2009 8:17:47 PM

Good news!

I lapped the heat spread only until some copper was visible. Although I couldn't evenly sand the heat sink, I wanted to test it with the cleaned CPU. Temperatures fell from 60°C to 40°C.

After replacing that stock Intel heat sink with Xigmatek's S1284, temperatures fell to ~30°C.


Many thanks to all those who provided helpful suggestions and those who attempted to help.

BIG, BIG thanks to B-Unit, for saving myself the cost of a new processor, and randomizer for his patience! THANK YOU!
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October 21, 2013 8:42:42 AM

caroettger said:
Artic Alumina on it own is suitable for use on a heatsink and should be only one tube, no mixing http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina.htm

But they also produce a product called Artic Alumina thermal adhesive and this is a two part product that is mixed and should not be used for heatsink. http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_alumina_thermal_adhe...

Simular names makes it confusing.


Hey guys I used PART B alone. When I bought this I thought I was just getting to arctic silver thermal paste... I didn't know it was adhesive!!

Like I said I only put PART B on the CPU. I didn't mix it like it says to do so will I be able to separate the CPU from the heat sink? I haven't even opened up my computer case because I'm dreading trying to pull it apart and feel that it is stuck :( 
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