Cleaning off thermal paste - is it okay for there to be some residue..

... left on the sides of the CPU (but not on the surface of the CPU)? I've been trying to get it out but it just not coming out.

What's the absolutely worst thing that could happen if a little bit of residue from old thermal paste mixes with new thermal paste?
8 answers Last reply
More about cleaning thermal paste residue
  1. i recommend using Isopropyl alcohol
    It takes paste off easily

    otherwise chances are it will probably just run a few degrees C higher than normal
    just watch temps
  2. It is highly recommended to clean up the sides and surface before applying the new one.
  3. I do agree with that
    really do want the old stuff off
    pharmacies sell Isopropyl alcohol real cheap
    abut $2 USD
    so it is worth it
    a bottle will last you years if that is all you use it for
  4. king smp said:
    i recommend using Isopropyl alcohol
    It takes paste off easily

    otherwise chances are it will probably just run a few degrees C higher than normal
    just watch temps


    I did. I've gone at it for like two hours (I'm actually working on three chips) but it's not removing all of it on any of them.
  5. use a coffee filter if you havent tried it
    works great for me
    also if you have a hair dryer available
    then hit it with hottest heat setting

    Chips go over 150f so a hair dryer wont hurt it
    and the heat combined with alcohol should
    loosen it up

    I usually like to clean a cpu off as soon as I take it out of a tower
    for just that reason
    while it is hot the paste is easier to get off
  6. ^good advice so limit my response to your question on effects of NOT removing it.

    You indicated it was on the sides of the cpu, you did get it off the top before reapplying.

    If on top remove HSF and reclean, reapply. The "old" paste will prevent good contact of new paste with surfaces of CPU and HS resulting in higher temps.

    On the sides - If not on pins or traces, I would not sweat it to much.
    If paste is beween pins, or Motherboard traces:
    Most paste, including AS5, is nonconductive, HOWEVER it is capacitive. This means that if it was between to Power traces (ie across the +12V and ground), no effect. Howver if it was across a signal pin and ground, if the signal is High frequence (ie Bus freq) then it could shourt the signal out and overload the circuit that generated the signal.

    Added: there are 2 types of alcohol sold, one is 70% (the other 30 % is water) and then there is 91% - go for the 91%
    Me - I have a source for 100% which is what I use.
  7. RetiredChief said:

    On the sides - If not on pins or traces, I would not sweat it to much.

    Best answer
  8. I got a little paste on the sides the other day while reseating my cooler. It wiped off well enough....
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