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

Last response: in CPUs
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March 31, 2011 5:00:17 PM

... 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?
a b à CPUs
March 31, 2011 5:05:25 PM

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
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March 31, 2011 5:06:01 PM

It is highly recommended to clean up the sides and surface before applying the new one.
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2011 5:13:35 PM

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
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March 31, 2011 5:13:41 PM

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.
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2011 5:20:48 PM

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
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2011 6:30:42 PM

^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.
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a b à CPUs
March 31, 2011 6:38:04 PM

RetiredChief said:

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

Best answer
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April 1, 2011 5:12:44 PM

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