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Replacing Thermal Paste - Remove CPU from socket?

I've been using a CoolerMaster heatsing on my i7-820 for more than a year now. When I moved my pc this weekend the heatsink came loose and it appears the thermal paste on the contacts has outlived its usefulness (its dry, and my assumption is that when the seal is broken its not of much use anymore).


Been reading up on cleaning thermal paste and re-applying. But I'm curious as to whether I should physically remove my cpu from the socket? If I do this, should I have to format or anything or will everything just boot up as per normal?
45 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about replacing thermal paste remove socket
  1. I would take it out to take off the paste. That is what I did. Take it out, remove the paste, put it back in, and re-apply the paste.
  2. No need to remove the cpu to clean and re-apply compound and heatsink.
  3. Yeah, you don't NEED to, I would do it just to make sure I get a good cleaning.
  4. Best answer
    davcon said:
    No need to remove the cpu to clean and re-apply compound and heatsink.


    +1
    by not removing the cpu it reduces chance of pins or socket being damaged
    or having something conductive falling in socket for example Artic Silver 5 silver paste
  5. king smp said:
    +1
    by not removing the cpu it reduces chance of pins or socket being damaged
    or having something conductive falling in socket for example Artic Silver 5 silver paste

    Yes, you don't need to, but I would. I would apply it well it was in the motherboard though. Just to make sure it was clean I would take it out.
  6. Best answer selected by boomer2point0.
  7. Lol! oh well!
    At least we got the point across boomer2point.
    Not only is there a risk of unnecessary cpu damage if removed.
    In some cases it may also involve reseting your bios/cmos.
  8. Thank you for selecting me as Best Answer
    +1 to Davcon
    Too bad you cant share best answers :)
  9. Well... Thanks for NOT selecting me as best answer... :lol: It means a lot! haha :pt1cable:
  10. +1 to all the above. It depends on what you are personally comfortable with. I never liked removing the CPU because the one time I took it out, the pins totally scared me as one clumsy move and you might end up with a dead mobo which may as well go into the garbage.

    My recent heatsink clean and application involved not removing the CPU but carefully wiping off the previous thermal paste with the CPU in socket. Do remember to use a reasonable amount of alcohol when cleaning. Too much and some of it might just seep into the CPU socket.
  11. HostileDonut said:
    Well... Thanks for NOT selecting me as best answer... :lol: It means a lot! haha :pt1cable:



    Go watch your hockey you sore loser! :D
    Even Gretzky lost some
  12. Can just taking the CPU out of socket ruin it? I don't think it can, so if you are careful, it won't really matter. The pins aren't that easy to break. I mean, if you screw around with them they are easy, but if you hold it by the sides and are very careful, you will be fine.
  13. king smp said:
    Go watch your hockey you sore loser! :D
    Even Gretzky lost some

    Who is Gretzky? You use terms I don't even know... :( I am now very sad.
  14. HostileDonut said:
    Who is Gretzky? You use terms I don't even know... :( I am now very sad.


    Dont be sad young one
    Wayne Gretzky is one of the greatest if no THE greatest hockey players of all time
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Gretzky
    if you are famiiar with NBA
    he is the Michael Jordan of Hockey
  15. Oh, I don't even watch hockey though! Is it even relevant?
  16. Wayne Gretzky FTW. I'm personally a Jagr fan, but oh well... ehem...
    I see what you're saying, Hostile, and yes, you lessen the chance of damage by being careful. By not taking it out at all, though, there are zero chances of damaging a pin at all, which I feel is enough to counter the fact that you might not get every last micron of compound out of a corner somewhere. Just my $0.02.
  17. someguynamedmatt said:
    Wayne Gretzky FTW. I'm personally a Jagr fan, but oh well... ehem...
    I see what you're saying, Hostile, and yes, you lessen the chance of damage by being careful. By not taking it out at all, though, there are zero chances of damaging a pin at all, which I feel is enough to counter the fact that you might not get every last micron of compound out of a corner somewhere. Just my $0.02.

    Yeah, either way is fine, I would just take it out. I trust myself. :lol: What does my 2 cents mean?
  18. Just a saying a few people use. Basically, it's "Just my opinion". Personally, I'd actually do the same thing as you - I trust myself enough to be able to do the job properly. Some other people, though... not so much. :D
  19. Haha, yes.
  20. HostileDonut said:
    Oh, I don't even watch hockey though! Is it even relevant?


    No not at all
    I was joking with Davcon
    He is major canadian hockey fanatic :)

    Really he is first person with the same answer as me
    and should have had Best Answer so he is upset in a friendly way
  21. someguynamedmatt said:
    Just a saying a few people use. Basically, it's "Just my opinion". Personally, I'd actually do the same thing as you - I trust myself enough to be able to do the job properly. Some other people, though... not so much. :D


    Heh!!!

    I have swapped many CPUs
    but for example I refurbed a S478 tower for my
    wife as a browser/email maching
    so I popped off the HSF and cleaned the heat spreader
    instead of taking out CPU

    If anybody remembers the horrors of the P4 Socket 478 cpu pin days
    you DO NOT want to remove it if you dont have to LOL :)

    You guys that started off with LGA775 (Land Grid Array style pads)
    dont know how easy you have it
  22. I took a Celeron or a P4 out of a mobo, and I had no issues. I just pulled it out, and put it back in. By the way, how do you refurbish a machine?
  23. I've only had to clean old compound off one time- on a CPU that was a couple of years old. The compound wiped off pretty well just with a rag, then I used a rag moistened with alcohol to get the rest of it off. If the compound was harder or had dried more, it might have taken more effort and removing the cpu from the socket might have been helpful.
  24. Refurbishing 101
    1) find a good deal on off lease or office upgrade towers and buy as a lot
    2) blow out tower with canned air and then use a diagnostic tool (Hirens Boot Cd, Memtest86 etc) and check
    hard drive SMART status,memory erros,motherboard,optical read/write etc
    3) if it passes all tests then install fresh legal OS (use existing COA on tower)
    4) once OS is installed then clone the drive if all computers are the same model
    and image the rest
    5) run Prime95 with temp monitoring for at least an hour or more
    to check stability

    if you really want to be good then remove HSF and clean/apply fresh
    paste WITHOUT REMOVING THE CPU LOL

    then use Craigslist,consignment shops,flea markets etc to sell
    towers for %100 profit :)
  25. cadder said:
    I've only had to clean old compound off one time- on a CPU that was a couple of years old. The compound wiped off pretty well just with a rag, then I used a rag moistened with alcohol to get the rest of it off. If the compound was harder or had dried more, it might have taken more effort and removing the cpu from the socket might have been helpful.


    I always like to run the computer for awhile then remove paste while still warm
    taking it off a cpu that has been cold awhile is harder
  26. king smp said:
    Refurbishing 101
    1) find a good deal on off lease or office upgrade towers and buy as a lot
    2) blow out tower with canned air and then use a diagnostic tool (Hirens Boot Cd, Memtest86 etc) and check
    hard drive SMART status,memory erros,motherboard,optical read/write etc
    3) if it passes all tests then install fresh legal OS (use existing COA on tower)
    4) once OS is installed then clone the drive if all computers are the same model
    and image the rest
    5) run Prime95 with temp monitoring for at least an hour or more
    to check stability

    if you really want to be good then remove HSF and clean/apply fresh
    paste WITHOUT REMOVING THE CPU LOL

    then use Craigslist,consignment shops,flea markets etc to sell
    towers for %100 profit :)

    What does cloning the drives mean? I looked it up on Wiki and didn't really get it. I am still learning, haha. :lol: By the way, isn't it funny how we always get into some big conversation? I just thought it was kinda funny.
  27. You started it!

    download Paragon Backup and Recovery (freeware-google it)
    you can image a drive from the windows os but it is better to create a boot
    cd
    you would boot from the cd
    using a Linuz kernel you can now
    "clone" or "image" a drive
    it is a sector by sector direct copy of your hard drive
    including the Master Boot Record
    that you put on a second hard drive or USB external (takes forever-I just did mine
    today 70gb OS took about 4 hours)
    then when your hard drive crashes or your OS is ruinded by viruses etc
    you can just "clone" or "copy" your image to your C drive and
    have your OS just the same as when you "cloned"

    Pretty sweet
    Instead of doing a complete reinstall which can sometimes take days
    to do
    you can have your OS back up complete with all your programs,files,settings etc
    in just a few hours
  28. I know I started it... :lol: So basically you just put your OS on a flash drive, and re-install it to your C drive and it = a win? ("a win" = a new OS) :lol:
  29. Is it like RAID 1? That is what it sounds like. 2 1tb HDDs giving you 1tb and if one crashes, you pop in a new one and the other (older )writes to the new one. Is that what you are talking about?
  30. Nope
    a complete sector by sector copy of your hard drive= image
    backedup to another hard drive (my Win7 complete OS boot drive is about 70gb)
    then you just copy from the external hard drive back on to your primary hard drive (C)
    a jump drive wouldnt work usually since you need 20gb or more of storage

    in raid 1 each drive has half of the data and used together as one drive

    this is an exact copy or clone of your hard drive that can be copied back
    onto another drive and then you just boot into it and it is your complete OS

    Win ? Ultimate = an OS you can never find your files on?
  31. So basically you just copy your OS to a external drive and boot to that?
  32. Yes
    though to boot you would want to copy to another internal sata model
    Of course you can make boot drives out of USB drives even thumb drives
    Linuz boots nice off of a thumb drive
    very handy for diagnostics
    but that is a subject for another time :)

    Cloning is good for backup
    IF my OS crashes due to virus or file error
    I can just copy my image back to C drive
    and have my OS back the same

    also good if you are upgrading to a larger drive
    and want to keep your OS the same

    also in the IT world when they have a large amount of the same
    model computer to put an OS on
    they can copy the same image to 10,20 or more at one time
    over the network so they dont have to do a complete installation on
    every one
    You just have to enter the product key for each tower unless you
    have a VLK (volume license key -same key can be used for many computers-cost a small fortune)
    cloning or imaging is a basic tool you need to learn to work on computers
    remember paragon backup is free and safe
  33. Thanks! You are a lot of help. :)
  34. No problem
    What was this thread about again? :)
  35. Ummm, something about monster trucks I think... Maybe? Maybe not?
  36. Bigfoot Rulz!
  37. king smp said:
    Bigfoot Rulz!

    Haha, didn't even know what that was until I binged it. I looks AWESOME! MONSTER TRUCKS FOR THE WIN! :pt1cable: :lol: :ouch: :o :bounce: :D
  38. well the OP selected best answer
    so just waiting for thread to be closed

    How you like my new avatar/quote?
  39. Yes, I noticed you changed them. I like your quote! That is hilarious! :lol: LOVE IT! Also, your picture is funny. My dad feels like that sometimes. He worked at Microsoft, and didn't like it after a while. (12 years) He now works at Ultimate Software. When he helps he with my computer, sometimes, I know he feels like the computer is punching him in the face. I have seen many people have issues with there computer and get mad and say, "PCs are stupid! They never work!" but, that is just because they don't have a clue how to use them. ID-10-T error! Haha.

    Hey, did you ever get the new PSP for your daughter and mod her old one? Just wondering, I thought it would be pretty cool if you did. I need to learn how to code too and be able to mod and stuff like that.
  40. actually got her a PSP 3000 ( i hate the PSP GO)
    Now when the Sony NGP (PSP3)comes out
    and gets cheap enough :)
    I will use her PSP


    modding is really flashing the firmware (BIOS in a way) of the
    unit

    I dont recommend it if you cant afford to replace it
    It is similar to flashing a bios on a video card

    I wouldnt recommend you doing it on anything you
    have since Dad could get mad

    Really though I did some more digging on modding
    the PSP and it really only helps with bootleg games
    so I am not going to do it

    Bootleg games are more trouble than they are worth
    Usually malware and rootkits
  41. No, my dad wouldn't get mad, he just wouldn't buy a new one. He would be frustrated though. he is pretty laid bad, he just gets,... confused and frustrated, that's all. What is a Bootleg game and rootkits? You use many words I do not know... :( But please, keep doing that, it helps me learn! :)
  42. Okay, I know what a rootkit is now, but not a bootleg game.
  43. Bootleg games are bad!
    Dont worry about learning about them

    Rootkit is in simple terms a deeply embedded virus in your OS
    Trying to get them out is tough from within the OS
    Running Sophos Rootkit Remover while in safe mode is ok
    a rootkit remover that runs from live Linux Boot CD is better

    Have you tried dual booting an OS?
    for example running Windows with Ubuntu Linux?
    so you have your choice at boot which OS you want

    also another interesting safe and free program
    is Oracle's Virtual Box Virtual machine
    VMs are essentially other guest OSes that run from within a shell
    inside the Host or Primary OS

    so for example you can have Windows XP running from within Windows 7 sharing
    resources
    you can designate how many cores the guest OS uses plus hard drive size and memory used

    handy for trying new OSes especially Linux distros and also
    a safe way to browse the internet since most viruses can only attack the Guest OS
    and not escape to the Host OS

    Remember Bing (I prefer Google) is your best friend for learning about computers
    Also wikipedia is great for studying computers though do remember to check what sources are being used since Wikipedia is a open project
  44. HostileDonut said:
    Yes, I noticed you changed them. I like your quote! That is hilarious! :lol: LOVE IT! Also, your picture is funny. My dad feels like that sometimes. He worked at Microsoft, and didn't like it after a while. (12 years) He now works at Ultimate Software. When he helps he with my computer, sometimes, I know he feels like the computer is punching him in the face. I have seen many people have issues with there computer and get mad and say, "PCs are stupid! They never work!" but, that is just because they don't have a clue how to use them. ID-10-T error! Haha.

    Hey, did you ever get the new PSP for your daughter and mod her old one? Just wondering, I thought it would be pretty cool if you did. I need to learn how to code too and be able to mod and stuff like that.


    I cant take any credit at all for that quote
    that is an old IT joke from so long ago I dont think anybody knows who invented it

    I like that picture because when I am doing phone consultation and using remote desktop with one
    of my customers I sometimes daydream of Virtual Reality Punch program to use

    Dont get me wrong
    I appreciate the people that need help
    but sometimes they can frustrate you

    I actually had somebody ask "What does the PWR button do?
  45. king smp said:
    I cant take any credit at all for that quote
    that is an old IT joke from so long ago I dont think anybody knows who invented it

    I like that picture because when I am doing phone consultation and using remote desktop with one
    of my customers I sometimes daydream of Virtual Reality Punch program to use

    Dont get me wrong
    I appreciate the people that need help
    but sometimes they can frustrate you

    I actually had somebody ask "What does the PWR button do?

    Power, Word, Retard! That is what PWR stands for. :lol: Yeah, I use Bing and Wiki, but I also like getting in-depth things from you guys. I can actually talk back and get the answer I am looking for.
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