Need help with reapplying thermal paste on stock Core I7 heatsink

Hello there. My missus' I7 has been overheating lately, and a quick inspection found the heatsink loose on top of the chip. Fastening it down properly didn't seem to help at all. I bought some new thermal grease to see if that along with a properly-fitted heatsink would solve the problem. I'll be re-using the stock heatsink along with Arctic MX-2 paste. I'm just wondering a few things:

How do I get the actual heatsink off?
Is pure acetone okay to use for removing the old paste/do I need to wash that off with anything or does it evaporate?
Should I lift the chip out to get the paste off the top of it, or leave it in the socket and wipe gently with a q-tip and acetone?
Is a q-tip sufficient to spread out the new grease and how should I go about applying it? In 3 strips like the default paste?

Sorry for the barrage of questions!
7 answers Last reply
More about need reapplying thermal paste stock core heatsink
  1. You don't have to take the chip out, actually I wouldn't recommend it. That's just an unnecessary extra step. Qtips are what I use and 90+isopropyl alcohol. I remember reading some acetones can melt some types of plastic so be careful, the alcohol method is better in my opinion.

    You just clen the surfaces with alcohol and the q tips, wait for it to dry and blow out the tiny cotton residue left over.

    I would put a small peasize dot in the middle of the chip for the stock heatsink, maybe around the size of this------> (-)
  2. Simple advice, thanks a lot. Any idea on how to pry the heatsink off the motherboard? It's stuck on there like a leech on a fat man's inner thighs.
  3. Personally I like to use coffee filter or a used dryer sheet to wipe off most of the old paste and then use the Qtips and alcohol to clean the rest off. Then wipe it down again with a clean filter or dryer sheet before putting on the new thermal paste.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
  4. To remove the HSF (heatsink/fan) you will see 4 little twist screws they have an arrow that directs you to turn them clockwise, turn each of them counter clockwise and pull each of them up in turn. Don’t try to pull HSF straight up give it a twist and that should break it loose from the old thermal paste and then you can lift it straight up and out of the case. Make sure you unplug the HSF from the board.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
  5. lol @ leech on fat man's inner thighs. Intel suggested to correct way, a little turn will work. You definitely don't want to force it, you can damage the mobo that way.
  6. ^ I agree, coffee filters work good.
    Thats probably why it was overheating too because you didn't seat the heatsink properly. When you reseat, you have to press all 4 of the pins hard through the mobo then twist.
    I'd recommend using the card method when applying thermal paste, search it up. It takes longer, results might be the same as the pea method, but at least you ensure good and even spread throughout the whole CPU. You only want to do this once anyways so why not take time and do it good the first time.
  7. For me to put on an Intel® stock HSF on a board I dont even try it in the case any more. Take the board out of the case and it is really easy to make sure the clips are all the way through and locked in place.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
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