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Loose CPU Fan

Several questions:

1. How tight should a standard Intel CPU fan sit on the CPU? I'm guessing it should be tight.

2. I have tried taking the fan off and reinstalling it but it the posts don't seem to want to stay down. I press them in, turn them and hear them click but the fan still comes up loose from the CPU. Any suggestions? Am I doing something wrong?

3. Do the posts on the fans "wear out"? Will they just pop loose one day? I built this system about 3 years ago.

4. Do I need to reapply thermal paste when I reinstall the fan? (I wonder where I put that tube. Does it go bad?) I guess the answer is yes, so the next question is which type? Metal, Ceramic, Silicone, Pad, etc.

And

5. I was fiddling with the fan while I was waiting for answers from y'all. So how to you undo the post thing that spreads the prongs apart?
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  1. Best answer
    1: they are usually pretty tight
    2: the only time I've run into this is when it was improperly removed.
    3: if improperly removed, yes
    4: Yes reapply.
    ....No I dont know where you put it either
    ....Yes they have a shelf life which the manufacturer should specify
    .... Doesnt matter unless your going for a high overclock. Theres only a few degrees seperating good from great pastes.
  2. Thanks popatim. I got the fan back in and running.

    1. I got it to seat tight.
    2. I must have either misunderstood the video instructions or my fan is backwards. I kept trying to start with the arrows in a position that I would turn them counter clockwise to lock them. I finally decided to try it the opposite way and that locked them down.
    3. The fan appears to be fine.
    4. A local computer shop sells a packet for a buck that has enough to do a couple of systems. Good thing since I put too much on the first try and it squeezed out the sides. Note: Clean the old stuff off first with rubbing alchohol, or vodka if you are having as much trouble with the fan as I was.

    Thanks again.
  3. Best answer selected by BlueCat57.
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