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CPU overheating - install liquid cooling?

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June 3, 2012 6:20:37 PM

I run my computer on stock cooling. When I play computer games like CoD: MW4 and Tribes Ascend, I use an external fan to blow air into the computer. The motherboard, CPU, and GPU tends to stay fairly low and regular in temperature when I do so, I monitor hardware temperature with HWMonitor. Recently, I was running OCR software on a PDF file while simultaneously watching a 1080p mkv file with Media Player Classic (without the external fan running). I was not running HWMonitor at the time because I did not think it would be a problem, and my computer shut off during the processes (probably because of overheating). Now, when I watch 720p and 1080p media files, the temperature of my CPU can reach above 100 degrees Celsius, sometime after which the computer usually shuts off. I can blow air into the computer using my external fan while watching the media files, but there will still be temperature spikes (above 100 degrees sometimes) and I will still experience power shut off. I've taken the computer, blown out all the dust, unmounted the CPU heatsink and cleaned it and the processor and reapplied thermal paste, but I still experience severe overheating sometimes during certain processes. I've hadn't noticed or had this problem since I ran the OCR software with media file that time. When the temperature outside the house is high, even while blowing the fan into the computer, I cannot reach the Windows start up screen without the computer shutting off. I'm wondering whether it sounds like it's time to buy a new processor or whether my situation can potentially be salvaged by purchasing a liquid cooling system? If not either of these, any other suggestions for what might be going on or what could possibly be done to help would be most greatly appreciated.

My CPU idles around 45-55 degrees Celsius.

Thank you.
a b à CPUs
June 3, 2012 6:31:14 PM

Maybe your current air cooling system is not working properly. The cooler must be attached and there must be good quality thermal paste.

Try placing the computer on its side and see if temperatures get lower. If they do then most likely means that the cooler is not attached as firmly as it should, because gravity is helping you on its side, but working against you when its standing up. Try also re-applying thermal paste with something good such as Arctic Silver.

Many people underestimate the effectiveness of properly made air-cooling solutions. There are cases and HSF's out there that can cool CPU's overclocked to absolute extremes due to highly researched heat dissipation measures, size, and fans paired with a good motherboard and thermal paste for contact.
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a b à CPUs
June 3, 2012 6:47:31 PM

I am not doing anything overly stressful to my PC atm or anything, but atm my Ivy cores are sitting at a frosty 30 - 35c with the stock dispersal fan.

If your cores sit at 45 - 55 at idle, that sounds to me like a heat sink that isn't doing its job right.

It may be the paste not being applied correctly or the heat sink isn't fastened all the way in or something, but it sounds like a problem somewhere in there.

Ivy is known to run hot and I don't know if I have seen any of my cores pass 42c, though its not like I stress test my CPU all the time or anything.

How are you applying this paste? How much are you applying? Are you sure the heat sink is all the way in?

The Intel heat sinks kinda suck with the push pin mounting plates and stuff. Human error is very easy with those.

For that matter I am kinda surprised that anyone could do it correctly at all.

I had the hardest time with my Intel push pin setup. I still don't understand how it is working now. Some pins are clearly pushed farther in than others and there is no way for me to get all the pins on the same "standard" insertion level. Some are in what looks like too far and others it feels like I will snap them if I try to get them in far enough.

I would toy around with the paste and heat sink mounting if I were you.

I don't know how you were applying paste before, but I would aim for one dot in the center of the processor about as big as a lentil and let the heat sink itself spread the paste as you fasten the heat sink into place.

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a c 121 à CPUs
June 3, 2012 7:00:20 PM

blackhawk1928 said:
Maybe your current air cooling system is not working properly. The cooler must be attached and there must be good quality thermal paste.

The importance of quality TIM is relative and is unnecessary at stock clocks and voltages. When properly applied, even mayonnaise, toothpaste, butter and cream cheese do adequate jobs at as temporary TIMs. Toothpaste and mayonnaise even beat many of the worst real TIMs.

Any half-decent aluminum oxide or zinc oxide should do a vastly sufficient job at stock speeds. Since the OP probably has the stock HSF, if he's had it for a few years I'm guessing the HSF is no longer applying sufficient contact force due to mechanical aging in which case the TIM makes little to no difference. Changing the TIM might help fill the gaps left behind by insufficient contact force for a while but once excess paste flows out over the next week or so, thermal problems will come back as voids reforming.
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a b à CPUs
June 3, 2012 7:32:02 PM

Do you have benchmark temperatures for mayonnaise, toothpaste, butter, and cream cheese?

I would be really interested to read that article.

I use Arctic Silver 5 for my PC and I am not about to use mayonnaise regardless what an article says, but I would really like to see that article even still.

Not that I think the best of the best paste is absolutely necessary, but its usually cheap enough not to need to save money on that line item expense by going with lesser brands. I think my paste was like $5 or something and it should probably have enough for like a dozen applications.

I would suggest to re-apply the paste because maybe it wasn't applied right the first time and maybe it got air pockets or something, but I would say to just do it with whatever he already has and not bother getting some new kind because it supposedly works better.
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a c 121 à CPUs
June 3, 2012 8:46:20 PM

Raiddinn said:
Do you have benchmark temperatures for mayonnaise, toothpaste, butter, and cream cheese?

I would be really interested to read that article.

Here goes HardwareSecrets' TIM roundup with non-conventional materials once again:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermal-Compound...

Mayonnaise is the best-performing makeshift TIM, outperforming many conventional pastes by 2-3C and tailing AS5 by only 2C.

The CPU used in that roundup is i7-860 overclocked to 3.3GHz (+500MHz) at stock core voltage.
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a b à CPUs
June 3, 2012 9:57:18 PM

Thanks for that link, I guess I missed it the first time you posted it wherever that was.

It is interesting that chocolate is actually worse than nothing.
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a c 121 à CPUs
June 3, 2012 10:41:01 PM

Raiddinn said:
It is interesting that chocolate is actually worse than nothing.

That surprised me as well until I started pondering probable causes.

My guess is that ground cocoa has much worse intrinsic heat transfer capacity than anything else due to being vegetable matter on top of probably having much more coarse particles than anything else.

Even finely ground cocoa or coffee beans have particles easily detectable by the naked eye on a white background while good thermal pastes use nanoparticles which are effectively invisible.
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a c 192 à CPUs
June 3, 2012 10:57:47 PM

it the sugar in the candy. it got a low cooking temp so when it heated...to body temp you get mushed candy bar.
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a c 121 à CPUs
June 4, 2012 12:24:55 AM

smorizio said:
it the sugar in the candy. it got a low cooking temp so when it heated...to body temp you get mushed candy bar.

You need at least 140C to start caramelizing sugar otherwise it remains solid or dissolved in whatever liquid(s) it was mixed in. Since CPUs have a thermal cut-off at 105C or less, they simply cannot get hot enough to 'melt' sugar.

What does melt at low temperature is the fat/oils that help bind everything together.
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June 11, 2012 8:30:16 PM

Raiddinn said:
I am not doing anything overly stressful to my PC atm or anything, but atm my Ivy cores are sitting at a frosty 30 - 35c with the stock dispersal fan.

If your cores sit at 45 - 55 at idle, that sounds to me like a heat sink that isn't doing its job right.

It may be the paste not being applied correctly or the heat sink isn't fastened all the way in or something, but it sounds like a problem somewhere in there.

Ivy is known to run hot and I don't know if I have seen any of my cores pass 42c, though its not like I stress test my CPU all the time or anything.

How are you applying this paste? How much are you applying? Are you sure the heat sink is all the way in?

The Intel heat sinks kinda suck with the push pin mounting plates and stuff. Human error is very easy with those.

For that matter I am kinda surprised that anyone could do it correctly at all.

I had the hardest time with my Intel push pin setup. I still don't understand how it is working now. Some pins are clearly pushed farther in than others and there is no way for me to get all the pins on the same "standard" insertion level. Some are in what looks like too far and others it feels like I will snap them if I try to get them in far enough.

I would toy around with the paste and heat sink mounting if I were you.

I don't know how you were applying paste before, but I would aim for one dot in the center of the processor about as big as a lentil and let the heat sink itself spread the paste as you fasten the heat sink into place.


Hi Guys,

Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy with work the last week or so! I read over your responses to my query. Thank you, really, for all your input, I think there's quite a bit more that I understand due to your help. I thought the heatsink may not have had enough contact with the CPU like suggested, and so I tipped over my tower and did a temperature check with HWMonitor but I still experienced overheating and temperature spikes. The suggestion that the thermal paste was applied incorrectly was the next thing I looked into. I removed the heatsink and the CPU came off with it because I had lined the processor with a good amount of paste. That caused the processor prongs to get bent so I spent over an hour realigning some of them with an ID card and tweezers. After that, I removed the existing thermal paste with rubbing alcohol and applied new paste using the "middle dot method". After booting up the system, I did a temperature check using HWMonitor and the processor was idling around 37 degrees Celsius. I played a 1080p mkv file and the temperature did not break 67 degrees Celsius. It seems the main culprit was the fact that I had applied the thermal paste incorrectly previously. The temperatures I'm reading now do not spike and are much closer to what I remember them to be. The issue seems to be resolved, thank you all again!!
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June 11, 2012 8:33:09 PM

Best answer selected by jiuzhaigou.
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a b à CPUs
June 11, 2012 8:50:46 PM

Glad you could get it working.

Sucks about the pin bending thing. Once they go in it is really hard to get them back out without damage because of the way paste cements them together like that. Glad you could get it realigned again.
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