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Alternative to alcoholic cloths to clean thermal paste off CPU

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September 7, 2012 7:10:56 PM

So i got an arctic freezer pro 7 rev 2 heat sink to replace my stock cooler i been using over a year thats horribly loud and has been getting hot.

I was expecting my friend to lend me some of his alcoholic cloths he uses but he ran out. I really cant be bothered to wait for another delivery, it takes ages.

From looking online, i heard that nail polish remover works very well with some tissue or something. What do you think of this idea? Or do you recommend something else.
September 7, 2012 9:20:58 PM

ArctiClean. Cuts through TIM like a hot knife through butter. Make sure you clean up with some coffee filters though.

LordHaHa
a c 188 à CPUs
September 7, 2012 10:10:49 PM

I just use some q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol 91%) to break it down and then coffee filters or used drier sheets to clean it off. Works well and most likely you have it all at home.
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a b à CPUs
September 7, 2012 10:18:40 PM

Just regular rubbing alcohol, Should be about a $1 at your local drugstore. And some kind of cloth. whatever gives the least lint is best. If you're super cereal, then you use scientific lintfree cloths. but as mentioned above, coffee filters is cheap commonly avail form of lintfree cloth. Newspaper or paper napkin/towel is fine in a pinch.

Lol at suggesting a boutique item such as arctiClean when the guy's point is he wants to do it now.

Read the artic silver instructions, they're pretty thorough.

I've mentioned before, people squirm over doing things wrong with their thermal paste, but then you read the article about the TIM inside the chip, and see how Intel just gooped it on, and you realize you're being ocd over nothing.
a b à CPUs
September 7, 2012 11:42:40 PM

Yes, +1 to the above post. Rubbing alcohol and coffee filters are great!
a c 116 à CPUs
September 7, 2012 11:48:07 PM

I wouldn't worry about lint that much. Rubbing alcohol is residue-free so once it dries, any remaining lint on the cleaned surface can be easily blown off with air, canned or otherwise.
a b à CPUs
September 7, 2012 11:50:45 PM

Just don't use WD-40. Some people use that.
a c 116 à CPUs
September 8, 2012 12:14:31 AM

obsama1 said:
Just don't use WD-40. Some people use that.

lol, that could be nasty.

On top of the gooey sticky oily mess this would potentially create, WD40 is formulated to dissolve many types of metal oxides which could mess up electronics and capacitors pretty bad if it gets in... and WD40 is also formulated to work its way into stuff, which further increases the risk of contamination.
September 8, 2012 7:13:58 AM

Just sharing what I use. Isopropyl alcohol works fine too, although I personal prefer using the other stuff and don't mind a small wait for it if it is non-critical (of course I have a couple of vials lying around, so no waiting). If waiting isn't an option, then by all means Iso up. But definitely use coffee filters, they are excellent for cleaning TIM off no matter what chemical solution you use.

Also as far as the nail polish remover, since that one has been left unaddressed, it could be used as a cleaner in so far as it contains acetone. Acetone can be used as a TIM removal agent, but some polish removers are not properly formulated for use as a TIM remover. Also acetone itself is a harsher chemical to work with than Iso. Unless you know what you are getting into, I'd stick with Iso as a corner-store-based TIM removal solution.

LordHaHa
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2012 7:29:14 AM

Yea, like lordhaha said. Isopropyl has water in it... water and electronics don't mix. If it's mission critical then don't use it. But personally, I have had no problems with it. I use Isopropyl with Q-Tips and have had no problems. Q-Tips keep the liquid under control pretty good.
a c 185 à CPUs
September 8, 2012 7:37:14 AM

Read the guide.....
September 8, 2012 10:49:14 AM

Alright ill go get some isoprothing. My local pharmacy may have some.

All i literally want is for my cpu temp to go down to a reasonable temperature and not be so damn loud! (stock cooler is so loud :( )

thanks for the guide amuffin :)  very simple and easy to use
September 8, 2012 12:19:59 PM

Ok i went to the pharmacy and the superstores and they didnt have any :(  They had no rubbing alcohol. They had wipes that were antiseptic and antibacterial, but both were alcohol free... :/ 

I have some nail polish remover that i can use unless you recommend some other household item i can use.

Ingredients : Acetone, aqua, CL 16185

What do you guys think. I really want to get this new heatsink on so i can forget about it and just get on with what i need to do.
a c 116 à CPUs
September 8, 2012 2:12:58 PM

memadmax said:
Yea, like lordhaha said. Isopropyl has water in it... water and electronics don't mix.

Distilled water and alcohol are non-conductive so minor spillage is inconsequential. Since the isopropyl (or any other cleaner for that matter) should be applied to the cleaning towel/cloth/whatever rather than applied directly to the CPU/HSF, spillage should be impossible in the first place. To top that off, the surfaces being cleaned have no electrical significance, it does not really matter whether the cleaning agents used on them are conductive or not.
a c 116 à CPUs
September 8, 2012 2:19:06 PM

pkhamidar2com said:
I have some nail polish remover that i can use unless you recommend some other household item i can use.

Ingredients : Acetone, aqua, CL 16185

What do you guys think.

Acetone is much harsher than alcohol but as long as you can make sure it does not touch anything other than the IHS and HSF it will be fine.
September 8, 2012 2:24:42 PM

what is IHS and HSF?

Does it matter that its coloured and has the cl 16185 thing inside?
a c 116 à CPUs
September 8, 2012 2:49:01 PM

pkhamidar2com said:
what is IHS and HSF?

IHS = Integrated Heat Spreader, the metal "cap" on top of the CPU.
HSF = HeatSink-Fan

As for the acetone's dye, since you should be applying the acetone to the cloth/towel/whateveer before rubbing the IHS/HSF, most of the dye will get soaked and locked up in the cloth. The particle size and concentration left behind on the IHS/HSF should be insignificant.
September 8, 2012 3:14:52 PM

Okay thanks :)  ill be doing it today. The heatsink comes with preapplied thermal paste anyway so i dont really need to add any extra :p 

I just need to remove the stuff from the IHS
a b à CPUs
September 8, 2012 5:41:08 PM

My wife owns a nail salon - they use acetone nail polish remover all the time. Recently she laid her iPhone in its fancy red plastic case down on the nail table, not noticing some spilled acetone on the table. When she picked up her phone a few minutes later, the acetone had eaten most of the plastic off the bottom of the case. Luckily the phone case itself is metal so no damage. But this is why you wanna be real careful and not drip any acetone on any printed circuit boards or anything non-metal inside your PC.

Not to mention acetone fumes won't do your lungs any good whatsoever..
September 8, 2012 5:55:21 PM

Wow i didnt know that, well luckily i was super careful and used loads of qtips in the acetone, dipped it in it, used a tissue to take off excess fluid, and wiped.
!