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Got thermal paste on green part of CPU

Last response: in Systems
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October 9, 2012 2:37:56 PM

I should mention right now that I am a first time builder. To make a long story short, yesterday I removed my heatsink (Hyper 212) from my CPU (i5-3570K) for the third time in two days. I got everything cleaned and it was looking good until I noticed that there is a small amount of thermal paste on the green part of the CPU, on the left side. It's about a centimeter or two away from the contacts on that side, so the paste shouldn't be touching any contacts.

I would have tried cleaning it last night, but the paste is dryed on. I do not not the best method fro cleaning dry paste off of that part of the CPU, so I decided it was for me to ask for help. Should I try to removed the paste, or will it not be issue with where it is right now?
October 9, 2012 4:48:02 PM

I figure I should add a few more details to my problem.

The first time I installed my heatsink, I installed off center, and I probably used too much thermal paste. When I placed the heatsink on the first time, I put on a dot of paste and then placed the heatsink on the CPU. The second time around, I put on a dot of paste but instead I spread it on the CPU using a plastic bag over my hand. I am not sure which of these two incidents would have caused the errant thermal paste, but I think it might have been the first one. When I removed the heatsink, the thermal paste was only spread over the left half of the CPU, with nothing on the right side. I should also mention that I used the stock thermal paste that came with the 212.

I should also add that before I removed the heatsink a second time (not a third time, made a mistake in the first post), I was able to get an external build to boot on my monitor. I got a CPU fan error, which I found is normal for a Hyper 212. I think my CPU is running fine, but I just want to check to make sure. A Google search didn't turn up many results, but from what I found, as long as I didn't get anything on the contacts, my CPU should be fine even if I don't remove the paste. Should I be good to go, or should I try to remove it myself, or contact Intel about removing it?
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October 9, 2012 4:59:14 PM

I had a similar issue, but with a video card, I opened it and found a big blob of thermal compound which I removed with a thermal compound remover, and I found a lot of thermal residue around the GPU itself, I contacted MSI and asked if it was fine to remove it, and I was told it was fine but to let it dry good before turning it on.( To prevent any shorts.)

I don't know if a CPU would be the same thing, or if they are more delicate.

TIP : You should always put the "grain of rice" method, just a tiny little bit of thermal compound, too much is bad, it can raise temperatures, and I saw this when I removed the GPU's heatsink and it looked like a big piece of gum, wish I had taken a picture, and I fixed my video card overheating problem, and I just put a tiny bit of thermal compound.
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October 9, 2012 5:00:53 PM

Rubbing alcohol works but you also bought the components from somewhere, you can also buy a thermal paste cleaning kit. The CPU fan error is normal as normal motherboards come set at a stock CPU fan heatsink speed. Lower that bottom threshold as long as the temps are fine on your CPU and you'll be fine. That will get rid of the CPU fan error.

Make sure you do clean all your themal paste between installations of the fan. At a one time shot you should be cleaning the paste every time you redo the paste. Unless it's within the same hour or so and all you're doing is adding/removing paste.
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October 9, 2012 5:19:05 PM

Would I be fine using rubbing alcohol on the green part of the CPU, though? I know it works great for cleaning the rest of the CPU (as I've done it twice already) but I'm not sure about the green part. Does it matter if the paste is dried on, or will the rubbing alcohol still work? If so, what should use to apply the alcohol so that I do not accidentally touch the contacts? Also, where should I place the CPU when I clean it? Can I leave it in the motherboard socket, or should I place it elsewhere until it dries?
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October 9, 2012 6:51:52 PM

After thinking about it a bit, I decided that this is my plan for cleaning the green part of the CPU.

-Use a credit card to scratch off the dried on paste. I'll be sure to scratch away from the contacts on the side. I'll probably have to hold the CPU for this step, since I don't want to scrape anything off into the motherboard, and I don't know where else I can place my CPU.

-If that doesn't work or there is residue, I'll apply some 70% rubbing alcohol with a paper coffee filter. I've heard mixed things about using 70%, but it's all I have on hand and I'm not sure if there are any stores nearby that would sell something better. If 70% is too risky for that part of my CPU, let me know and I'll put off my built until I can find something better.

The best information I can find about my problem is from these sites.
http://www.overclock.net/t/1002144/help-got-artic-mx-2-...
http://www.digitalstormonline.com/forums/forum_posts.as...
http://www.madshrimps.be/vbulletin/f14/thermal-grease-c...
http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=357389

I am also thinking if I can't get all or any of it off, that my CPU will still run fine. Even still, I would like to try to clean it the best I can. Is my above strategy sound, should I try something else, or is everything fine and I am worrying about nothing?
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October 9, 2012 11:35:43 PM

I just got done working on my external build, and I decided that I skip a lot of the boring details. There is still a trace of thermal paste left, but it's more of a small streak now, and it's difficult to identify unless you look at it straight on from the side. As for the rest of the build, I put the heatsink back on, hooked it up the monitor, and powered it on.

I had some issues with the heatsink. I opted to leave a dot of paste in the middle of the CPU this time. I have problems lining up the bracket with the standoffs, and while I was trying to get the screws in, the heatsink wobble a little in place. I had the problem when I installed it the first time. I don't know if this caused any problems with spreading the paste, and I really don't want to remove the heatsink and thermal paste a third time to check.

How will I know if the heatsink was set in properly? Would I be able to tell by looking at the core temps once everything is up and running?
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October 10, 2012 3:19:45 PM

CSP88 said:
I just got done working on my external build, and I decided that I skip a lot of the boring details. There is still a trace of thermal paste left, but it's more of a small streak now, and it's difficult to identify unless you look at it straight on from the side. As for the rest of the build, I put the heatsink back on, hooked it up the monitor, and powered it on.

I had some issues with the heatsink. I opted to leave a dot of paste in the middle of the CPU this time. I have problems lining up the bracket with the standoffs, and while I was trying to get the screws in, the heatsink wobble a little in place. I had the problem when I installed it the first time. I don't know if this caused any problems with spreading the paste, and I really don't want to remove the heatsink and thermal paste a third time to check.

How will I know if the heatsink was set in properly? Would I be able to tell by looking at the core temps once everything is up and running?



Yes by checking core temps. It doesn't hurt though as you install the heatsink to move it around on the CPU before screwing it down to make sure the thermal past has made complete contact. But as you screw the heatsink to the motherboard the paste will spread and as your CPU heats up the thermal paste will spread even more.

When you install a heatsink like the 212, the heatsink can even still be able to slide around on the CPU until the thermal paste cures and hardens.

Just make sure your screws have been tightened enough and start the system up. Check the temps in the BIOS and remember the thermal paste hasn't cured yet so if you're comparing to reviews / reported results, your results will be a little bit higher.
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