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So uhmm, I don't have...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Good day!

I am really trying to learn something here.

I don't know the real deal when it comes to replacing thermal paste and cleaning off old thermal paste. I have been reading a few articles and watching a few YouTube videos about it and there is just a lot of different ways recommended by different people.

Let us start with the cleaning of old thermal paste/compounds. I don't have isopropyl alcohol higher than 70%. Or at least I don't know where to get it from where I come from. I live in the Philippines and god-knows-where I can buy alcohol other than the ones used by hospitals and doctors. I have read somewhere that for cleaning old thermal grease (and some other computer parts and peripherals) the higher percentage the better. I have no idea what the reason is behind that though. Can someone please explain that to me?

One other suggestion that I have heard from someone is to make the component run for a few minutes - that will warm up the grease and soften/melt it up for easy removal. Although it makes sense I am afraid to do it because I fear that the component will get damaged using this method. I previously had a motorcycle and they always say to me to let the engine cool before removing any screws or parts, hot parts expand and that makes them more prone to damage when they are removed when still hot. I fear that also applies to computer parts. Besides, what if there is no way for me to run the component e.g. other damaged components that prevent me from turning the computer on.

Another question about cleaning thermal compounds is the different type of compounds. I am familiar with the regular thick white pasty stuff. I am not familiar with the 'arctic' silvery compound, the solid 'ceramic' thingy, and the gummy pink stuff I found on one of my old video cards.

How do you remove the 'ceramic' thing? I called it ceramic because I have heard of ceramic thermal compound before but I am not really sure if it IS the ceramic stuff I have read about. Its like a solid piece of white stuff. It may even be just hardened paste or something. I am afraid to scrape it off because I am thinking it may damage the component.

Even harder to remove is the gummy pinkish stuff I found on an old video card. The consistency is like gum. Its not greasy but instead it is sticky. I tried the 70% alcohol but it doesn't work.

It is also hard to remove the pasty white greasy thermal paste. And the same goes for the grayish paste included in most stock Intel heat-sinks.
I tried the 70% alcohol once and well it causes slight discoloration of the processor surface and it doesn't really clean so well. And worse thing that happened was when I reassembled the heat-sink it failed to boot and I had to re-seat the processor. I wonder if the 70% alcohol was the cause.

After the cleaning part I also have questions regarding the re-application of the thermal paste. From a video of Linustechtips he showed what he called the "line method" wherein he just puts a line of thermal paste in the middle of the die and then allows the pressure of the heat-sink to spread it on its own. There are also a few videos that suggest manually spreading the grease with a business card. Some thermal grease companies even supply the card and materials to spread the grease e.g. cooler master. Intel however includes thermal grease in their stock coolers and it isn't spread over the whole surface - its just a circle covering most but not all of the processor.

Some suggest thin application others suggest apply a thick coating. The included compound in stock Intel coolers are thick... the ones I have watched in tutorial videos apply thin. Even some apply it so thinly that it is hardly noticed e.g. one video I have watched where he applied arctic silver on the die.

I don't know the real deal when it comes to re-application of the grease. Although spreading the grease over the top of the whole die makes sense at it offers equal coverage for the whole die -- one bad side about it is that the thermal grease eventually melts and softens and then it goes over the die to the edge and sometimes to the motherboard which I think is bad. The "line method" makes sense since it prevents the grease from getting to the board. Bad side is that I don't think the whole processor surface will be covered.



So what really is the one true method? Or does that even exist? I am expecting a lot of you guys have their own methods as well. Anyone here did a benchmark on the temperatures by different methods?
post #2 of 29

I always start with the 70% alcohol I have left over from years gone by. Let it soak for a bit if your old TIM is stiff. Then I switch to the 91% stuff you can buy now. But you can skip that step. Then I apply Arcticlean. The Arcticlean you use in two stages.

 

I use coffee filters to wipe because they are cheap and mostly lint-free.

 

TIM's. Two places to look. Here, and here.

 

Reapplication depends on the TIM. I use GC Extreme, which is soft. I make a splat about the width of 3-4 long rice grains, which flattens out. For thicker paste use a smaller glob because it will stand up higher. The pressure of the heatsink spreads the TIM evenly.


Edited by ehume - 2/6/12 at 8:29pm
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post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehume View Post

I always start with the 70% alcohol I have left over from years gone by. Let it soak for a bit if your old TIM is stiff. Then I switch to the 91% stuff you can buy now. But you can skip that step. Then I apply Arcticlean. The Arcticlean you use in two stages.

I use coffee filters to wipe because they are cheap and mostly lint-free.

TIM's. Two places to look. Here, and here.

Reapplication depends on the TIM. I use GC Extreme, which is soft. I make a splat about the width of 3-4 long rice grains, which flattens out. For thicker paste use a smaller glob because it will stand up higher. The pressure of the heatsink spreads the TIM evenly.

More questions...

1. I have searched high and low for 91% alcohol in stores here in the Philippines... and I have found none. Arctic clean is something I have only heard now... so I doubt if I can find it hear as well.

2. What does TIM mean? - Thermal Interface Material? frown.gif sorry please don't use the heavy terms on a noob like me.
post #4 of 29
The 91% stuff should be just normal rubbing alcohol you should be able to get it from your local drug store. As for the reapplication you should be able to do it anyway you want. Some prefer the line method and some like to spread it, it doesnt really matter just dont put too much so it will dribble onto the side of your cpu. Artic silver ceramique is a brand of thermal paste its just the pasty white stuff. The alcohol should look something like this.

700
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onex View Post

The alcohol should look something like this.

its hard to find in alot of countries
     
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post #6 of 29

TIM - you had it right the 1st time.

 

I got my Arcticlean by mail order.

 

As I wrote, you can skip the 91% alcohol. Some people use only alcohol mixes, but they use 90+%. Anyway, 70% followed by Arcticlean would be just fine. Or ask around locally what people would use to clean and dehydrate metal surfaces.

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post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onex View Post

The 91% stuff should be just normal rubbing alcohol you should be able to get it from your local drug store. As for the reapplication you should be able to do it anyway you want. Some prefer the line method and some like to spread it, it doesnt really matter just dont put too much so it will dribble onto the side of your cpu. Artic silver ceramique is a brand of thermal paste its just the pasty white stuff. The alcohol should look something like this.
700

I will try and ask around again in Hospitals and drugstores. I am serious it is hard to find here in my country.

I remember when I first went out and looked for canned air, No one I asked knew what it was or what it was for not even some of the computer shops and hardware stores. And it was funny because not even the store I found the canned air knew it was canned air.

Its the 3rd world effect really.

I think I'll eventually find 90% alcohol but I might have to sell my soul for information first.

Can someone explain why a higher percentage is good?
post #8 of 29

Less water when cleaning a surface for TIM = goodness.

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post #9 of 29
if you cant find 99% alcohol in a drugstore or pharmacy store then get nail polish remover without fancy ingredients like aloe vera and stuff.
i only use this and it works perfect.

also here is a video that explains which method the best is: (tip! use the dot method)
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post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanewguy View Post

if you cant find 99% alcohol in a drugstore or pharmacy store then get nail polish remover without fancy ingredients like aloe vera and stuff.
i only use this and it works perfect.
also here is a video that explains which method the best is: (tip! use the dot method)

Nail polish remover is acetone right?
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