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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks, I hope this isn't in the wrong section but I didn't know where to put it, if it isn't then a mod is free to move the thread where it belongs. I'm on a 4670k, which is an Intel CPU but I think that's a minor detail here, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

My CPU has been unusually hot lately, reaching 77C the other day while playing GTA V. I've always had a bit of a problem with temps, I blame it mostly on my case (200R) which is really small and probably too cramped up with components and less than sufficient air flow. It had never surpassed 70C though, even while stress testing.

I'm on a H75, which has disappointed me temps wise but I can't blame it all on it, as I said the case is probably the one to blame, however since I cannot afford to spend >$100 on a case right now (and even if I could, I'm scared to move all of my components at once) I just decided to get some new thermal paste and remove the dry H75 stock one that's been there for like a year.
tongue.gif


I bought the Prolimatech PK-3 which had really good reviews and was only about 5 bucks. Now my question arises after having watched a video on how to clean off thermal paste and re-apply it. I read some comments from people saying I should remove the CPU off the socket before cleaning/applying the paste. Is this true at all? I just don't see why I should do that if I'm careful enough but maybe there's a different reason I'm just not familiar with. I also wonder if it's reasonable to use q-tips to remove the paste off the CPU, it just feels like that would leave a lot of residue.

I already have the isopropyl alcohol and the microfiber cloth and all that's needed (except the paste, waiting for it to be delivered) but I'm a little nervous. Maybe you guys could point me towards a good tutorial or something?

I hope I'm not being too paranoid but I really don't wanna damage my PC at all, since guarantee period is long over.
 

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It's about as basic as you can get. Just clean it off really well. People recommend pulling the CPU out because stuff like AC-5 has micro pieces of metal in it to help with the thermal conductivity that it can short out your CPU if any of it gets on anything sensitive. So unless you're super careful or experienced, it won't hurt you to pull out the CPU, especially since Intel CPUs have the pins on the MB and not the CPU.

I think more than 3/4 of us use q-tips, 100% safe and acceptable to use.

It seems you're really thinking too much into it
smile.gif
The most important part is just make sure you use a rice grain size dropping of paste on it. Remember, you're only using the paste to bridge the micro-gaps between the cpu cap and the base of the heatsink and to help transfer the heat. Too much paste will be harder for the heat to move through the paste.

Some people like to recommend spreading the paste out with a credit card. Don't do that, you have a chance of trapping air bubbles in the paste. With the drop in the middle, you're pushing the paste from the inside to the outside expelling any air bubbles that'll get trapped.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpykeZ View Post

It's about as basic as you can get. Just clean it off really well. People recommend pulling the CPU out because stuff like AC-5 has micro pieces of metal in it to help with the thermal conductivity that it can short out your CPU if any of it gets on anything sensitive. So unless you're super careful or experienced, it won't hurt you to pull out the CPU, especially since Intel CPUs have the pins on the MB and not the CPU.

I think more than 3/4 of us use q-tips, 100% safe and acceptable to use.

It seems you're really thinking too much into it
smile.gif
The most important part is just make sure you use a rice grain size dropping of paste on it. Remember, you're only using the paste to bridge the micro-gaps between the cpu cap and the base of the heatsink and to help transfer the heat. Too much paste will be harder for the heat to move through the paste.

Some people like to recommend spreading the paste out with a credit card. Don't do that, you have a chance of trapping air bubbles in the paste. With the drop in the middle, you're pushing the paste from the inside to the outside expelling any air bubbles that'll get trapped.
Thanks for the prompt reply. Yes, well then I guess I could just take it out but I don't know where I could place it once it's out lol. I know it's stupid but I'm paranoid. And yes I know about the rice grain method, I'm mostly concerned about the cleaning part.
tongue.gif


Do you have any YouTube tutorial I could watch, maybe one you have recommended in the past?
 

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It's fine to leave the CPU in the socket while cleaning it, in fact, unless you have an ESD safe work space it's probably better to leave it in the socket.

As for the actual cleaning, I start with a dry paper towel, or if the old paste is dry and hard a plastic scraper like an old credit card, then I use a paper towel moistened with rubbing alcohol(70% is fine as long as you're not dripping it everywhere), then another dry paper towel. I don't much see the point of Q-tips, it's not like we're trying to clean out small crevices. For more info on cleaning stuff in general, here's a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiL6uPNlqRw In any case, cleaning a CPU isn't nearly as critical as say, cleaning something you're going to paint, it's not like we're trying to get a chemical bond with it.

And for the application of new paste, rice grain to pea size dot in the middle is perfectly fine. Here's a reasonable video showing what happens with different spread methods, though I'd prefer experiments like this use more repeatable clamping methods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4

Thermal compound works best when you have a large contact area, a very thin layer of paste, high thermal conductivity, and no trapped bubbles. Cutting the thickness of the paste layer in half has the same effect on performance as doubling the thermal conductivity, so don't worry about the paste covering the whole IHS, as long as it covers the silicon die beneath the IHS you're good, adding much more would likely hurt thermal performance, because it's hard to avoid the extra thickness.
 

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I don't understand why people say pea size dot. These people are absolutely full of crap. Have you guys ever actually seen a pea in real life? The amount of paste that'll get pushed to the outside of the cpu and the thickness of it would be absolutely insane.

This is the best way I can find to show the difference.



A pea sized drop of of thermal paste would have negative effects, and not only would it worsen your temps, you'd be wasting it as well since most of that is going to get pushed out the sides.

This is what it looks like under a cpu cap for a 4690/4790

cleaned.jpg


The hot spot for thermal transfer is right in the middle of the cpu lid so having the paste go to the edge of the lid isn't as important.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpykeZ View Post

I don't understand why people say pea size dot. These people are absolutely full of crap. Have you guys ever actually seen a pea in real life? The amount of paste that'll get pushed to the outside of the cpu and the thickness of it would be absolutely insane.

This is the best way I can find to show the difference.



A pea sized drop of of thermal paste would have negative effects, and not only would it worsen your temps, you'd be wasting it as well since most of that is going to get pushed out the sides.

This is what it looks like under a cpu cap for a 4690/4790

cleaned.jpg


The hot spot for thermal transfer is right in the middle of the cpu lid so having the paste go to the edge of the lid isn't as important.
You need more for thick pastes than thin, but the real problem is that there's no convenient size reference in between an actual grain of rice and a pea. Flatness and surface finish of your heatsink and IHS also matter, especially for the liquid metal thermal compounds where a grain of rice can be overkill. In a perfect world both are lapped flat and your thermal compound wicks into the gap instead of spreading with pressure.
 

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I can tell you right now, with a non-delidded Haswell CPU and a closed loop water cooler, that if he uses that little thermal paste he might as well use none at all and his CPU is going to be ludicriously hot even at stock.

I even use more, way way more than the "pea sized" amount in that picture, which isn't even half the size of a real pea. I use an amount closer to the real pea (but 2D), right in the center of the die, and press it down/push it out with a q-tip into a small square shape in the center of the die. Enough to cover the printing on it completely. If I use any less than that I get rotten temps under load, and my 4770k is non delid with awful voltage (it requires 1.47v for 4.5ghz.... yeah
mad.gif
I don't push that much through it constantly though since I have power saving features on, and that's why it hasn't fried.)

To note, I also have Prolimatech PK-3 Nano. It's what I use. So trust me on this if your Haswell isn't delidded, USE A LOT OF PASTE. If you use that tiny, tiny amount shown your temps will probably be awful.

This might maybe be because the last few times I've taken my h100i off to clean the radiator, I've noticed some serious corrosion/darkening on the copper on the water block/heat plate. The center part that touches the die is lighter than the rest. Maybe that's normal, I dunno, but the last time I took the h100i off I had to remount it 3 times because of bad temps and in the end, the only thing that made it run cooler/acceptable/normal was using a lot of TIM. Perhaps it's something with the PK-3 (which is a thick paste as someone mentioned).

Also, are you overclocking at all? It sounds like maybe you aren't because 77C during gaming is perfectly fine for Haswell. If it's not hitting 100C and throttling, you're good. Mine runs around 95C doing x264 and 60C or so in stressful games (Witcher, BF4, latest Dragon Age etc)

No need to remove the CPU from the socket to clean it either. Just use 90% alcohol and q-tips. Clean it until you see no more residue and can read the printing on it.
smile.gif
 

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that's because Intel, in all they're amazing brilliance, decided to take our rather expensive CPUs we dished some major green out for, to cheap out on the internal thermal interface
mad.gif
only way to fix it is pop the lid off, clean it up and fuse the two back together with liquid metal. GG Intel, not even AMD is that dumb.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

I can tell you right now, with a non-delidded Haswell CPU and a closed loop water cooler, that if he uses that little thermal paste he might as well use none at all and his CPU is going to be ludicriously hot even at stock.

I even use more, way way more than the "pea sized" amount in that picture, which isn't even half the size of a real pea. I use an amount closer to the real pea (but 2D), right in the center of the die, and press it down/push it out with a q-tip into a small square shape in the center of the die. Enough to cover the printing on it completely. If I use any less than that I get rotten temps under load, and my 4770k is non delid with awful voltage (it requires 1.47v for 4.5ghz.... yeah
mad.gif
I don't push that much through it constantly though since I have power saving features on, and that's why it hasn't fried.)

To note, I also have Prolimatech PK-3 Nano. It's what I use. So trust me on this if your Haswell isn't delidded, USE A LOT OF PASTE. If you use that tiny, tiny amount shown your temps will probably be awful.

This might maybe be because the last few times I've taken my h100i off to clean the radiator, I've noticed some serious corrosion/darkening on the copper on the water block/heat plate. The center part that touches the die is lighter than the rest. Maybe that's normal, I dunno, but the last time I took the h100i off I had to remount it 3 times because of bad temps and in the end, the only thing that made it run cooler/acceptable/normal was using a lot of TIM. Perhaps it's something with the PK-3 (which is a thick paste as someone mentioned).

Also, are you overclocking at all? It sounds like maybe you aren't because 77C during gaming is perfectly fine for Haswell. If it's not hitting 100C and throttling, you're good. Mine runs around 95C doing x264 and 60C or so in stressful games (Witcher, BF4, latest Dragon Age etc)

No need to remove the CPU from the socket to clean it either. Just use 90% alcohol and q-tips. Clean it until you see no more residue and can read the printing on it.
smile.gif
So much misinformation here. The TIM under the IHS doesn't change the optimal way to apply paste between the heatsink and IHS. Using extremely small amounts of TIM is perfectly fine if your paste is thin and your surfaces flat. The only time you should use 'extra' paste is between the die and IHS, because you need 100% coverage to avoid local heating, and you have a small enough contact area that the extra paste gets squeezed out the sides instead of increasing thickness. Covering the corners of the heat spreader with paste when attaching the heatsink is usually counterproductive, either increasing the paste thickness enough to offset the increase in surface area, or trapping air bubbles.

To be honest, it sounds like doing it wrong the first time resulted in excessive/uneven mounting pressure, causing the IHS to flex and squeeze some paste out between the IHS and die. Now you have an air gap under your IHS unless you use too much paste.
 

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Possibly. I really have no idea.

None of it was meant to be "misinformation", it's more like "sharing my experience with practically the exact same thermal paste and chip".

To the OP: if you use a "rice grain" amount and have worse temps, at that point you may want to give my advice a try. It's not like I haven't tried using a very small amount with this TIM. It doesn't spread very well in small amounts with just pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

I can tell you right now, with a non-delidded Haswell CPU and a closed loop water cooler, that if he uses that little thermal paste he might as well use none at all and his CPU is going to be ludicriously hot even at stock.

I even use more, way way more than the "pea sized" amount in that picture, which isn't even half the size of a real pea. I use an amount closer to the real pea (but 2D), right in the center of the die, and press it down/push it out with a q-tip into a small square shape in the center of the die. Enough to cover the printing on it completely. If I use any less than that I get rotten temps under load, and my 4770k is non delid with awful voltage (it requires 1.47v for 4.5ghz.... yeah
mad.gif
I don't push that much through it constantly though since I have power saving features on, and that's why it hasn't fried.)

To note, I also have Prolimatech PK-3 Nano. It's what I use. So trust me on this if your Haswell isn't delidded, USE A LOT OF PASTE. If you use that tiny, tiny amount shown your temps will probably be awful.

This might maybe be because the last few times I've taken my h100i off to clean the radiator, I've noticed some serious corrosion/darkening on the copper on the water block/heat plate. The center part that touches the die is lighter than the rest. Maybe that's normal, I dunno, but the last time I took the h100i off I had to remount it 3 times because of bad temps and in the end, the only thing that made it run cooler/acceptable/normal was using a lot of TIM. Perhaps it's something with the PK-3 (which is a thick paste as someone mentioned).

Also, are you overclocking at all? It sounds like maybe you aren't because 77C during gaming is perfectly fine for Haswell. If it's not hitting 100C and throttling, you're good. Mine runs around 95C doing x264 and 60C or so in stressful games (Witcher, BF4, latest Dragon Age etc)

No need to remove the CPU from the socket to clean it either. Just use 90% alcohol and q-tips. Clean it until you see no more residue and can read the printing on it.
smile.gif
Sorry about the late reply everyone, I see a lot of conflicting views on this matter, but I think it's completely normal. So first of all, yes, Haswell is extremely hot, I hear people saying they idle at 18C and I honestly can't help but feel a little jealous. The only time my computer is under 30C is when I turn it on after 14 hours and it quickly heats up, usually idles at 38-40C.
tongue.gif


Just to clarify, for the first few months with this PC I had been using the stock cooler but I found that temps, especially when the CPU was under stress were reaching 90C, so I decided to get an aftermarket cooler. Sadly, my case is too small so I needed something "compact", most air coolers are pretty big so I went for a closed loop cooler, the H75 had good reviews and it wasn't oversized but, even though it helped with temps at the beginning it wasn't as good as I thought it'd be. However I was able to overclock the CPU to 4.2 at 1.27v, I don't wanna push it further because of temps mostly. I understand the TJ Max is like 100C but I'm personally not comfortamble with these kind of temps, reaching almost 80C means that the paste has dried out and is not doing a great job no more.

So, I did clean the CPU once, with 90% alcohol and a cloth, however it was a long time ago and I'm a little nervous because this time I also have to apply the paste, the first time I just had to sit the water block and let the pre-applied paste do the work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

Possibly. I really have no idea.

None of it was meant to be "misinformation", it's more like "sharing my experience with practically the exact same thermal paste and chip".

To the OP: if you use a "rice grain" amount and have worse temps, at that point you may want to give my advice a try. It's not like I haven't tried using a very small amount with this TIM. It doesn't spread very well in small amounts with just pressure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TranquilTempest View Post

So much misinformation here. The TIM under the IHS doesn't change the optimal way to apply paste between the heatsink and IHS. Using extremely small amounts of TIM is perfectly fine if your paste is thin and your surfaces flat. The only time you should use 'extra' paste is between the die and IHS, because you need 100% coverage to avoid local heating, and you have a small enough contact area that the extra paste gets squeezed out the sides instead of increasing thickness. Covering the corners of the heat spreader with paste when attaching the heatsink is usually counterproductive, either increasing the paste thickness enough to offset the increase in surface area, or trapping air bubbles.

To be honest, it sounds like doing it wrong the first time resulted in excessive/uneven mounting pressure, causing the IHS to flex and squeeze some paste out between the IHS and die. Now you have an air gap under your IHS unless you use too much paste.
I'll use the pea size method, or maybe something in between a pea and a rice grain.
tongue.gif
I think I'll leave the CPU on the socket but mostly because I wouldn't know where to place it if I'd take it off.

Thanks everyone for your input, you're more than welcome to keep commenting. I'm also open to the idea of delidding but I think that might have to wait for the time being. This is my first assembled PC so I'm not really an expert on these matters.
 

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It's totally fine if your Haswell CPU runs at 90C+ for periods of time as long as it isn't 1) crashing or 2) throttling. There's a reason it will only throttle at 100C and otherwise run fine at say, 95C. The longer it runs at this temp, the more chance of it crashing however. I agree, at 4.2ghz and 1.27v you are basically temp limited. Demanding games are going to put a load across all cores and the temps will be lower than a real load (say video encoding) but, if you're already seeing 77C in some games then yes, you are probably close to the thermal limit. Overclocking further will probably bring minimal benefits and much more heat or possibly freezes due to temps. You could gain 2-5 fps depending on game (possibly even more) but if it's overheating and freezing then what good is it?

I would recommend you try the amount of thermal paste you mentioned first and see what it does. If the temps are bad, however, try using more than necessary. It would also be advisable to upgrade the cooler if possible, that is, if you have the room for it. If you don't, well, consider upgrading the case too. You should see much better temps if you go to a H100i or equivalent (240mm radiator). Going to any huge tower air cooler is not advisable because of temp concerns, it might actually be a regression, and the closed loop coolers are very convenient for smaller builds/memory access/looks and so on. A h100i, especially with better fans (try Corsair SP120s or anything else with high static pressure) should bring temps down significantly. If you don't have the money for a new case and cooler/room in your case or whatever, try getting one or two of these fans and putting it on the H75. Also, make sure your system is configured to run the fans on full blast under load, e.g. more than 60C package temps. You never know, you could be running hot because the fans on your radiator just aren't revving up under load. New fans and new thermal paste might breathe new life into that cooling setup.

Also, this might not have been stated but please ensure your overclock is using manual, and not adaptive, voltage. If it is getting adaptive voltage you might be getting way more voltage than you need for 4.2ghz, and this can increase temps a great deal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

I even use more, way way more than the "pea sized" amount in that picture, which isn't even half the size of a real pea. I use an amount closer to the real pea (but 2D), right in the center of the die, and press it down/push it out with a q-tip into a small square shape in the center of the die. Enough to cover the printing on it completely. If I use any less than that I get rotten temps under load, and my 4770k is non delid with awful voltage (it requires 1.47v for 4.5ghz.... yeah
mad.gif
I don't push that much through it constantly though since I have power saving features on, and that's why it hasn't fried.)

No need to remove the CPU from the socket to clean it either. Just use 90% alcohol and q-tips. Clean it until you see no more residue and can read the printing on it.
smile.gif
I just re pasted my Haswell 4710HQ the other day thinking it would help with heat issues and yes I also used a bit more than normal. Im getting at idle now 3 days later 37-40C after using fresh grease (Noctua NT-H1) before was 42-44C. Even thought its says no break in period im seeing better temps after a few days. It was a bit old and dried up. I've seen heat as high as 85-90C before, so far so good topping out at 77C. Im not able to remove my 4710HQ its soldered to the PCB just as neurotix mentioned with 90% alcohol and q tips your mint!

I believe the Haswell runs the NB freq for our MC and integrated graphics while mine running on turbo 3495.6 MHz is why our processor runs warmer. Can anyone tell me if that is fact?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I wanted to wait a while before updating so here I am.
biggrin.gif


A day after I posted that I opened up the case and started cleaning. I couldn't believe how much dust had accumulated in only two months (last time I cleaned was only two months ago). This time I cleaned a bit more thoroughly, took off the H75 and cleaned off the insanely dirty radiator, all of the fans (including case ones) and finally got to the cleaning/re-applying paste part.

So, what I did was just using isopropyl (99%) with microfiber cloths, both to remove the dry paste and to make sure it was all gone afterwards. I didn't wanna use q-tips/tissues for fear of residues being left behind, I'm not saying it's wrong to use those, it's just me being paranoid and preferring the microfiber cloth over them.

I used a pea sized dot but it was mostly unintentional, honestly, I had never used any kind of thermal paste before so I was nervous even when it came to just squeezing the paste out, lol. So I wanted to drop something that was smaller than the size of the capacitors (but not as small as a rice grain) on my mobo but I ended up dropping a capacitor sized dot instead, which in turn is as big as a pea I'd say. Temps are fine now though so I guess I did it right.

It doesn't go over 60C in GTAV, usually staying at around 58C average, and I just stress tested yesterday for 10 hours and temps didn't go over 67C which I guess is bad for some but it is good for me. Idle temps are like 10C lower than I had before but still not as cool as I would have hoped. It idles now at 31C, it used to idle at 41C before, the only time my CPU got under 40C was when I turned it on after 12 hours. Pretty happy overall, temps could be even better if A) Haswell was better at it, B) I had a bigger case and thus better airflow and finally C) if I had a H100i or whatever is considered top-tier nowadays.

All in all it went well, I didn't expect having to mount off the radiator but I saw all of that dust there and I said to myself "yeah, those blades and radiator being as filled with dust and dirt as they are are probably cause of the high temps too" so I went for it. Hard work, mounting a radiator in such a tiny space is tedious I tell you.

Thanks to everyone for helping though.
tongue.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpykeZ View Post

31C idle isn't all that bad especially for our chips. I'm 500MHz overclocked and I idle at about 42c
I know, I'm quite happy with the results. It was about time to clean it up, I should have taken a picture of the radiator just to show you guys that I'm not exaggerating when I say it was extremely dirty.
 
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