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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This MSI MPG z390 Gaming Plus motherboard is about 8 months old. It was one of the last z390 stock left at the store that I got to choose from when using the credit I got from the store warranty I purchased for my original motherboard - a Gigabyte z390 WiFi Plus ITX.

About 4 months ago I noticed an oily substance that seemed to have appeared on the southbridge heatsink. I thought I somehow missed it when I installed the board, but now that it's oily again, I don't think that I missed it - I think it's seeping from behind. The paint textures the surface in such a way that I think whatever is behind the thing, creeps forward.

What could it be? Is it possible that it's electrically conductive, or are some thermal compounds literally oil?

I don't look under and behind my video card often, so I guess it doesn't bother me aesthetically. Is there any other reason I should completely remove and clean the thing?

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H₂O Aficionado
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What could it be? Is it possible that it's electrically conductive, or are some thermal compounds literally oil?
Given its location (near the PCI-E slot), I have a feeling its dripping from your GPU. Now - I've heard / read thermal pads, either old or poor quality, will leak some type of silicone "oil" over time. I've never experienced this issue but there seem to be some correlations given the location and what you've described.

Do you have any photos of the GPU? Are there any indications of the "oil" there? Are there any other thermal pads in the vicinity of that location (southbridge)?
 

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WaterCooler
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Oily thermal pad? Since that's the south bridge heatsink, I'd assume it is using thermal paste and not a pad, so my next thought would be that its dripping from the GPU. That said, have never seen that happen before. Seeing anything on the GPU?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
GPU looks and feels clean. You can't tell from the picture, but if it was the GPU leaking something, the oil would start above the MSI writing

If a thermal pad can be responsible, I think they used one on the southbridge.

Is there any risk of a short?
 

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WaterCooler
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No idea. If not coming from GPU, may want to remove that heatsink and see what's going on under there as well.
 
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I was just about to post the same thing. I'll googled disassembly photos of your MOBO and did not obtain results. I'd check what's going on under there if you're certain its not from the GPU above.

If its from a pad or TIM, then no. There should be no risk of a short. Those materials are typically... designed to be thermally conductive, not electronically conductive.
 

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Robotic Chemist
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It looks exactly like silicon oil from a thermal pad to me too.

Is there any risk of a short?
No, it isn't water, water does not wet surfaces like that. Totally safe, no need to worry about it at all.
 

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Manufactures do not use thermal paste on north bridge chips, they use a thermal pad as north bridge chips do not have very high TDP.

As others have said here, it is silicon oil weeping out of the thermal pad on the north bridge chip.

Non-conductive and other than looking unsightly, no risk of shorting anything
 

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Given its location (near the PCI-E slot), I have a feeling its dripping from your GPU. Now - I've heard / read thermal pads, either old or poor quality, will leak some type of silicone "oil" over time. I've never experienced this issue but there seem to be some correlations given the location and what you've described.

Do you have any photos of the GPU? Are there any indications of the "oil" there? Are there any other thermal pads in the vicinity of that location (southbridge)?
That happened badly to my EVGA 1080 Ti FTW3. It was awful the amount of oil that started oozing from the pads which was year 4 I believe. Whether that started happening on year 3 I do not know. They were glistening and becoming horribly sticky on the cards PCB.
 

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Oily thermal pad? Since that's the south bridge heatsink, I'd assume it is using thermal paste and not a pad, so my next thought would be that its dripping from the GPU. That said, have never seen that happen before. Seeing anything on the GPU?
my z390 godlike uses thermal pad under its PCH heatsink so not unheard of for the brand
 

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I was vaping heavily near my PC until I noticed a sticky goo substance on fans and internal components. Just checking you aren't vaping near it? Lol
 

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Thermal pads oozing - for some reason the ones that MSI was using at the time that board was made were really bad for that. The substance doesn't seem to hurt anything but I went ahead and replaced the pads. I used QD electronic cleaner to clean the board before putting the new ones in place on my MSI 970 Gaming. Temps on the VRM's were much better.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Glad to know it's nothing that'll result in damage. I assume the VRM heatsinks use the same pads and will soon start having a similar thing to happen to them. Since they're in a place I can see much more easily, I'm thinking of replacing them.

Are there specific pads or brands that are known to be good? Not necessarily best performance - I've only ever seen the VRM temperature up around 75 degrees, and the PCH is relatively low powered - but good for longevity. I plan to continue using this as my daily for 2-3 years (maybe more, depending on advancements). Plus, after those 2-3 years, I'll be using it as a secondary system for at least another 3
 

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Glad to know it's nothing that'll result in damage. I assume the VRM heatsinks use the same pads and will soon start having a similar thing to happen to them. Since they're in a place I can see much more easily, I'm thinking of replacing them.

Are there specific pads or brands that are known to be good? Not necessarily best performance - I've only ever seen the VRM temperature up around 75 degrees, and the PCH is relatively low powered - but good for longevity. I plan to continue using this as my daily for 2-3 years (maybe more, depending on advancements). Plus, after those 2-3 years, I'll be using it as a secondary system for at least another 3
Don't bother unless the idea sounds fun to you
 

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I used thermal grizzly - good stuff but kinda pricey.
 
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