Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

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Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:10 am

Reseating an i5 SandyBridge stock heatsink before first switch on, is the stock thermal paste still ok?

Hi

I'm in the middle of a new i5 SandyBridge build (built a PC once before about 11 years ago)

Having installed the motherboard, cpu and stock heatsink 2 days ago; and having taken a break to read up on a couple of things;
today I decided to reseat the heatsink 90 degrees (when reinstalling top casefan found cpu fan wire might obstruct casefan).

I expected the three strips of stock thermal paste to be unchanged as obvioulsy hadn't swiched computer on yet;
but it's spread out (thought the paste was more solid and that might only happen when heat is first applied).

Is the thermal paste now too uneven to continue?
Do I need to clean and apply some new aftermarket thermal paste?

thanks for any replies
longinthetooth
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Re: Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:20 am

I kinda did something simillar with my first build not knowing how the stock heatsink should be installed. Well i installed it correctly but due to my newbiness i thought it should be oriented in a special way (it was an AMD down blowing HSF ofc it didn't have a certain orientation....doh).

Anyways, what you need to look after is if the thermal compound spread too much and it got on the sides of the CPU. Usually you should clean the off, and reaply TIM when reaseating the HSF to ensure that there are no pockets of air (air is a thermal insulator and prevents heat transfer) and to ensure that the middle of the chip (the the actual chip is located under the integrated heat sink) has connection with the heat sink above.

That said, if you don't have any spare TIM at the moment and if the TIM didn't spread on the sides of the CPU after you repositioned the heat sink you could test the CPU. A normal power on self test won't stress the CPU that much anyway. I feagure it should still work even if the TIM isn't perfectly spread in the middle, but in the future you should wipe the CPU and heat sink clean and reapply TIM. I recommend using Arctic MX 4 - it's dielectric (doesn't conduct current so you won't fry the CPU, mobo if it accidentally gets on sensitive parts) and doesn't require curing time. Plus it's guaranted to last 8 years...
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Disclaimer: All answers and suggestions are provided by an enthusiastic amateur and are therefore without warranty either explicit or implicit. Basically you use my suggestions at your own risk.
Arclight
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Re: Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:01 pm

Thanks for the reply,

I'll get some Arctic MX 4, rubbing alcohol and some lint free wipes/cloth and start again.

I've never used thermal paste before so I'm annoyed at myself for creating the extra hassle; but I'll learn something new.

Thanks again.
longinthetooth
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Re: Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:13 pm

The kind of thermal goo that comes stuck on the bottom of a heatsink (not in a tube) is the kind that usually only works once, so if you unseat the heatsink you'd have to clean it and reapply it. With the regular white goo from a tube, it's still a good idea to clean and reapply but your processor would survive just fine if you don't.
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Re: Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:42 pm

I would definitely re-apply the thermal compound. Or at least try to spread it out evenly (if it is still pliable enough). You don't want gaps and bubbles between your heatsink and cpu.
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Re: Reseating an i5 stock heatsink before first switch on...

Postposted on Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:55 pm

Moved to the cooling forum.
--JustAnEngineer, SBA forum moderator
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