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Best Methods for heat sink & CPU prep


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What is the most successful ways to prepare a CPU and heat sink for overclocking?

 

For new CPU, and used - I imagine these vary a bit because of the residual thermal compound on the used setup.

I have various sand papers from 220 all the way to 2000 grit. I have various polishes.

 

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My heat transfer intuition tells me the following:

- the most uniform surfaces possible will give you the most heat transfer - so my intuition says mirror finish

- cleaning with dish soap and water, drying off with cotton t-shirt is fine.

- the less thermal compound the better

- the more contact pressure the better - how to achieve on am3 motherboards? Retaining clip doesn't to a great job.

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Your intuition about a uniform (mirror finish) surface is correct, however you do this at a cost! As soon as you hit your cpu with that sandpaper, you just VOIDED your warranty!

 

Are you water cooling? When you sand the cpu to a mirror finish it is called "Lapping" your cpu. Lapping is something that some people do when they are water cooling the cpu. I don't know about the dish soap, and don't recommend it. I use rubbing alcohol to prep my cpu before applying thermal compound.

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Your intuition about a uniform (mirror finish) surface is correct, however you do this at a cost! As soon as you hit your cpu with that sandpaper, you just VOIDED your warranty!

 

Are you water cooling? When you sand the cpu to a mirror finish it is called "Lapping" your cpu. Lapping is something that some people do when they are water cooling the cpu. I don't know about the dish soap, and don't recommend it. I use rubbing alcohol to prep my cpu before applying thermal compound.

 

If he uses a Heatsink other than factory his warrenty is voided.

Phil

 

"AMD Processor in a box (PIB) 3 Year Limited Warranty

This Limited Warranty shall be null and void if the AMD microprocessor which is the subject of this Limited Warranty is used with any heatsink/fan other than the one provided herewith. "

 

http://support.amd.com/us/warranty/Pages/Processorinabox3YearLimited.aspx

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Well i cant speak of lapping your CPU/Heatsink. I know it works really well but ive never done it.

 

I prefer to clean and purify my CPU/Heatsink with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100010&cm_re=arctic_silver-_-35-100-010-_-Product.

 

You can use regular cotton stuff to clean it, but when you are purifying the surface you need to use a lint free cloth or wipe. Otherwise there is no point in purfiying it because your leaving a ton of lint behind. But seriously, the best thing you can use to purify is a plan ole standard coffee filter! They are lint free, and pretty clean to boot as well. I keep a package of them in my computer tool kit lol. Its weird but it works best, and its better than paying for a lint free cloth that only stays lint free until the first time you have to wash it.

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If he uses a Heatsink other than factory his warrenty is voided.

Phil

 

"AMD Processor in a box (PIB) 3 Year Limited Warranty

This Limited Warranty shall be null and void if the AMD microprocessor which is the subject of this Limited Warranty is used with any heatsink/fan other than the one provided herewith. "

 

http://support.amd.com/us/warranty/Pages/Processorinabox3YearLimited.aspx

 

 

LMAO, I assure you phil there is no way for them to void a warranty when using an aftermarket heatsink, aside from I guess telling them this during the RMA process ;) But when lapping a cpu, there is no way to hide what you have done!

 

 

No offense Merc, but you are wasting $10 on something that a $.99 bottle of rubbing alcohol will do :biggrin: And the $.99 bottle will last forever!

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No offense Merc, but you are wasting $10 on something that a $.99 bottle of rubbing alcohol will do :biggrin: And the $.99 bottle will last forever!

 

None taken. I didnt buy that bottle of stuff for the alcohol lol. The thermal paste remover stuff... is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. It can remove 5 year old completely dried up thermal paste in like 30 seconds, nothing ive ever used has worked anywhere near as well as this cleaner does.

 

Besides when i bought it it was in a combo with the arctic silver MTX paste i use, and it was 2.50 i think haha. Id buy it again at full price just because of how well it removes thermal paste though. Fortunately the two little bottles last forever. Ive used it to clean probably 30 heatsinks/cpu's so far(took it to work for a bit) and i think i have 80% of the stuff left.

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None taken. I didnt buy that bottle of stuff for the alcohol lol. The thermal paste remover stuff... is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. It can remove 5 year old completely dried up thermal paste in like 30 seconds, nothing ive ever used has worked anywhere near as well as this cleaner does.

 

Have you ever tried just rubbing alcohol? It does the exact same thing for 90% of the cost, and you get a much bigger bottle :cheers:

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Hey TB - welcome to OCC!

 

I'd say you've got pretty good intuition. In addition to surface finish, surface flatness is also a prime consideration because ultimately it affects contact surface, which in turn affects how well the heatsink cools.

 

A mirror finish is nice, but not worth the time and trouble if you have a convex, concave or otherwise irregular mounting surfaces that aren't perfectly flat. I run a small metal engineer's ruler or razor blade over the heatsink and cpu IHS surface and check for any light bleed through while I'm lapping.

 

I'll tell you guys - there is a ton of stuff out there for cleaning off old TIM from your heatsink or chipsets, but nothing works as well or as cheap as regular old lighter fluid! :) I came across this little trick several years ago when a field technician recommended we use that to clean the light bars on our

coordinate measuring machines ($500,000 or more pieces of measurement equipment). It leaves zero residue.

 

I've often ran my processor through some soapy water after the initial cleaning with lighter fluid, especially if there is a lot of old TIM paste smeared all over the place. Doesn't hurt them at all as long as they are properly dried afterward and before putting back into the socket.

 

So for me;

 

Rosinol Lighter Fluid > Hot Soapy Water Bath with a soft toothbrush to clean the nooks and crannies > Rosinol Lighter Fluid > followed by a final wipe down with 90% pure rubbing alcohol. For the finish wipes I use a clean lint free cloth or coffee filter.

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Everyone here is comparing very similar things.

 

Rubbing Alcohol is just a fancy name for either purified/concentrated EtOH (Ethanol) or ISP (Isopropanol).

 

Lighter fluid is just butane, a nice volatile, flammable hydrocarbon.

 

All of these make good choices because they are very volatile, meaning they are very easy to clean up (they do it on their own). They have chemical properties to help degrease and dissolve alot of TIM's. However, they are all better suited for other uses (alcohol as a disinfectant, lighter fluid for starting fires).

 

Honestly, the ideal solvent for this purpose is Acetone. This does wonders for cleaning epoxies, glues, and all manner of resins. Its found in varnishes, and is usually used to treat metal before painting. Its easily bought in stores under another name - nail polish remover (perhaps, if you are of a certain disposition, you already have some laying around).

 

EDIT:

 

Be careful with the acetone (nail polish remover), if you are using it around any painted surfaces (i.e. your case). Even though its not industrial grade concentrated, it can still leave spots on contact where it dissolves the outer paint (it shouldn't affect clothing though).

Edited by LuckyDeath

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I just use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel, cotton ball, q-tip. I have done this to more processors than I can count, and even though it sometimes requires a little elbow grease to get TIM off that has been on there for years, it has never produced a failed CPU either.

 

I have never lapped my HSF or CPU though. I never really saw the need for the few degrees I would get back from doing it. Then again, I have always been of the opinion that no matter how much work you do to air cooling, it will still be affected most by the ambient temp of the room. Keep your house cool and your PC stays cool too :P

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Until my cpu warranty is up, I won't lap it ;) Just my opinion, but I like having the warranty just in case something goes wrong :thumbsup: But as soon as the warranty has expired, then bring on the sandpaper :evilgrin:

 

I still vote for the bottle of rubbing alcohol that costs less than $1 and will last forever! Cleans off TIM very easily :whistling:

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