Thermal Paste Question

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8dalejr.fan

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When my Dell techie guy came over to replace my video card for me, he also opened up the CPU cover (Dell's have those) and looked at the heatsink for the CPU. It was covered in dust. He unhooked it, as well as the CPU, and I cleaned the heatsink with a can of compressed air.

When he put it back, he just put it back. I asked him about thermal paste and he said it already had enough on it already, and any more it would be bad.

Is he right, or should he have put some thermal paste on the CPU/heatsink? There looked to be quite a bit already on it, so it seems ok to me, but should he have reapplied it?
 
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Jan 3, 2006
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I would've cleaned the old stuff off and reapplied new.

I've done it a couple of times (removed heatsink) and always reapplied

my 0.02 cents
 
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lol


u said Dell so mmmhmmm...

I thought the point of the grease is that it turns to like a pad so to speak, so I really don't like the idea of that getting disturbed by pulling off HS and then putting it back on, it just sounds like trouble..



Jeez man, he didn't carry any? Not like its big or expensive as hell - I always keep some in my little PC toolkit, because you just never know..

Keep hold of that warranty form :)
 
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He is right in the fact that you need minimal amount of thermal grease, but personally I would have cleaned the cpu and heatsink and applied new but thats me be over cautious.
Check your temps if they are ok its probably fine
 

8dalejr.fan

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How do I check my temps?

The air blowing out of my CPU area seems A LOT cooler than it did yesterday, so maybe cleaning out that heatsink and the two gigantic fans by the CPU helped.
 
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its recoommended that you should always apply a fresh layer of thermal everytime you remove the heatsink. i certainly always replace with a fresh layer - better safe than sorry
 

SirKenin

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Nov 17, 2005
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The simplest solution to all Dell problems is a hand grenade... haha

Failing that, when taking the heatsink off I always replace the thermal paste. It's not always a necessary thing to do, but I equate it to being good practice.
 

JohnWill

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One problem with using the old thermal paste is that it hardens over time, and it won't properly conform to the space when you put the parts back together. In truth, the less thermal paste between the two parts, the better, it's only there to provide continuous contact between the surfaces. In military applications, both surfaces that require a HS are frequently milled perfectly flat and no compound is used to make the thermal bond.
 

SirKenin

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Yes, they do it in home PCs too. I forget what kind of cloth it is that they use to mill the surfaces. You can do it on both the CPU and the HSF. You just have to be very careful.
 
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Good practice says reapply the thermal paste everytime, but it won't usually hurt anything if you don't. If the CPU used the thermal pad, thats a different story.
 

JohnWill

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The thermal pads that I've seen are destroyed by the heat after they've been installed for any length of time, so they're due for replacement when you remove the HS too. :)
 
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