Question Bulk cleaning/testing CPUs


Mar 16, 2013
Hello, I work for a computer recycling company and I clean and test CPUs. I get several hundred of them throughout a week and I'm searching for answers to make my job a little easier and faster.

I clean each CPU we keep by hand with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol, then I test them by socket to determine what's good and what's scrap. I'm currently working on a ticket with ~1500 CPUs, and as you can imagine it's a time consuming process to check, clean, and test each and every one of them. My main questions are:

Is there a faster method to cleaning these? Some of the thermal compound is literally baked onto the cap (especially socket 775s) and it's really hard to get off sometimes. Would it hurt the processor to let them sit in a bin full of rubbing alcohol overnight to help loosen it up then let them all dry for a day? Would it hurt them at all?

The only way that we know of to test CPUs is with computers, so we just grab computers of the socket we need and start testing away. Computers aren't designed to handle this, so pins often get bent and motherboards fry, then I have to hunt for a new computer. This is the method we've been using since before I got here, but please tell me there's a better, less wasteful method, especially for the poor socket 1151 computers that have died on me.

Processors require different chipsets to work, and we literally get in dozens of different models of processors, all of which have different chipsets. Are there any motherboards out there with a chipset that can read any processor for that socket? Sometimes trying to find a computer with a compatible motherboard is a nightmare, as we don't choose what comes into the building.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


CPUs sold in bulk are usually sold in trays. Having some of the trays for the different sockets could be useful. That would allow you to work on a tray of CPUs at a time for cleaning. A fine spray bottle for the isopropyl would probably speed things up. You could spray directly on the cpu instead of having to wet the cloth.

Setting up 4 - 6 motherboards of each socket that are powered off common DC rails would simplify things. Leave the 24pin and the 8pin CPU power connected at the motherboard and have the motherboards fed with quick disconnect high amperage connectors like powerpole connectors.

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