[SOLVED] CPU low usage and high temperature after cleaning.

Manny.Pardo

Prominent
May 26, 2020
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Windows 10. I have an Intel Core i7 860 2.80 GHz CPU with the stock fan. I have just cleaned it and are having performance issues after doing so. This is strange since I have cleaned it in a similar matter before. The stock CPU fan is noticeably louder than normal. The temperature from the PC box feels hotter as well. The CPU usage jumps from a steady 1.6ghz to an erratic 2.4ghz despite it running at 2.8-2.9ghz before the clean. I noticed a strange-looking stain in-between both the CPU and the fan.

I'm assuming it might be old thermal paste but I wouldn't think it would be a problem considering I have cleaned it before and the PC being about 9 years old. If it was the thermal paste wouldn't I have noticed years ago? The temperature of the room is around 84C.

I don't know what the problem is and will provide more information that I have forgotten if needed. Money is tight so anything more then the thermal paste is most likely out of the question.
 

Manny.Pardo

Prominent
May 26, 2020
13
0
520
2
Recap

Problem

Cleaned the computer and noticed performance issues, a loud fan, and low CPU usage.
The CPU is supposed to be running around at 2.8 GHz but is instead staying at a low constant rate of 1.6 in demanding situations. This is most likely thermal throttling. Thermal Throttling is a failsafe designed to prevent the CPU from overheating and failure by lowering factors that would generate more heat like increased electricity and processing power.

Possible Solution.
Reducing the amount of heat in the CPU.
Applying a new thermal paste or heatsink in-between the CPU and the CPU coolant, which is in this case is a fan.

This is most likely the best possible answer unless I have forgotten anything, but I will not know until I attempted it myself. I will leave this unsolved to hopefully encourage others to share their opinion on what a better solution might be.

UPDATE
When I re-installed the fan I noticed that I did not tighten the screws all the way on the left side. I went back and tighten all the screws and booted it up. Noticed the fan was much quieter on the desktop and the CPU usage was no longer capped at 1.6GHz. I'm guessing the built-in heatsink on the fan was not completely covering the processor leaving a small air gap which increased the heat output by a lot. Despite this, I believe applying some thermal paste can only decrease the heat and resolve any further problems I might have relating to this later on. Everything is fine.
 
Last edited:

Vyrvelata

Commendable
You have not changed the thermal paste in 9 years? :O

The thermal paste is recommended to be changed at least every 2-3 years....
It depends on the compound but in general it becomes like a rock pieces in 6+ years and its completely losing the quality of transferring heat from the cpu to the cpu cooler.
 
Reactions: Manny.Pardo

Manny.Pardo

Prominent
May 26, 2020
13
0
520
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You have not changed the thermal paste in 9 years? :O

The thermal paste is recommended to be changed at least every 2-3 years....
It depends on the compound but in general it becomes like a rock pieces in 6+ years and its completely losing the quality of transferring heat from the cpu to the cpu cooler.
Ok, I'm going to replace it. Does it matter what kind? Why would of it been working fine before then?
 

Vyrvelata

Commendable
Ok, I'm going to replace it. Does it matter what kind? Why would of it been working fine before then?
It depends on the compound and not checking your temps (or not shutting down of your PC because its 80 not 90 or 100) does not mean working well. Working well is 40-60 C.
Proper thermal compound is Arctic cooling MX-2 MX-4, Noctua NT-H1 etc...
 

Manny.Pardo

Prominent
May 26, 2020
13
0
520
2
Recap

Problem

Cleaned the computer and noticed performance issues, a loud fan, and low CPU usage.
The CPU is supposed to be running around at 2.8 GHz but is instead staying at a low constant rate of 1.6 in demanding situations. This is most likely thermal throttling. Thermal Throttling is a failsafe designed to prevent the CPU from overheating and failure by lowering factors that would generate more heat like increased electricity and processing power.

Possible Solution.
Reducing the amount of heat in the CPU.
Applying a new thermal paste or heatsink in-between the CPU and the CPU coolant, which is in this case is a fan.

This is most likely the best possible answer unless I have forgotten anything, but I will not know until I attempted it myself. I will leave this unsolved to hopefully encourage others to share their opinion on what a better solution might be.

UPDATE
When I re-installed the fan I noticed that I did not tighten the screws all the way on the left side. I went back and tighten all the screws and booted it up. Noticed the fan was much quieter on the desktop and the CPU usage was no longer capped at 1.6GHz. I'm guessing the built-in heatsink on the fan was not completely covering the processor leaving a small air gap which increased the heat output by a lot. Despite this, I believe applying some thermal paste can only decrease the heat and resolve any further problems I might have relating to this later on. Everything is fine.
 
Last edited:

Manny.Pardo

Prominent
May 26, 2020
13
0
520
2
I bought and applied the thermal paste after a month of posting my solution. It worked as advertised. The PC is blowing a lot less hot air than it used to. Unfortunately I broke a screw which tightened the heat sink to the CPU. This could of been a major flaw for the PC but I believe the thermal paste acted as a sort of glue holding them together after I tightened the screws.

Since the heat sink isn't completely covering the CPU I believe I could still be having problems with it I may not notice. It could definitely be cooler.
 

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