Question I got some thermal past on my Ryzen 7 1700, what should I do?

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Karadjgne

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Paste should be micro-thin. You only need a grain of rice sized amount. No way should enough be used that it floods out the sides no matter how much pressure is applied. If you look at any pre-applied paste on any cooler/pump, it looks like it was sprayed on with a spray paint can, it's that thin.
 

Darkbreeze

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From my tutorial, which I do not claim is the best, or most accurate, or even "right" for every application, but you certainly won't go WRONG by following it.

Prior to establishing the mounting pressure you'll need to have already applied your thermal paste and although opinions regarding the correct amount vary as widely as you can imagine, the old adage about opinions being like a very distinctly distasteful body part would certainly seem to apply here. Everything from five very small dots to slathering it on with a credit card, using a pea sized dollop, the three line method and possibly anything else up to and including drawing a smiley face have been not only mentioned in various circles but almost certainly tried in reality as well.

-Some methods "Recommended" around the web-







-The likely, but undesirable results of those methods-






I don't recommend any of those, and to clarify, I'm not claiming to be an authority or trying to indicate there is no other way but mine, but it is one that has worked on literally hundreds of builds over the years without issue.

I personally prescribe to the large cooked rice grain (For high mounting pressure type heatsinks) or a dab about half the size (Of the part that sticks past the metal) of a #2 pencil eraser (Low mounting pressure type heatsinks) when using any of the commonly available pastes that come in a tube applicator like the Arctic Silver 5 or most of the included pastes that come with premium coolers. If you are using a stock, low pressure mounting system type cooler like those which use the stock mounting hardware and backplate, you will want to probably use double the amount of thermal interface material (paste) because the low pressure will not effectively force the paste outward from the center point nearly as much as aftermarket high mounting pressure coolers do.

I've never had excess paste squeeze from between the CPU lid and heatsink using this method nor had an issue with inadequate cooling due to any lack of sufficient TIM. You can make your own decision on what works best for you. Depending on the cooler, a very small snow pea sized dab will work well too, so long as you don't get carried away or misconstrue the definition of snow pea. For our purposes, perhaps a dab about 1/3 the size of a number 2 pencil eraser is a better description.



-More promising methods-






-Probable results-







Notice that even with this method there is substantial filling of the heat pipe seams. It is NOT necessary to lay multiple lines along seams.



Nearly every novice builder thinks more will be better, until they learn for themselves how wrong that way of thinking truly is. The paste is only there to provide a thermal interface between the metal of the cpu lid and the base of the heatsink. It's only job is to bridge any convex or concave tendencies of the lid or heatsink base and to fill microscopic pores in either surface.

It's not there as a magic cooling pad and it's use would actually be entirely unnecessary were both surfaces to be completely flat and non-porous. But since that is unlikely, a thermal interface material is required.


(As home mechanics, handymen, tinkerers and especially with guys in general, we tend to want to always do a little extra. An extra turn on that bolt, which causes it to break. An extra half gallon in the gas tank, which overflows and slowly eats your paint away.

The list goes on but in this instance you'll want to to avoid the inclination to add any "extra" or "just a little bit more" when applying the paste. One small strip in the dead center, the size of a large cooked grain of rice or two small uncooked grains of rice at most, dead center, is plenty to fill the needed areas when the heatsink is tightened to the correct specifications using the recommended tightening procedure.)​
 

Karadjgne

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I know. It sounds crazy and stupid. But honestly, there's nothing on a motherboard that hot water will destroy. It's not paper or cardboard. It's plastic, fiberglass, tin, copper etc.

The only possible damage comes afterwards when electricity is returned, if the board isn't completely dry, it'll short.

No different than pulling out the battery on a cell phone and dropping it in a bowl of rice after it gets washed, rained out, dropped in the toilet etc.
 

Darkbreeze

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Yes, it is. A battery is a sealed unit. There are no slots, or sockets, or dissimilar metals to be in contact with each other and begin the galvanic corrosion process. Not to mention the fact that the caps themselves are generally still holding charges. I can't recommend it, sorry. Like I said, it MIGHT work, but it's a risk "I" would be unwilling to take.
 

Karadjgne

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GamersNexus did a test. A 'too much paste' test. I'll link the video below. The gist being that too much paste really had no affect on temps as such, but that's not why I'm mentioning it. The end result I took was that the cleanup on necessary amounts (as proscribed by Darkbreeze, and I wholly support) means cleanup is as safe and easy as possible. The actual die is only 1/3rd the surface area of what you see, and thats all that needs covering, you don't need to cover 100% of the surface. So a little dab is enough, right in the middle. I'd not want to have to cleanup any of the pc's used in the video

View: https://youtu.be/EUWVVTY63hc
 

MetallicMonk

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I think OP could get away with cleaning up the thermal paste by hand. Just use previous suggestions of alcohol and a paint brush.

Just tidy it up the best you can. Coffee filter seems like a good suggestion as won't likely leave behind fibers.

As long as you pins and the socket is clean, as well as the CPU heatspreader, a bit of spilled thermal paste won't harm anything.
 
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bignastyid

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I actually have soaked a motherboard in water(distilled water to be exact) after my cpu waterblock leaked and spread coolant everywhere. Now I only did this as a last ditch effort/experiment. I soaked the board in distilled water to removes the coolant which had dried around the socket vrms and chipset. Soaked in for a few hours with the water an room temp and very carefully used a soft brush till all the coolant had been cleaned away. Then let the board dry in a large bad of rice for a week(likely didn't need that long but I was busy doing other things so I just let it sit). after cleaning off some of the rice and dust I then soaked the board again but this time used 99% isopropanol(did a very good job of removing the rice dust, also make sure the room is well ventilated) then hung the board with the ports facing down and had a fan blow on it for a day to dry it out. To my surprise the board is fully functional.

However I was cleaning coolant which was water soluble, I don't think thermal grease is water soluble so using water is likely a moot point.
 

Karadjgne

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Paste by itself isn't very good for thermal conduction, it's no better than toothpaste, just doesn't dry out as fast. What actually conducts the heat is all the micro particulates in the paste, the silicates, diamond dust etc. The paste itself is just a medium to hold all those. Cold water will just have the same affect it has on any grease, basically nothing, but the water in a dishwasher is around 120-150°, and will break down the grease. Like butter in cold water vs butter in boiling water.
 

nicholas70

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Wow guess I also use too much thermal paste or at least according to darkbreeze. I've been using the pea in the center of the IHS for quite some time, and have never considered it to be excessive. I will say that a few times I have had trouble removing the heatsink due to it sticking to the IHS so maybe that's the reason but thankfully I've never gotten paste in the cpu socket.
 

retroforlife

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small pea in the middle works great for normal cpu the plate spreads it out seen how it does it with clear plastic the spread method just helps speed up the break in time since most take a while for it to work till its working at its best since the heat sink expanse and contracts when it gets hot and cold but if the heat sink has pipes direct to the cpu it can require spreading out . only cpu i use a line on are the big cpu like the amd ryzen threadripper them things are huge 😁
 

retroforlife

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GamersNexus did a test. A 'too much paste' test. I'll link the video below. The gist being that too much paste really had no affect on temps as such, but that's not why I'm mentioning it. The end result I took was that the cleanup on necessary amounts (as proscribed by Darkbreeze, and I wholly support) means cleanup is as safe and easy as possible. The actual die is only 1/3rd the surface area of what you see, and thats all that needs covering, you don't need to cover 100% of the surface. So a little dab is enough, right in the middle. I'd not want to have to cleanup any of the pc's used in the video

View: https://youtu.be/EUWVVTY63hc
pretty sure i have seen him washing CPU's he's pretty brutal with most of the CPU's he works with makes my heart sink on some of there videos 😂
 

Christian Levesque

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JESUS CHRIST...using a dish washer omg /facepalm hope you wont follow this advice lol. Go to the drugstore and get a bottle of Acetone and use a q-tip or a small semi-rigid paint brush to clean thermal paste.
 

Darkbreeze

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small pea in the middle works great for normal cpu the plate spreads it out seen how it does it with clear plastic the spread method just helps speed up the break in time since most take a while for it to work till its working at its best since the heat sink expanse and contracts when it gets hot and cold but if the heat sink has pipes direct to the cpu it can require spreading out . only cpu i use a line on are the big cpu like the amd ryzen threadripper them things are huge 😁
A "pea" sized amount is FAR too much for a high pressure mount like most aftermarket coolers. 1/3 the size of a pea is more than enough. For a cooler that has a low mounting pressure like a stock type mounting system, then a very SMALL pea, like a snow pea, is probably fine. About right.

JESUS CHRIST...using a dish washer omg /facepalm hope you wont follow this advice lol. Go to the drugstore and get a bottle of Acetone and use a q-tip or a small semi-rigid paint brush to clean thermal paste.
Do not EVER use acetone on a motherboard. It will melt anything plastic like the DIMM slots, PCI slots, protective coverings, any silkscreened printing on the board such as what a specific header's designation and denomination are, etc. It's a VERY aggressive solvent. Using it on a motherboard is something we've had lengthy conversations about in the past and if you HAVE to use it due to not having anything else available in your region, then use it EXTREMELY sparingly on a piece of cloth and ONLY in an amount that is enough to barely wet the cleaning media. Do not ever use it in the same way you would iso alcohol, which can be used pretty liberally.
 

justin.m.beauvais

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What in the heck is happening in this thread? Dishwashers? Acetone? Squirt guns of alcohol?

Are we trying to kill electronics? Is this an April Fools thread?

Honestly the toothbrush or paintbrush and alcohol idea has been the best one I've seen. As long as the paste isn't thermally conductive then you are fine not getting all of it off. This isn't LGA... it is PGA. PGA is moderately forgiving in cases like these. As long as half the pin is exposed you'll have continuity. I mean, do your best to get as much off as you can, but if you end up leaving specks of it here and there, it isn't a problem.

Dishwashers? What happens to components that get flexed too many times? They break off. What happens in a dishwasher? Jets of water go round and round causing pressure on components and connections! Jets of water engineered to strip gunk of of ceramics! Not to mention that PCBs are layers of material with metal layers embedded in them. If you get moisture between layers with will start to separate them. No... just no... we are talking about something that can be killed by over exposure to humidity. How does submerging it in water seem like a great idea!?

Acetone is even worse! Never EVER use it for cleaning anything but the IHS and only then as a last resort.

Man... the level of crazy here... I need to lay down.
 
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Darkbreeze

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Extreme overclockers use LN2 as well. Not something I'd recommend for OUR target audience, at least, not in MOST cases. Also, I'm not sure I'd have a lot of trust in any extreme overclocker that did something to their board that REQUIRED the need to PUT in in a dishwasher to start with. It might indicate a lack of best practices or serious carelessness, neither of which are things I think I'd find particularly likely to make me trust any other advice from that individual. But as mentioned before, I agree that it is not just the water that is the problem. It could be tiny bits of egg that get into your CPU socket because they stuck to the inside of the washer on the last wash cycle, or something similarly undesirable.

BTW, good to see you back posting again.

And as far as the socket type, that really doesn't matter. There are OTHER problems too much paste can cause ASIDE from not being electrically conductive, such as not ALLOWING a good connection between contacts. It can be a barrier just as easily as it can be a short.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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Paste should be micro-thin. You only need a grain of rice sized amount. No way should enough be used that it floods out the sides no matter how much pressure is applied. If you look at any pre-applied paste on any cooler/pump, it looks like it was sprayed on with a spray paint can, it's that thin.
I’ve built 4 computers before and never made the mistake of putting too much on, of course when doing stuff with my own pc I screw it up
 
Apr 9, 2019
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What in the heck is happening in this thread? Dishwashers? Acetone? Squirt guns of alcohol?

Are we trying to kill electronics? Is this an April Fools thread?

Honestly the toothbrush or paintbrush and alcohol idea has been the best one I've seen. As long as the paste isn't thermally conductive then you are fine not getting all of it off. This isn't LGA... it is PGA. PGA is moderately forgiving in cases like these. As long as half the pin is exposed you'll have continuity. I mean, do your best to get as much off as you can, but if you end up leaving specks of it here and there, it isn't a problem.

Dishwashers? What happens to components that get flexed too many times? They break off. What happens in a dishwasher? Jets of water go round and round causing pressure on components and connections! Jets of water engineered to strip gunk of of ceramics! Not to mention that PCBs are layers of material with metal layers embedded in them. If you get moisture between layers with will start to separate them. No... just no... we are talking about something that can be killed by over exposure to humidity. How does submerging it in water seem like a great idea!?

Acetone is even worse! Never EVER use it for cleaning anything but the IHS and only then as a last resort.

Man... the level of crazy here... I need to lay down.
Lol I know this thread is a bit crazy now and I’m just gonna stick with the toothbrush
 
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I think OP could get away with cleaning up the thermal paste by hand. Just use previous suggestions of alcohol and a paint brush.

Just tidy it up the best you can. Coffee filter seems like a good suggestion as won't likely leave behind fibers.

As long as you pins and the socket is clean, as well as the CPU heatspreader, a bit of spilled thermal paste won't harm anything.
This is a good straight forward answer thank you
 

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