[SOLVED] i7-960 suddenly running hot

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Karadjgne

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Might want to read the whole sentence. The paste, the liquid component doesn't do anything for thermal conductivity. It's the stuff added, like the graphite, silicates, diamond dust etc that does the thermal transfer. You can have a 'paste' totally dry out and it doesn't change anything, it's still just as thermally conductive as when fresh. That's what makes it different to toothpaste or denture creams that dry out in a few days but work when wet.

And you really do want to change out AS5 every 2-3 years, once it hits @ 200 heat cycles and dries out its very easy to break the seal on the cpu by just unsnapping the fan for a good clean or even having a fan catch a vibration due to dust buildup.
 

InvalidError

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Might want to read the whole sentence.
It is a whole sentence that I quoted, the quote ends with a period and clearly referred to the paste as a whole being an insulator. Your whole post erroneously referred to the paste being a component of thermal compound when they are one and the same thing.

Sounds like you brain-farted and substituted 'paste' to 'oil' and haven't realized it yet.
 

Karadjgne

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No, you are just getting more technically correct. There's more to the liquidish component than just silicon oil. You take out the solids that do the work and you've still got a paste ish compound leftover.

And yes it is an insulator. If you could actually get it thick enough, without squashing out the sides due to the mounting pressure, like 3-4mm thick, it'd be as bad, if not worse than a cheap thermal pad
 

InvalidError

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No, you are just getting more technically correct. There's more to the liquidish component than just silicon oil. You take out the solids that do the work and you've still got a paste ish compound leftover.
Most thermal pastes are really just 20-30% base oil (*-siloxane for silicone) and 70-80% fillers, there is nothing else to separate. You only need other stuff when you want to do fancy things like make a non-electrically-conductive paste out of electrically conductive fillers such as graphite and silver.
 
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dg27

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All interesting stuff; I'll be going with AS5, since that's what I ordered. I'm most concerned over the possibility of the heatsink being stuck. Hopefully that won't be the case and this will prove to be the problem. My machine hasn't shut down (knock on wood), but it;s throttling and the temps are high.

Thanks for all your input.
 

Third-Eye

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And you really do want to change out AS5 every 2-3 years, once it hits @ 200 heat cycles and dries out its very easy to break the seal on the cpu by just unsnapping the fan for a good clean or even having a fan catch a vibration due to dust buildup.
Arctic silver 5 is a grease and doesn't dry out. I use Arctic silver 5 on computers I know will never be touched again for years at time specifically for that reason. It doesn't separate from the thermally conductive particles like an oil based paste would. AC5 can last 5-6 years before you would need to think about reapplying it unless you were constantly running a system as an encode or render server. In that case, you would want to reduce that time to 2-3 years between reapplications. This all assumes you don't have massive dust and garbage build up on the heat-sink. If it's a somewhat dusty environment, you would be reapplying thermal paste at every cleaning, probably at least every 6-8 months. Really though, the only time you need to reapply thermal paste is when it no longer thermally conducts like it used to or when removing the heat-sink.
 
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Ketchup79

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Actually, I had noticed the temps rising for a while, especially when using Pro Tools. It's also my 'dayjob' machine. This morning when it shut down abruptly I know that Acronis, Outlook, Firefox, Excel, and Acrobat were all running.

If I find that that the heatsink is stuck, is there a way of loosening it without damaging the CPU?
Assuming we are talking about the stock Intel cooler, once you push the clips out from the motherboard holders, and you find it still stuck, use a twist technique, not pull. (Hint: if the cooler drops off as soon as you loosen the holders, that would definitely explain your high temps.)
 
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dg27

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Assuming we are talking about the stock Intel cooler, once you push the clips out from the motherboard holders, and you find it still stuck, use a twist technique, not pull. (Hint: if the cooler drops off as soon as you loosen the holders, that would definitely explain your high temps.)
Yes, this is a stock (Dell) cooler. To my knowledge this can't be upgraded (e.g., you can't stick in a Noctua NH-U12S).

I'll keep this in mind. When I was trying to blow out the dust stuck in the "fins" and also trying to determine whether the shroud alone could be removed (it can't) there did seem to be a little bit of play.
 

Third-Eye

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Yes, this is a stock (Dell) cooler. To my knowledge this can't be upgraded (e.g., you can't stick in a Noctua NH-U12S).

I'll keep this in mind. When I was trying to blow out the dust stuck in the "fins" and also trying to determine whether the shroud alone could be removed (it can't) there did seem to be a little bit of play.
Looking at what I believe are the motherboards that the Dell XPS 9100 shipped with, it appears a heat-sink for lga 1366 would fit fine. If you are replacing the system soon though I wouldn't invest much more into it. A Deepcool GAMMAXX 400 for around $20-25 should work fine on that board if you still feel like upgrading the cooler.
 

Karadjgne

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Dells are funky. They like to use proprietary stuff everywhere they can get away with it. That includes the cpu cooler. The P4 in my old 8400 had a single fan inside a green plastic shroud and the side of the heatsink was open. So air was pulled into the heatsink and shoved outside the case, the single fan doing double duty as cpu fan and rear exhaust. What that meant was that that shroud was proprietary to that heatsink, but only that. I did remove the whole thing, shroud and heatsink and replaced them with a rear exhaust fan and aftermarket cpu cooler.

The mounting for the cooler wasn't proprietary, it was standard Intel. So if you want to change/upgrade the cooler, you can, just be aware that some other things may need to change too.
 
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dg27

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Dells are funky. They like to use proprietary stuff everywhere they can get away with it. That includes the cpu cooler. The P4 in my old 8400 had a single fan inside a green plastic shroud and the side of the heatsink was open. So air was pulled into the heatsink and shoved outside the case, the single fan doing double duty as cpu fan and rear exhaust. What that meant was that that shroud was proprietary to that heatsink, but only that. I did remove the whole thing, shroud and heatsink and replaced them with a rear exhaust fan and aftermarket cpu cooler.

The mounting for the cooler wasn't proprietary, it was standard Intel. So if you want to change/upgrade the cooler, you can, just be aware that some other things may need to change too.
I had two 8400s: I remember that green plastic shroud. This Dell is my last. I need and use optical drives and they've pretty much gotten rid of them. And I found that I can get one custom built for about the same price as their top tier desktop, with lesser components.

Do the "surgery" on this one as soon as the AS5 arrives tomorrow.

Thanks again.
 

dg27

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Well, right now the weather forecast is cool, but sunny.

Core Temp is showing temperatures in the high 40s to mid-50s at idle. I cannot remember them ever being this low. Even when things were "OK" the minimum I'd ever seen at idle was in the 70s. This morning when I turned it on to heat up the processor (so it's be easier to get out), it was showing three cores at 99 or 100 and the CPU fan was screaming like a jet. Now I can't even hear it, but am certain it's working. It was momentarily a bit higher when my antivirus was running a startup scan, but Speccy is showing an average during this session of 64 deg.

As soon as I loosened the retainer screws on the heatsink it was clear that there'd be no problem getting it off. I gently twisted (to be sure not to pull the processor out), but there was no resistance. On both the processor cover and the heatsink the old grease was just a gray cake-like film.

I thoroughly blew everything out of the fins on the cooler and cleaned the cover and the heatsink surface with 99% Isopropyl using a a clean microfiber cloth. I applied a "small kernel of corn"-sized dab of Arctic Silver 5, aligned the screws, tightened (and said a prayer).

It booted faster, with no immediate screaming fan: that's when I knew it'd be OK.

Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in: I could not have resolved this without your knowledge and help.
 

InvalidError

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When you tightened the HSF, did you tighten each screw all the way down or did you hold the HSF flat against the CPU, snugged screws in a cross pattern to make sure the HSF remains flat against the CPU and THEN finished tightening? If you ran screws all the way down, the HSF may be slanted and only making contact with the CPU along one edge.
 

Mrgr74

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Well, right now the weather forecast is cool, but sunny.

Core Temp is showing temperatures in the high 40s to mid-50s at idle. I cannot remember them ever being this low. Even when things were "OK" the minimum I'd ever seen at idle was in the 70s. This morning when I turned it on to heat up the processor (so it's be easier to get out), it was showing three cores at 99 or 100 and the CPU fan was screaming like a jet. Now I can't even hear it, but am certain it's working. It was momentarily a bit higher when my antivirus was running a startup scan, but Speccy is showing an average during this session of 64 deg.

As soon as I loosened the retainer screws on the heatsink it was clear that there'd be no problem getting it off. I gently twisted (to be sure not to pull the processor out), but there was no resistance. On both the processor cover and the heatsink the old grease was just a gray cake-like film.

I thoroughly blew everything out of the fins on the cooler and cleaned the cover and the heatsink surface with 99% Isopropyl using a a clean microfiber cloth. I applied a "small kernel of corn"-sized dab of Arctic Silver 5, aligned the screws, tightened (and said a prayer).

It booted faster, with no immediate screaming fan: that's when I knew it'd be OK.

Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in: I could not have resolved this without your knowledge and help.
Awesome News! Very happy things are running cooler AND everything is back together! Well Done! :)
 

dg27

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@InvalidError: I believe I did it the way you described, sort of like the way my father taught me to put on a car wheel: I tightened the 2 o'clock, then the 8 o'clock, then the 11 o'clock, then the 5 o'clock, only a little bit each time and made several passes, repeating on the same order. Make sense?
 
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InvalidError

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I believe I did it the way you described, sort of like the way my father taught me to put on a car wheel: I tightened the 2 o'clock, then the 8 o'clock, then the 11 o'clock, then the 5 o'clock, only a little bit each time and made several passes, repeating on the same order. Make sense?
If that's really what you did, then it should be fine.
 

Karadjgne

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Yes, the X pattern is the only recommended way to tighten a 4 screw cpu cooler, gotta balance out the thermal paste spread and the pressure on the cpu. Keeps the paste in the middle. Tightening down 1 at a time forces the paste out from under the last side like squashing a burger on one side will shove the patty out the other.
 

dg27

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Yes, the X pattern is the only recommended way to tighten a 4 screw cpu cooler, gotta balance out the thermal paste spread and the pressure on the cpu. Keeps the paste in the middle. Tightening down 1 at a time forces the paste out from under the last side like squashing a burger on one side will shove the patty out the other.
Thanks for clarifying. I just intuitively did it that way.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Yes, the X pattern is the only recommended way to tighten a 4 screw cpu cooler, gotta balance out the thermal paste spread and the pressure on the cpu.
I would be far more worried about one screw tightened too far to taking that edge of the HSF below the IHS level and then causing massive excess pressure on that edge or corner of the CPU/socket when the opposite side is tightened down due to lever effect. Could damage the board, solder balls under the socket or the socket itself on top of the uneven contact issue.

This is more or less the same reason lug nuts are tightened in most distant nut patterns, preferably in 2-3 tightening rounds so the wheel can find its way to flatness and center against the wheel hub even if there is a little dirt or rust in the way by evenly crushing it instead of kicking over one way with dirt as the pivot point and then the opposite nuts having to work harder to bring the wheel back in-plane.
 

Mrgr74

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Yes, the X pattern is the only recommended way to tighten a 4 screw cpu cooler, gotta balance out the thermal paste spread and the pressure on the cpu. Keeps the paste in the middle. Tightening down 1 at a time forces the paste out from under the last side like squashing a burger on one side will shove the patty out the other.
LOL @ squishing the patty!
 

dg27

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This is more or less the same reason lug nuts are tightened in most distant nut patterns, preferably in 2-3 tightening rounds so the wheel can find its way to flatness and center against the wheel hub
Although I didn't give it a lot of thought, this was closest thing I could compare to and just thought that it would be the best way to handle the HSU. I did it very gradually--probably had 5 tightening rounds.
 

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