Question Thermal Paste in AM4 Socket - Computer Won't Post

Nerdasaurus

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Hi guys,
My friend has recently attempted to build his first gaming PC, only to get a small amount of thermal paste stuck in his CPU socket and on his CPU. After a BIOS update, he managed to get his computer to post long enough to install Windows and a couple of programs, only for the computer to shut down completely. He has taken it to a local computer repair shop, who cleaned the CPU, however they weren't able to get it to post.

I had planned to go over to his house tomorrow in an attempt to troubleshoot his rig, but I'm not the most experienced with this level of error. Is it likely that the thermal paste in the socket is the issue here, or could it be something more costly? If it is the thermal paste that is causing the short, what is the best way to clean it? I assume with something like a Q-Tip and Isopropyl Alcohol? Would we need to take parts of the socket off?

Here are some specs, hopefully this is enough information but I can source more if required.

Motherboard: B450A Pro Max (MSI) - AM4
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
GPU: GTX 2060
Thermal Paste: Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Cooler: Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE

Any help is greatly appreciated - I am at a bit of a loss and obviously my friend is very upset at the prospect of having to buy another board or CPU. Please let me know if I need to include any more details or if there is anything I should pass on to my friend.

TIA
 
I would be using q-tips with contact cleaner or rubbing alcohol......and maybe some compressed air. It's hard to say without seeing it.

Also, if you can't get it to post no way no how.....I would suspect the MB over the CPU.....CPUs tend to be tougher.

I also think that if the paste was conductive....you have a much higher chance of causing a problem.
 

Nemesia

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The local "repair" shop didn't diagnose the system? Any repair shop should at least have a working CPU that can fit in that board for repair testing reason. It would have taken them 5 minutes to know if it was the CPU or the Board.

If the CPU is clean and there is no bent pin then the CPU should still be fine. The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is not conductive. The Grizzly Conductonaut is conductive.
 

Nerdasaurus

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I would be using q-tips with contact cleaner or rubbing alcohol......and maybe some compressed air. It's hard to say without seeing it.

Also, if you can't get it to post no way no how.....I would suspect the MB over the CPU.....CPUs tend to be tougher.

I also think that if the paste was conductive....you have a much higher chance of causing a problem.
I'm yet to see it myself but that sounds like the way to go. I was just told that the CPU was idling at ~70C before shutting off, which isn't critically high as far as I know. Is it possible that the CPU is cooked?

The local "repair" shop didn't diagnose the system? Any repair shop should at least have a working CPU that can fit in that board for repair testing reason. It would have taken them 5 minutes to know if it was the CPU or the Board.

If the CPU is clean and there is no bent pin then the CPU should still be fine. The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is not conductive. The Grizzly Conductonaut is conductive.
I was also quite frustrated by this - it's hard to troubleshoot myself if I'm not sure what component is faulty. The CPU is clean with no bent pins as far as I'm aware. According to the repair shop, the thermal paste is causing a short between the mobo and CPU which is stopping it from posting. I am surprised that they didn't attempt to clean it out.
 
I'm yet to see it myself but that sounds like the way to go. I was just told that the CPU was idling at ~70C before shutting off, which isn't critically high as far as I know. Is it possible that the CPU is cooked?



I was also quite frustrated by this - it's hard to troubleshoot myself if I'm not sure what component is faulty. The CPU is clean with no bent pins as far as I'm aware. According to the repair shop, the thermal paste is causing a short between the mobo and CPU which is stopping it from posting. I am surprised that they didn't attempt to clean it out.
70C shouldn't hurt the CPU.....but 70C idle is very high.....so in this situation (with such a high idle temp)......I would think it's possible that under load the temp might go very high.

I would do as good a job cleaning the paste off as I could.....then let whatever you use dry completely (alcohol or whatever...), inspect the pins.....make sure there isn't paste between them....and reinstall and try it.
 

Nerdasaurus

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70C shouldn't hurt the CPU.....but 70C idle is very high.....so in this situation (with such a high idle temp)......I would think it's possible that under load the temp might go very high.

I would do as good a job cleaning the paste off as I could.....then let whatever you use dry completely (alcohol or whatever...), inspect the pins.....make sure there isn't paste between them....and reinstall and try it.
I hope this is the case - if we can get it to at least post without having to buy new hardware, we can sort out the idle temperatures later provided it isn't fried. I'll attempt to buy some alcohol in the morning and keep you posted. Thanks for your help.
 
If the thermal paste is the cause of the system not posting it's could easily be it got pushed down into the sockets enough to inhibit good contact between pins and socket leaves. If that's the case then trying to clean the surface with a cotton swab and alcohol probably won't do much good, or be unreliable at best. A cue-tip (thankfully) won't get down into the sockets and I strongly suggest making no attempt to clean down into the sockets with any other kind of tiny, stiff cleaning tool...especially not a brush like a tooth brush or even a soft artist's brush. The tiny 'leaves' that make up the contacts are extremely delicate, but normally well protected in the body of the socket.

I'd suggest soaking the board in a tray filled up with enough 90% isopropyl alcohol to completely cover the socket. Leave it soaking like that for a while, maybe an hour or more, occasionally agitating the board or the alcohol to keep it fresh in the area of the socket. Then remove it and carefully spray the contacts out with an electronic contact cleaner... the below would be good if you can get it.

https://www.amazon.com/CRC-05103-Electronic-Cleaner-11/dp/B000BXOGNI

when the socket sprays clean, rinse again in clean IPA and then let dry. Let dry thoroughly, maybe a couple days. You can also blow it off with a hair dryer to speed it up, just remember that alcohol is flammable so be careful.
 
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ohio_buckeye

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What type of paste was he using? If Arctic Silver 5, I believe Arctic Silver 5 is conductive. So if he got Arctic Silver in there, you might be looking at a new board and cpu. The only way to know is try the CPU in another board or another CPU in that board. If either of those work you will know what's going on.
 

Zizo007

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I wouldn't try another CPU it might fry it.
Just test the CPU in another board.
Try a toothpick or a needle wrapped in a kleenex with alcohol on it. Don't force it in the socket just gently move around covered areas. Use magnifying glasses to see which socket hole is the issue.

If that doesn't work well that motherboard isn't expensive and you will need a new one.
 

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