Idiot - An adventure in CPU upgrading

The true tale of a hapless DIY PC enthusiast

By on November 19, 2012 3:56:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

unacomn

Join Date 11/2008
+21

 

Hello folks, stop me if you've heard this before, but changing a CPU is hard if you have no prior experience in doing it. Thought it would be something easy, just pop the old one out, pop the new on in, ladder some thermal paste on it, put the cooler on and BANG! That's all she wrote.

Well, it sort of started like that. Got the old CPU out OK, put the new one in without hassle, got the heatsink cleaned, and began wondering just how fluid is thermal paste when I pushed on the serringe with some force. A lot more came out than I thought, but I said "what the heck, and left it on there". Put the cooler in, snapped in place with some wiggling, 775 could have used a more accurate mounting system.

Started up, posted, loaded windows, it detected the new CPU, installed it, so I thought I'd check out the temperatures. I'm not sure what they were on my other CPU, since it was a Pentium D, it was made before thermal probes were invented, so I never had a clue. Using my old Athlon 64 as a benchmark wasn't going to work, since that one died out at 40 Celsius, while this one was idling at 45 on one core, getting lower to about 38 on the fourth. It's a "brand new" second hand Q6600 G0 in case you were wondering.

So, I thought they were a bit much, but no sweat, the temperature of my X1950 was 50% that my 6600LE, in the video card deperment, and that spooked me for quite a while before I got accustomed to it. Heard there was this nifty program to test stability, Prme 95, so I loaded it up, and in about 5 minutes, core 1 got to 78 celsius, point at which I stopped it out of fear. Tried 3D Mark 2011, and it got to 73 at max. Temperatures weren't making me feel safe, though the performance, hot dang, jumped a thousand!

So, I got to thinking. My old heatsink has a bigger fan. It's the same thing in every other aspect except the fan, and the guy that sold me the CPU said that he didn't have the stock fan, he replaced it with this one, since the one he had stock was a lower profile one, he also suggested that it may be the thermal paste.

Powered down the rig, got to removing the heatsink, and boy was I suprised to see what was in there. Immagine if you will, so much thermal paste that it got on the heatsink, it got on the CPU, it got on the mount, it got on the board, it got on my hands, it got on my shirt, it got on my furniture, I'm afraid to look in the mirror because I can guess where else it got. Every time I cleaned a spot and turned around, there it was, back, like magic. It got everywhere, it got in places I never knew existed. But in an hour or so, I managed to get rid of most of it, though I may paint the coffee table silver and audition as the next Silver Server.

After that mishap, I installed the other heatsink, with less paste, booted up, and the temperatures were even higher. I was at wits end now, so I took it off again, only to see that the other cooler, with the smaller fan that the guy gave me with the CPU, uses more amps, so I guess it's better, tough in the BIOS it runs at about 1000 RPM, whereas the other one goes to 2000. So I clean off the grease again, this time I used less, which is good, since I've almost run out of paper towles and qtips. I put even less paste, though at one point I had a bit of a conflict, since it looked like there was too little of it, so I dabbed a little bit more.

I booted up, entered windows, and now it's sitting at very light load at 42 for the first core and down to 36 for the fourth. In complete idle, the first core is at 38-39, and the rest are a bit lower.

This is where I am now, I haven't run any stress tests, any 3D Marks, any Prime95, since if it all goes kerfuffle again (if that is a word), I will cry myself into a chemical bath, since there isn't anywhere left to get thermal paste onto myself through sheer incompetence. I'll probably sleep on it, the paste that is, since it's everywhere, and do those tests in the morning, when my brain is rested and better equipped to handle psichological torture.

I felt the need to write this down somewhere, so that if anyone else ever goes trough something like this, they would know, what not to do. NEVER PUT TOO MUCH PASTE ON IT.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go weep. But at least I'm not lugging around a Pentium D anymore.

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November 19, 2012 4:11:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It does take surprisingly little.

If you want to re-visit your application, Arctic Silver has some handy little instructions.  You click through your processor type and go from there.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/instructions.htm

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November 19, 2012 4:13:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It probably would pay you to research exactly what thermal paste does....

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November 19, 2012 4:32:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I know what it does, makes me look like the Silver Surfer.

It's getting to 50 degrees in FTL now, not exactly something fun.

I'll re-re add it tomorrow. This time even less of it. I swear these were made especially to discourage people like me from meddling with the CPU.

It was also probably not a good idea to show my support for the new computer store down the street by buying thermal paste from them, since they didn't have any on stock, and the one they got is a brand I never heard of before.

Well, at least it can't get any worse when I upgrade my RAM, that even I can do... unless something stupid happens.

I wonder what happens if I boil an egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November 19, 2012 4:49:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

How did you spread it over CPU? Did you spread it with fingers or did you put good amount in the center made a cross etc.... and spread it with radiator? You might have some air bubles inside.....

 

And you need only pea grain size of paste for 11 use ....

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November 19, 2012 7:37:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

An easy way to apply thermal paste is to do the x pattern and then use a plastic sandwich bag. Put your finger on the inside and keeping the bag between your finger and the paste spread it around until you've got a nice even distribution and a slight gap between the edge of the paste and the cpu edge (it usually won't kill anything if you're at the edge).

 

I have a newer processor, I used to have a Pentium D 3.2ghz that ran each core at about 45°C idle, about 70-75°C under load (Yikes!!!)

 

Anyways, on my new build I'm running an i5-2500k 3.3ghz quad core. It idles between 28°C-36°C and under load gets up to 45°C-55° when running Battlefield 3 or Skyrim at max settings. Sins runs my cpu up to about 45°C on a single core after a long game.

 

As a reference, most of the older CoreDuo labtops idled at 45°C on their core temps and ran up to 60°C under load.

 

That all being said I'm not as familiar with the Q6600 G0 cpus or what they normally run at in an air cooled system so your temps may actually be close to normal.

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November 19, 2012 7:44:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

  This reminds me of the time I tried (eventually succeeded) to fix a bathtub leak... so many similarities. The best thing is I had a YouTube video telling me it was a 5 minute job. Yeah, it took smart old me 2 days with 5 trips to Home Depot.

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November 20, 2012 6:04:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I've slept on it. In the light of day you can barely see that everything was silver last night. Haven't taken the heastink off again. Instead, I tested it with prime95 again, temperature didn't go over 75 for 15 minutes. Most importantly, I re-encoded the video I previously did with the Pentium D, it finished in half the time, with temp going once over 70, but staying mainly under 70. 

So far it hasn't exploded, and unless that happens, I think I'll leave it like this. I tend to get riled up when things don't go perfect and start overanalyzing things until I get a migrane, so I've decided to stop doing that. If it goes, it goes, may as well use it to the best until then. I've got the Pentium D as a backup CPU, I have the horribly outdated Ahtlon 64 as a back-up PC. And if my investment in honeybees pays off next year and I finally find a client to unload a half a ton of  honey at a reasonable price, I may actually afford a new PC.

So, basically, YOLO. 

 

 

 

 

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November 20, 2012 6:38:49 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
It probably would pay you to research exactly what thermal paste does....

....again....

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November 20, 2012 7:48:25 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What i would fear the most when mounting CPU heatsink is not the thermal paste thing, but the force you need to apply to screw the heatsink to the mainboard... i mean, you screw it way too loosely, there wont be enough contact for the heat transport  and you can potentially even burn the CPU.... on other hand, screw it too tightly and you can physically damage the CPU as the silicon underneath the IHS is pretty squishy...  

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November 20, 2012 10:34:01 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Go to youtube and search for thermal paste application.  Several good ones show how the paste spreads based on the initial application.  It's enlightening.  For me the thermal paste was the "scariest" part of my first build.  You really don't know how good a job you did until you run it for a while. 

Now that you are the Herald of Galactus fear no mortal!

 

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November 20, 2012 1:31:04 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting RedDwarf999,
Go to youtube and search for thermal paste application.

^ This

Some of them really show air bubbles problem....  

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November 20, 2012 1:53:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thermal paste...less is more.

On some CPUs, it's also really easy to reverse mount your sink which is not good.

I use a credit card, artic silver and "spackle" it on very meticulously and uniformly.  Placing and clamping it down in the most linear and smooth way possible is important too--no twisting about after you get it in place.

Scariest experiences for me are getting a board mount where the clamp is so tight the board "bows" in the middle or takes a screwdriver as a pry bar to get in place...then the screw driver slips and you almost scrape a capacitor or circuit pathway off the board.  

More than anything, you want smooth, uniform unbroken coverage with your thermal paste and none oozing out the sides after you are done (too much).  Kind of like laying concrete in a driveway.

 

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November 20, 2012 7:31:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Sinperium,
Kind of like laying concrete in a driveway.

Kind of.

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November 21, 2012 3:22:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you for all the advice. I'm building up the courage to meddle with it again. I doesn't help that I'm 90% certain I will make things worse, I haven't gotten paste on the CPU pads yet, so that's probably on my to fail list.

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November 21, 2012 3:31:02 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting AlLanMandragoran,
  This reminds me of the time I tried (eventually succeeded) to fix a bathtub leak... so many similarities. The best thing is I had a YouTube video telling me it was a 5 minute job. Yeah, it took smart old me 2 days with 5 trips to Home Depot.

My wife forbids me to do home plumbing anymore after two of my multi-day attempts to do "five minutes" of work in our kitchen and then bathroom.

The next time someone visiting says, "Ya know--you can fix that yourself in two minutes..." I'm just going to get up, grab a pipe wrench, hand it to them and say, "Prove it.".

Quoting boshimi336,

Quoting Sinperium, reply 13Kind of like laying concrete in a driveway.

Kind of.

Well--it's a really, really, really tiny driveway.

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November 21, 2012 11:57:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 Jafo has kept hinting at something, and after a while I've manged to decipher his riddle.

Now I'm idling at 37-38 on the main core, which is swell. Haven't run any other tests. Maybe that will keep it from going over 70 while encoding videos, since I've found out it's not made to operate correctly over 71, and I make my living from web shows about video games. 

Gotta say I hate the LGA775 snap on/have no idea if it's actually snapped on, mounting, especially when combined with a horriblly outdated In-Win case with no CPU cutout. 

I wonder if I can get the fan to run full speed all the time, or at least kick in higher revs more often. It's not the default q6600 heatsink, from what the guy I got it from said, but it's the one he used it with, since the previous one he had was from a dual core. Oh well.

I'll just ignore the occasional video from blip that turns green and stops, and pretend it's related to a virus, or maybe the RAM, or something else. 

Hear my words, never buy second hand PC components off the internet, even the best ones have too many problems to be worth the $80 bucks +shipping you spent.  Oh why'd I decide to start making better shows this winter, instead of waiting... until next winter, while hoping stuff still ran on a Pentium D.

So, here ends my tale, until this thing goes into meltdown. I'm hoping it doesn't, because I can not tell you how woderful it is to actually have real time playback of both sound and video in the editing software. It's like I can actually see what I'm doing. And the encoding, Good Lord does it take less that enough to drive me to tears like it used to. This must be what normal people work like, 

 

 

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November 21, 2012 12:50:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting unacomn,
I wonder if I can get the fan to run full speed all the time, or at least kick in higher revs more often.

 

Your motherboard might have options for this, otherwise there are some programs that are out there that can help control the speeds and at what CPU temps the fan will kick in at whichever RPM you want.

 

37-38 sounds much better.

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November 21, 2012 1:57:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gave PlanetSide 2 a go, it used to murder the PentiumD in the beta, hit 65 once, hovered at 63 or lower for most of the time, and that used to be a really CPU intensive game in the beta. So, so far, it's all good.

But honestly, it's very jarring to play something at this high a framerate after being accustomed to it running at 5-10 frames a second. It's like when I switched from my Pentium 2 to the Athlon 64 back in 2006... which was about a year before this C2Q was made... It's only now that it's dawned on me that I've always been about 5-10 years behind current tech. 

So, expect another thread like this one in 2017, when I complain about how hard it is to install an i7... who am I kidding, an i5.

 

 

 

 

 

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November 21, 2012 7:10:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting unacomn,
who am I kidding, an i5.

 

Hey, don't knock the i5. It's a solid processor (as long as you get a gen2). If this comes about and you remember, hit me up on the forums or via PM. I'm rocking that processor right now and can help you out if you want. If it's the i7 though ... I dunno man.

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November 21, 2012 8:11:30 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting unacomn,
Jafo has kept hinting at something, and after a while I've manged to decipher his riddle.

Took ya long enough....

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November 21, 2012 8:57:59 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Alpha geeks all know "Lapping" prior to TIM paste/seating is best.

Article here

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