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How to Clean Thermal Paste off CPU Pins?

How to clean thermal paste off CPU pins? Let’s go know, Thermal paste is a chemical compound that works by conducting heat around the area it is applied on, working as a thermal conductor maximizing heat transfer and spread to reduce the overall temperature. Most of the processing units of a computer system come with thermal compounds like paste, for example, pre-applied on them; as well as the coolers for them.

Nevertheless, most of us who want the most out of our system, purchase and apply thermal paste on our own; to keep the system from overheating, and in some cases getting the best performance out of our system. Thermal pastes are found in the market alongside other PC components.

The pre-applied thermal paste that comes with the system steadily loses its heat conductivity in time. Because of the pre-appliance of the thermal paste, more often than not, it grows vaguely old depending on how long it has been sitting there before the purchase.

As it grows old in the hardware, it loses the capability of keeping the units cool. So even if it’s producing heat conductivity, resulting in a cooler unit, it might not be providing its best outcome potential.

For instance, if the thermal paste has been sitting on the units for too long and it dries out, will result in the system facing performance issues most likely, even an overheating issue in the worst-case scenario, Sooner or later, it needs to be changed to keep the units safe from overheating and getting damaged.

How to Clean Thermal Paste off CPU Pins

How to Clean Thermal Paste off CPU Pins

A reasonable solution might be, applying a degreaser on the surface by spraying it on the pins. Degreasers tend to be naive to plastic, making it safe on the CPU pins. These are steadily available at electronic parts supplies, hardware stores, auto parts stores, etc.

Aerosol alcohol might also result useful in this case, used to slowly get the thermal component off of the CPU pins. However, it is highly recommended that you tilt the processor at an angle in order to let the liquid slide off of the board after it’s applied.

Another feasible solution could be soaking the CPU chip in alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol again comes in very handy. However, this time around you need to use a 90-99% solution of Isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is considerably not that hard to find; usually available at most of the drug stores these days.

Dripping the chip on an Isopropyl solution and then steadily drying it off might just do the job. Nevertheless, the risk remains for the CPU pins being fragile. After that, using a Q tip, slowly cleaning the pins might just work. Then again, you need to be extra careful since bending, damaging, or eventually breaking a single pin might result from the CPU not working properly if not at all.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are CPU pins?

CPUs, the Central Processing Units of a computer are mostly covered with a whole bunch of electrical contacts or pins. Current generation processors have over 1000 different contacts or pins all over them, working as a whole. The purpose of these pins is to transfer data from the CPU to the motherboard.

It also works on the power consumption of the CPU from the motherboard socket where it’s mounted. Currently, most of the CPUs aren’t capable of drawing a current of more than 100 amps. That little amount of current is divided into chunks and spread throughout all the different pins. The space in between the pins is very tight, approximately 0.05 inches in between each.

However, the pins on a CPU tend to be very fragile because of their tiny appearance. In order to function properly, a CPU needs all of its pins to function accordingly. Even if a few pins are not working properly, it might result in ruining the unit itself.

Although, some of the newer generation CPUs are built with pads instead of pins, which make contact with the motherboard socket doing the same work as the pins. Needless to say, a CPU has to be handled with caution. Breaking the pins or even bending the pins of a CPU might result disastrously for a system.

In most cases, users face issues such as bending the pin and ruining the unit, and believe it or not, spilling thermal paste on them. Yes, thermal paste on the pins is not optimal; it might result in the CPU not working properly.

How to Clean the Pins?

Even though thermal pastes are heat-conducting chemicals of liquid property, they do not conduct electricity. Although, it very much depends on the thermal component that has been used. However, the thermal pastes that are adequate, do not conduct electricity.

Under normal circumstances, Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean the thermal paste off of CPU pins with proper care. A 90% solution of Isopropyl alcohol is ideal for this case. Needless to say, users need to be extra cautious as the CPU pads tend to be very fragile. But when it comes to the CPU pins, it becomes a whole different story.

The process of removing the thermal paste off is quite hectic as well as time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is of course, doable.

Primitively, trying to wipe or brush off the thermal paste from the pins is highly not recommended; since during the process, the pins might get bent or the worst-case scenario, broken. In some cases, pins are broken in the process of straightening the bent ones, too. Using a rough brush could potentially cause the pins to not function properly.

Final Verdict:

Most people tend to believe that when the thermal compound is spilled over the CPU pins, there’s just nothing you can do to fix it. In the best-case scenarios, you might still be able to install the CPU in your system, plugging it onto the motherboard and it might end up booting itself and behaving normally.

The socket pins being extremely fragile, shouldn’t be touched without proper precaution. The CPU works by the pins making contact with its corresponding sockets when it’s plugged into the motherboard.

However, in regular cases, thermal paste is a non-conductive chemical compound and in most cases, it can be left alone. Since in most cases thermal pastes don’t contain silver in them, you might just be able to safely leave it there. In an ideal situation, the CPU should boot up and behave normally.

2 thoughts on “How to Clean Thermal Paste off CPU Pins?”

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