Overheat caused by uneven thermal grease?

Posted on 2009-12-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
This is probably a really easy question and I'm sure I already know the answer, but here goes:

I just finished building my first computer from scratch with the help of some more knowledgeable friends, and before I managed to boot it up for the first time, set up the BIOS, and install Windows, the heat sink fell off the processor.  I reattached it but did not apply a new layer of thermal grease, and started the system.  A dumb move, I'm sure, but I'm learning as I go.

The computer is now up and running, but the CPU is constantly idling somewhere between 40-50 degrees Celsius, spiking massively when I run programs, play video files, load DVDs, etc.  When I run minor programs, it usually hovers around 50-60 degrees, but it sometimes rises above 80 with no sign of stopping.  When this happens, I immediately exit all programs and the temperature drops fairly quickly.

Is this overheating issue most likely caused by uneven thermal, and will removing the existing grease and applying a new layer fix the issue?  It seems to me that if it were, my CPU would be idling even hotter, but I'm not an expert, which brings me here.
Question by:WriterManX
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

Gary Case earned 200 total points
ID: 26094446
Yes, your problem is clearly caused by inadequate contact between the CPU and heatsink.

You need to (a)  remove the heatsink;   (b)  clean off all thermal compound from both the CPU and the heatsink [scrape what you can with a credit card;  then use a clean rag with isopropyl alcohol to clean the rest -- waiting until everything is completely dry before proceeding];  then (c)  carefully apply a very small uniform amount of thermal compound to the processor and re-mount the heatsink -- being sure you mount it securely.

You should then have much better performance -- and no overheating.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 26094467
did you put thermal grease on the first time, or was it a thermal pad on the heatsink?
normally (in my experience) if it is not used for long, just check if it is evenly spread, and reeattach the sink.
check that it does NOT touch any contacts !(wuith newer CPU's less probable)
no new paste required imo -

Featured Post


Modern healthcare requires a modern cloud. View this brief video to understand how the Concerto Cloud for Healthcare can help your organization.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Introduction: When a connection to the internet is established, there always exists a modem between the connected device and the ISP (Internet Service Provider). The Operating System (OS) on your PC controls the modem which communicates with the …
As you can read I recycle all my old hardware and the time has come that my power supply of 200 Watt cannot provide enough power for my backup server. I have lots of Compaq power supply's laying around, so I figured to use one of these PSU's. I t…
Whether it be Exchange Server Crash Issues, Dirty Shutdown Errors or Failed to mount error, Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery has always got your back. With the help of its easy to understand user interface and 3 simple steps recovery proced…
As many of you are aware about Scanpst.exe utility which is owned by Microsoft itself to repair inaccessible or damaged PST files, but the question is do you really think Scanpst.exe is capable to repair all sorts of PST related corruption issues?
Suggested Courses

579 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question