CPU - leaking thermal paste and overheating

By nicktan · 8 replies
Apr 10, 2013
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  1. Hello,

    We have a 1 year old PC that's been running daily for the last 3 months @ 8-10 hours per day.

    It has recently started giving a CPU temp overheating warning on booting.

    We opened the case and found that some thermal paste appeared to have leaked from the CPU fan (see photo) Is this a sign that the cabinet it's in is not cool enough or that the thermal paste needs replacing?

    Can anyone say what the solution is?

    Specs below!

    Thanks in advance!


    · Processor: Intel i7, 2.2 GHz
    · Memory: 16GB
    · Hard Drive: 60GB required
    · OS: Windows 7, Home Premium
    · Motherboard: Asus P8Z68V Pro-Gen3
    · Bus: 2 x PCIe 2 16 slots
    · GPU/Graphics: 2 x ATi FirePro GL V7900 quad-head graphics cards

    Attached Files:

  2. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 350   +112

    I can't seem to see the thermal paste in the picture but, nevertheless:

    I would think that the thermal paste was not applied correctly in the first place, likely with too much being used.

    I would be immediately removing the CPU cooler and re-applying the paste. Here's a tutorial if you need help:

    Make sure there's no damage to the block before re-applying the past, however.
  3. nicktan

    nicktan TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Looks tricky to a newbie like me! What's the best way to test that the new paste has worked?

    (btw. the photo got rotated so the thermal paste is to the right of the fan: the white blob where the graphics card is seated in the PCI slot.)
  4. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 350   +112

    WOW, I didn't see that the first time :eek:

    I wouldn't be using the PC at all until you get that sorted. Get yourself a microfiber cloth (NOT WET) and very carefully wipe that paste off the graphics card. You're at risk of seriously damaging the card if that stays.

    As for applying thermal paste, it's pretty easy. Firstly, remove the CPU block, it should just be a matter of unscrewing the corners, since the Corsair water block is pretty simple to remove. Clean the existing thermal paste off the CPU and the block with a microfiber cloth and some isopropyl alcohol, just wipe it off until it's clean. Then place a small dot of thermal paste in the center of the CPU and evenly press down with the block, screwing in the corners slowly and evenly.

    Best way to test that it's worked? Compare your CPU temperatures now and afterwards :p You should see an improvement.

    Edit: Look on youtube for tutorials on changing thermal paste, just make sure to use the dot method :)
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,693

    I'm thinking the thermal compound used is non-conductive and would not be of risk to other components.

    thermal grease (thermal paste or thermal compound)
    Question though:
    How do you know when those Closed-Loop Coolers have gone bad?
  6. nicktan

    nicktan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great - thanks for your help! I'll let you know how I get on.
  7. nicktan

    nicktan TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I'm think it must have been running some time (without getting fritzed) with the compound on the card as it looks quite caked so hopefully you're right - it is non-conductive.

    We've cleaned off the card and the slot with alcohol and a toothbrush :)

  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,693

    The pump failing was my first thoughts on your issue. The paste dripping from the CPU, I believe to be a different topic and was not related to the over-heating of the CPU.

    The pump either works or it doesn't. Poorly applied paste would not have any effects on the workmanship of the cooler. The thermal paste is simply a middle man to make sure that temperatures are transfered from one material to the next. If anything I think the shop where you had the system built, applied to much thermal paste which allowed for the excess to drop on your graphics card.

    The cooler is a sealed unit, therefor dust would not be a contributing factor.
  9. nicktan

    nicktan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Super! Thank you for all the info.

    Just sounds like bad luck with the cooling unit failing then? (and some excessive paste!)

    Hopefully up and running when we get our new cooling unit tomorrow!

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