Special thanks to Usul
from Mikhailtech.com for this guide...
How to: remove the
thermal pad form an HSF
What do You
In order to
effectively remove the thermal pad from the bottom of your
Heatsink, you need the following:
a plastic razor
some nail polisher or paint solvent
some alcohol (not Drinking alcohol)
fine (600grit) sandpaper
Here is a pic of
the bottom of the sample ( a Volcano II) I'm going to use.
As you can see,
comes with a yellow thermal pad.
That's the thing we
need to remove in order to use Artic Silver II thermal compound to
improve the cooling performance.
We're going to do it in two steps:
The First Step:
First, let's worry about the big part. To do this you need some
kind of plastic razor. Metal razors aren't good because they'll
scratch the surface of the Heatsink, and that will result in poor
thermal and cooling efficiency. Basically any thin piece of
plastic is fine, I cut a square out of a Wal-Mart package. It just
needs to have one side cut with a straight line.
Before using your
razor to scratch off the pad, look at the plate surface, and try
to identify the path of the machine lavoration. Those are usually
either straight parallel lines, or concentric circles. If you
can't find any, it just means that the bottom of the heatsink has
been worked in different ways.
If you do find a
pattern, this is the path you'll approach the pad with, as this
will make the removal easier. If you don't, no big deal.
The PAD is usually
thermo-fused to the Heatsink, so they'll oppose a certain amount
of resistance trying to stay where they are.
You'll find it harder if the Heatsink has already been used on a
Put the razor flat
on the aluminum, from the direction you've identified before, and
pushing it down move slowly but steadily towards the other side of
the pad. You should maintain an angle of 30-60 degrees between the
plate and the razor. Should come out like this:
This won't remove 100% of the pad, so don't worry. We're just
removing the most of it this way.
When you're done,
it should look like this:
Step Two: removing the rest.
Now, we need to
clean it up. You'll need some kind of solvent for this. Just go
grab your mother's/girlfriend's/wife's/daughter's Nail cleaner.
Paint solvent is fine, or any other kind of acetone-based solvent.
Moisten some cotton
with it, and stroke over the plate until it's clean. Act gently
and keep the cotton wet. Make sure that you remove all the thermal
pad. It may take a while, depending on how good of a job you did
While the thermal
pads are pretty thick ( 0.5 - 1 mm), the amount of Arctic Silver
you're suppose to use is really small, so it's a good thing to get
rid of all those signs on the bottom plate. What you need is some
fine waterproof sandpaper. For fine I mean 600 grit or more.
Cut the sandpaper in a small (2"x2") piece, and wet it.
Place it on the Heatsink plate, exactly where the pad was, and
pushing down gentily with your fingers begin to lap it. The best
way is following an "eight" pattern, periodically
rotating the heatsink. Every once in a while use a wet piece of
cotton to clean the heatsink, and wet the sandpaper again. It's
very important that you keep the sandpaper wet, because otherwise
the fine particles from the paper will leave a residue on the
metal. And remember that things will begin to get dirty after a
while, just use some of the cotton to clean up the surface.
Finally, use some
more cotton wet with some low-residue liquid, like ethylic
alcohol, to clean the surface. Keep on stroking, and every once in
a while use a clean piece of cotton. You're done when a new piece
of cotton is still white after stroking all aver the surface of
Now you're done
with the heatsink, and ready to install it on your CPU with some
good Arctic Silver.
Let me just remind
you once again of two important things: do NOT use a metal razor
to clean the aluminum plate, and do NOT use some generic no-name
heatsink compound, as it will dry out pretty quick, and will never
reach the Arctic Silver level of performance.
Check out Arctic
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