I noticed my CPU was running at very high temperatures a few weeks ago. Just the other day, I decided that I had enough with the CPU overheating problem. I took out a screwdriver and proceeded to removing the heatsink from the motherboard. The screwdriver wasn’t used to unscrew any screws (there isn’t any screw to the heatsink and fan) but to help remove the fan from the “cage”.
It has been many years since I last did anything like that. It took me a few minutes just to remove the heatsink and fan! Once I have successfully removed it, I was staring at the motherboard where the heatsink and fan used to be and felt really strange. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what was the problem.
Can you spot the “problem”?
That is when I realized my real problem has just started. I turned the heatsink that I was still holding around and found what I was looking for — my Pentium 4 processor. The processor was stuck firmly onto the bottom of the heatsink. It was as if the two were “glued” together by the thermal paste applied in between them. The overheating problem must have sealed them together.
I tried to separate them with my hands but they were dead stuck to each other. I had no choice but to continue with my plan to clean the heatsink and fan while leaving the problem to be solved later.
I removed the fan that was attached to the top of the heatsink. It was my first time doing it so I proceeded cautiously. I didn’t want to hurt myself but more importantly, I do not want to drop it causing damage to the processor. I was shocked when I saw the condition of the heatsink.
No wonder the CPU was overheating! There was a thick layer of dust covering the top of the heatsink. The air blown into the heatsink was somehow disrupted by them. I removed the thick layer of dust with a few pieces of tissue paper. You have no idea how much dust they were.
That is a spanking clean heatsink. There are still some dusts in between the heatsink plates but I have removed most of them. It was time to solve the processor problem now. The only option I had in my mind at that time was to carefully place the heatsink back onto its slot. Since the processor was stuck to the heatsink “in the right position”, theoretically, the processor would slide into its slot correctly too.
It was still a huge gamble because the processor pins could easily bend when I am sliding it back and forth hoping that it would slide into its slot. When I was quite certain that the processor was in place, I had to “lock” the heatsink and fan into its slot. This will then push the heatsink firmly down. I said a short prayer before doing this because if the processor wasn’t in place, all of its pins will be bend causing maximum damage.
An error message greeted me when I booted up the computer. It mentioned that “CPU wasn’t found”. I thought I must have caused some damage to the processor or it wasn’t in place properly. However, I also noticed that it was able to detect the presence of a Pentium 4 3.0Ghz processor. I knew there was still hope. I entered BIOS and exited it while saving the changes. My computer booted up like normal the next time around.
Everything is back to normal now. I notice that my CPU is running at a much lower temperature as well at around 50 degrees most of the time. It used to run at 60-70+ degrees previously. My CPU fan speed can now reach over 3,000 rpm compared to previously when it was stuck at only 2,700 rpm max.
This little clean up saved me from buying a new heatsink. If you have CPU overheating problems as well, you can try cleaning your heatsink and fan. Just make sure you know what you are doing before attempting to try this though. You do not want to make things worse.