Noisy dust filled CPU Heat Sink / Fan

  User-E1D7C1CE-44CE-47D3-AA2D8A9B78CAA92F 22:04 20 Feb 2010

I have an ACER RC950 which has given good service. Unfortunately the CPU fan now sounds like a jet taking off. I have a Acer hi v120c 001 Rev A CPU cooler fitted. The cooling fins appear blocked with dust which I believe is causing the fan to over rev. The heat sink appears to be mounted to the mother board by 4 screws with a round coiled spring. I cannot make out exactly what screw is used but it looks like a cross head.

ACER are not helpful...

Q1 Can I remove this heat-sink by unscrewing these 4 screws.
Q2 What type of screw has ACER used?
Q3 What is the best way to clean between the HS fins? I was going to use compressed air.
Q4 Or would you suggest replacing the Heat Sink? If yes, what current heat sink would you recommend?

Any general advice would be most welcome, David

  rdave13 23:42 20 Feb 2010

Use compressed air (for PCs obviously) in short gentle bursts. Use a vacuum cleaner nozzle nearby if doing it indoors.
I only use an artists fine paint brush to dislodge the ground in dust and remove with the vacuum cleaner's nozzle. Common sense has to be applied here in case you damage anything or dislodge any connections or hardware.

  onthelimit 11:03 21 Feb 2010

If you can, stop the fan turning while blowing the compressed air - some fan motors can act as a generator and, if turned at speed, can damage other components.

  wee eddie 13:18 21 Feb 2010

A 1 inch 'bristle' Paint Brush and a Hair drier, but I think that a Compressed Air Canister might be better.

I used to have a Hoover that had a 'Blow' setting. That was really brilliant, but you had to take care that you didn't knock over the PC!

  donki 16:53 22 Feb 2010

No need to change the heatsink or fan unless damaged or you are wanting to overclock your CPU. Just do as suggested using compressed air (make sure you hold it upright the the air will condense. I have used a vacuum to to clean fans, but be careful.

You can remove the heatsink if you wish, there is a guide below to installing a socket 775 cpu and heatsink. Your heatsink has slightly different fastenings but nothing drastic.

click here

  onthelimit 12:00 23 Feb 2010

If you do take the heatsink off, make sure you leave the thermal paste that remains on the base of the heatsink untouched; it helps transfer the heat from CPU to heatsink.

  wee eddie 14:18 23 Feb 2010

I am pretty sure that if you remove the heat-sink, the old Thermal Paste needs to be be cleaned off and replaced with fresh.

"WARNING" ~ Before taking my advice, on this matter, check with the various YouTube Advice Clips, or the Instruction Manual.

  onthelimit 14:34 23 Feb 2010

Yes, if some available. However, I'm told there's nothing wrong with replacing the heatsink as is if the existing paste has not been disturbed - it does remain flexible, so should seat quite happily. If he does want to replace it, should only use isopropyl alcohol and lint- free cloth to do so. Probably best to leave in situ!

  keef66 10:47 25 Feb 2010

you can't remove a heatsink without disturbing the thermal paste.
If it's been on there long enough for the heatsink to be clogged with dust, the old thermal paste should be completely removed and new stuff applied on reassembly.

I hope you don't find any Youtube clips showing people reusing thermal paste.

  MarvintheAndroid 00:20 28 Feb 2010


Always clean the cpu and heatsink base thoroughly using isopropyl alcohol or a specialist cleaner, removing all traces, and replace the thermal compound with fresh. Otherwise air bubbles or voids can form which WILL affect cooling.

Detailed advice is available on Arctic Silver website for all their products click here


  mrmillimetre 10:41 06 Mar 2010

If the fan is noisy after cleaning everything you can carefully peelback the lable and put a small drop of 3 in 1 oil on the spindle and restick the label back or cover it with masking tape if you damaged the label the oil is best applied with a match stick and not directly from the can

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