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Old 02-14-2011, 08:14 AM   #1
Gabrielle11
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Default Safe to clean processor with rubbing alcohol and q-tips?

Is it safe to clean the gold contacts and sides of a processor using rubbing alcohol? Some thermal compound accidentally got on the sides and the gold contacts of my Core i5 2500K and I would like to clean it off before placing it in the mobo socket. I was thinking of using a q-tip with 99% rubbing alcohol to clean up.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:02 AM   #2
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If you've got the annhydrous or at least 90% you should be fine, as long as you're careful around any pins or other sharp protrusions that can snag fibers off of the Q-Tip ends.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:06 AM   #3
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That is what I used, even left the processor on the board to clean it...
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by stahlhart View Post
If you've got the annhydrous or at least 90% you should be fine, as long as you're careful around any pins or other sharp protrusions that can snag fibers off of the Q-Tip ends.
My processor (Core i5 2500K) doesn't actually have any pins. The bottom is just a series of gold "patches", with a bunch of raised parts in the center.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:47 AM   #5
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You're better off with a soft/medium bristle toothbrush - less chance of cottony fibers getting pulled off, and frankly, it gets into the little crevasses a lot more effectively. If you're on top of the CPU you should be fine with a Q-Tip.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:51 AM   #6
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Use clear 90% or higher isopropyl alcohol with a cotton wash cloth (no Q-tips).
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:55 AM   #7
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I've used Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol on every build I've ever done, since the mid-90's, and have never had a problem with it.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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I never had a problem with q-tips
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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qtips are fine, just make sure that you have no fibers left on the surface...inspect carefully
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #10
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qtips are fine, just make sure that you have no fibers left on the surface...inspect carefully
I'm curious: what is the issue with stray fibers? Is it just that they would affect the thermal conductivity between the CPU and the heatsink, if they are left on the CPU?

I am assuming they won't cause some kind of short circuit problems right?
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:06 AM   #11
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I use q-tips to get into crevices on the surface, but wouldn't use them on the contacts side. I'd just spray it good with this (sold at walmart and many hardware stores):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...QS42KMTG97W5SF
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #12
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Ok, so I inspected the contacts side of the CPU and it looks like there is no TIM there. I cleaned off the other side (the top) of the CPU with qtips dipped in 99% isopropanol. I didn't see any fibres left over, but maybe I missed some, I don't know.

After the processor dried, I plugged it in and powered it up, and it seems to be working.

Do I need to be concerned about stray fibers? Or is everything fine with the CPU?
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:27 AM   #13
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If you know anyone that works at a doctors office, or at a hospital, those alcohol preps pads work pretty good - the cloth patches the nurse rubs on your skin before you get a shot - those things.

As for removing the compound from the pins, I like the toothbrush suggestion.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:51 PM   #14
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Lint free Q-Tips would be best if you have them. Alcohol will do the job just fine.
I do not suggest a Toothbrush as that may generate static electricity.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:35 PM   #15
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If you dip the q-tip in the rubbing alcohol, you won't have an issue with the fibers pulling off to the q-tip.

I've used this method with for the past eight-nine different builds, quite reliable. Once one end gets dirty with the paste, swap to the other side, and repeat. For the final bit (where you see a bit of greasy residue), switch to a cotton ball and rub till clean.

As the other have said, just don't soak the q-tip, just enough to be moist.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somethingsketchy View Post
If you dip the q-tip in the rubbing alcohol, you won't have an issue with the fibers pulling off to the q-tip.

I've used this method with for the past eight-nine different builds, quite reliable. Once one end gets dirty with the paste, swap to the other side, and repeat. For the final bit (where you see a bit of greasy residue), switch to a cotton ball and rub till clean.

As the other have said, just don't soak the q-tip, just enough to be moist.
That's how it's always worked out for me. Only time I ever have trouble is while removing excess flux from circuit boards, which 91% or higher also works well for, when desoldering/resoldering parts -- sometimes the fibers will snag on the ends of component leads, because you're scrubbing right around them. But it's easy enough to clean up once all of the work is done.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabrielle11 View Post
I'm curious: what is the issue with stray fibers? Is it just that they would affect the thermal conductivity between the CPU and the heatsink, if they are left on the CPU?

I am assuming they won't cause some kind of short circuit problems right?
When you're cleaning the contacts, the worry would be that a stray fiber would stop one of the pads from being conductive, thus causing the CPU not to work.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:08 PM   #18
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I usually use coffe filters, q-tips can leave strands of fabric on the chip.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:32 PM   #19
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I used to always use a decent amount of alcohol when doing this but recently discovered if your chip has TIM fairly freshly applied (the paste kind not the tape gunk), you really don't need to use much alcohol at all. Simply applying some pressure with the q-tip in a rubbing motion will get most of it off. You can get it to look clean to the eye with dry q-tips, then I just use one last q-tip with a bit of alcohol to clean it all up. It makes a lot less of a mess than starting out with the alcohol Just one of those things I never noticed.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:04 AM   #20
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static aint a problem these days. Unless your stroking the cat while doing it. Yes PW a electric cleaner such as rubbing alcohol is just as good.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:07 AM   #21
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Yes. But most of the time I just use paper towels.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #22
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Just used 70% alcohol and qtip yesterday for new CPU installation.
Went smoothly and works fine!
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifterut View Post
I usually use coffee filters, q-tips can leave strands of fabric on the chip.
I've been using them for the past 10 years.
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