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Has anyone seen foil used instead of heat sink compound?

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hawks1282

New Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Hello Everyone,

I was testing a new computer at work that was running warmer than I usually see (the problem PC ran at about about 68C while running OCCT; normally other computers of the same model run between 55C-60C ), and when I removed the heat sink I found that instead of regular heat sink compound, there was a foil pad attached to the heat sink, and just some residue on the processor itself (see picture). Has anyone seen this used before, or did someone at the factory make a mistake? I saw a few posts about foil pads with heat sink compound on them, but not just the pad alone.

Thanks for any help.
 

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LabRat23

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Location
VA
I have seen thermal interface materials with all kinds of substrate layers, but that garbage needs to be removed.


Edit:
Welcome to the forums.
 

LabRat23

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Location
VA
I hate to double post, but this got me really thinking. There aren't too many plausible reasons why there would be foil on the cpu. The only two I can think of would be some sort of indium or other exotic TIM, and a easy to apply foil-with-TIM-applied product. That heatsink doesn't look like the kind you would spend the money for indium on, so that leaves the cheapo foil-TIM product. Could you tell us a little more about this computer? Where you got it / who made it.

If temperatures are a problem, I would pull all the heatsinks off and replace the TIM with Arctic Silver - my favorite TIM I use everywhere in any standard application. Shouldn't take you more than 5-10 minutes per computer.
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
The foil is good, especially when the manufacturer applied it. That aluminum foil is easily malleable, and fills the small gaps just like thermal paste giving better contact. If you remove it, prepare to make a small project out of this. You may need a razor to scrape it off, some acetone to remove residual paste under it, and even sand paper to smooth off the scraping parts. It could be easier, but just saying from my experience. For a simple non overclocked machine I personally use the foil if its there.
 
OP
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hawks1282

New Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Here is an image of the entire heatsink, it's made to be used in a computer with the motherboard built behind the screen. The heatsink is upside down, and there is a fan installed over the fins.

I'll try to clean off the foil and put some arctic silver on. I'll post any temperature changes when I retest tommorow or Thursday.

Thanks All
 

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jmdixon85

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2008
Location
Cumbria (UK)
Never seen it in desktops systems but I have in many laptops. I always remove and replace with AS5, always a big improvment.
 

Bobnova

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2009
I've seen it a couple times.
Once on my alienware m7700 (P4 775), and once on a northwood p4 factory sink for a desktop chip/mobo.

Taking it off and replacing it with arctic alumina on the laptop dropped temps ~8*c.
 

Bobnova

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2009
The two i ran into weren't, they were just a heavy foil layer glued on with some sort of clear glop.
 

Spawn-Inc

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
i've seen foil on a few heatsinks, but the one in your pic hawks looks like someone took some duct tape (hvac style) as the bottom edge (where the heatpipes leave the block) is not a straight cut.


razor to remove and alcohol to remove residue and maybe a light lapping.
 

nd4spdbh2

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Location
Camarillo, CA!
never used it but seen it many times in OEM heatsinks... its much easier for them to apply the TIM onto a piece of thin foil and stick it to the hs than the TIM directly to the hs.

Razor it off and replace with as5 n ull be good to go (or any other TIM for that matter)
 

jcw122

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
I don't think that's foil. Look at the CPU, there is some left behind on it and it doesn't look like plain old aluminum foil. Probably closer to a thermal pad rather than a sheet of metal.
 

jdsparks21

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2010
Location
Swanton, OH
I have seen this many times in laptops. Not sure why they use it probably to cut corners in cost. It is not a good as using a good thermal paste. I would remove and use paste. Should drop at least 5 degrees.
 

jazon1

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Location
USA
yea defiantly some type of thermal tape,looks horrible:( your probably going to have to polish that heat-sink after you remove that junk from it!
 

boucher91

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Guthrie
seen it in lots of prebuilts dell compaq hp and so on....
heck half my farm is refurbed prebuilts...(the farm is WCG bout 20 pc,s)
needless to say i scrape that crud off immediatly then apply as5.....
 
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hawks1282

New Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Well, I put arctic silver on the heatsink after a very rough time of cleaning the original TIM off, but I haven't seen any improvement work writing home about. I'm going to end up RMA'ing that computer.

Thanks for the advice