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I have just applied thermal paste to my intel quadcore CPU and the fan seems to be accelerating very often, especially after I installed a new graphics card. I suspect my CPU may be overheating. There is supposed to be this "break-in" period for the thermal paste. I used artic silver 5 and it says that the break-in period is 200 hours. I don't quite understand. What am I supposed to do during this break-in period?

It seems like I just have to wait, but as far as I understand I can still use the computer. Also, does this mean that the fan accelerating so often is a symptom of this break-in period? or is something wrong?

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migrated from serverfault.com May 10 '11 at 14:56

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Please don't double post....superuser.com/questions/281586/… –  Kyle May 10 '11 at 15:07
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3 Answers 3

You should use a thermal monitoring program to actually see what the temperature of your system components are rather than just guessing. Your motherboard manufacturer may supply one, or you can use something like Open Hardware Monitor if you're running under Windows.

If your CPU is running too hot, odds are you didn't remount the heatsink securely enough or you put too much thermal paste - this last one is a common mistake among newer system builders. Arctic Silver 5 does have a break-in period but you should not notice enough of a temperature difference to cause this kind of behavior except possibly in extreme overclocking situations (I'd say at most 5°C)

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Probably the latter I remember when I was a youngin' and built my first PC I thought you were suppose to use the whole tube since it was so small XD –  Kyle May 10 '11 at 15:14
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@Kyle the whole tube?! I hope it was the non-conductive non-capacitive type, or I imaging you had to do some repurchasing. –  Mr.Wizard May 10 '11 at 17:07
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Have you checked to ensure it's actually your CPU fan and not the fan on your GPU (graphics card)? In general, GPU fans tend to change speed a lot more than CPU fans.

Are you using the stock Intel heatsink and fan? If so, have you checked that it's fully seated on your board? Having poor contact with the CPU may cause your motherboard to try an compensate for spinning up the fan more often.

Does your motherboard have just one or two fan headers? Sometimes there is one that is PWM controlled (variable speeds depending on CPU load/temp) and one that is always on full. These may be switched.

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Are you 100% sure you mated the heat sink to the CPU correctly? The heat sink must by pressed flat against the CPU with sufficient pressure.

Don't worry about the break in period. That's just for benchmarking and reviewing. The change in thermal compound performance is negligible.

Fan speed changes are likely normal. I'd suggest you monitor your CPU core temperature to see how hot it is. You may just have a particularly noisy fan.

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