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I am upgrading my Celeron M 430 (1.8Ghz) with a Dual Core E5300 (2.6Ghz). I'm 90% sure that the processor is supported by the motherboard (a Fujitsu Siemens D2740-A1), but the processor has arrived with a huge fan. My current processor seems to be cooled just by a tiny heatsink, and there is no room for a giant fan inside the case.

Would it be OK to replace just the actual CPU chip itself or would it just melt/explode?

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I'd like to know how the story ended. What did you try and how did it work? – foraidt Nov 23 '09 at 14:00
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The new processor will generate more heat than your old one, so you will need more cooling than before.

Given the new processor has come with a big fan it would suggest it needs that level of cooling.

If you just use the heat-sink then the best you can hope for is that the temperature monitoring system will kick in and shut the CPU down to protect it. The worst case is that it will cause some heat damage.

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Any halfway-good mobo should shut down fast enough to save a processor with some sort of cooling, so I don't think you could actually damage a processor with too-small a heatsink. – Phoshi Nov 19 '09 at 10:01
note phoshi's comment is really best suited for advanced users; first-time CPU upgraders should probably disregard it until they learn more. – quack quixote Nov 19 '09 at 11:31
CPU temperature sensors are on the CPU die, it is not something that the user connects. Not sure what exactly you're talking about there. – MDMarra Nov 23 '09 at 5:03
@MarkM - it's been a while since I built a PC, but I'm sure the last one had a temperature connector. Though I could be misremembering of course. – ChrisF Nov 23 '09 at 9:08
Some cases have a temperature sensor that connects to a digital display on the outside of the case. Those are purely cosmetic, the ones that matter are not even visible to the naked eye. – MDMarra Nov 23 '09 at 11:48

I definitely vote for using the new cooler.
There is going to be more heat and that needs to be dissipated. Using a the old cooling system will sooner or later toast your new CPU. Higher temperatures definitely reduce the expected life time of the CPU.

The problem that your new cooler doesn't fit into your case, can be addressed by buying a new case. They are not that expensive these days anymore.

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You can do this, as long as you make sure:

  • The heatsink is sufficient for the thermal output of the new chip. A celeron M has a lower heat output than a dual core, so this is dubious - if you're talking about the stock heatsink that came with the celeron on a pentium dual core then you may want to reconsider.

  • You replace the thermal interface material (thermal paste). This is absolutely essential as without it the heat won't be transferred correctly.

    Most heatsinks that are bundled with CPUs come with thermal paste already applied in the form of a rubbery pad that just gets squished between the CPU and heatsink. However it is also possible to buy thermal paste in a tube, which is liquid rather than a rubbery pad. If you remove the heatsink and re-apply it, it is a good idea to scrape off any thermal paste whether it be a pad or liquid, and clean the cpu and heatsink with alcohol, removing traces of it. Then, making sure there is no dust or foreign objects on either surface, coat the top of the CPU in a thin layer of new thermal paste and fasten the heatsink down onto that. Follow the CPU manufacturer and thermal paste manufacturer's directions.

    If there is already thermal paste on the heatsink in the form of a pad and it's more or less intact, you may get away with putting it back down on the same CPU (although I would advise it's a bad idea). But when changing CPUs always replace the paste.

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this thermal paste, is it possible to kind of scrape it off the old processor, or will i actually have to journey to a shop to buy some? – Jack Shepherd Nov 19 '09 at 10:07
No, you have to buy more, it's not reusable (at least to keep its conducting properties). – Gnoupi Nov 19 '09 at 10:08
also i've read some manufacturers may already have smeered some onto the new processor rather than include it in the box. i can't see any on the processor - is it the kind of thing i'd be likey to miss, or is it simply not there do you think? thank you – Jack Shepherd Nov 19 '09 at 10:12
Instead of paste there can also be pads. My experience is that these pads work just as well and are far easier to use than paste. – foraidt Nov 19 '09 at 10:25
Updated my answer to incorporate some info from the comments. – thomasrutter Nov 23 '09 at 4:57

I agree with the others that the new probably need more cooling than the old one.

But maybe you could use the old heatsink, if you "underclock" the new cpu. Lowering the frequency will lower the amount of heat, and therefore you may be good with a smaller one....

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