I was replacing a CPU fan on an old PC and had to remove the motherboard to swap out the backplate. In the process of placing the motherboard back, I was using the chipset heatsink to line up the motherboard with the I/O shield when I felt it pop.

I figured it was just old thermal paste that got separated from the Northbridge chipset. While I was correct in a sense, I found that when I unclamped the heatsink that there appeared to be a pink thermal glue. It was very hard to the touch and very difficult to remove, and it had very different characteristics than the more familiar thermal paste that I’m used to dealing with.

Searching online to learn more about this product, I couldn’t really find anything other than this YouTube video that recommends to always remove this and replace it with your more typical thermal compound. He also recommended to remove the foam padding around the heatsink as well.

Am I okay to use Arctic Silver as a replacement for this? I already have some on hand. Or would I be better off finding a more comparable replacement to what was used on this heatsink before?

Also, while he recommended to remove the foam padding, I wasn’t intending to do so but I had to wind up removing it because I had damaged it in the process of cleaning this pink gum off the heatsink. Do I really need this?

Here is some additional information in case it could be useful.

  • Motherboard is an old HP IPIEL-LA3 (Eureka3)
  • CPU uses LGA775 Intel socket
  • Heatsink is passive, as in it doesn’t use a fan.
  • AC82G43 SLGQ2 Chipset (this is the chipset in question)

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It is possible that it was an adhesive thermal pad of some kind. There are many thermal pads that also have an adhesive layer and chances are your pad has simply dried out and gone brittle over time due to the heat. There are many types of thermal pad and many of them do deteriorate when baked.

An alternative to thermal pad is a thermal epoxy compound. It takes a bit more time to prepare, requires you to be 100% certain not to spill or over apply it, but may result in a longer lifetime of the thermal joint. Be aware though, that it should be considered permanent and you may have trouble removing the epoxy afterwards.

I used the epoxy method to fix a machine that came with no heatsink at all on the northbridge and was suffering random slowdowns and crashes. This was >10 years ago, when heatsinks on these chips were not considered as absolutely necessary on these chips, but apparently still required in some cases.

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