This isn't so much a project as a recovery operation; my motherboard was cast into the fires of hades and it could only find salvation in the holiest of waters. I've taken it from overheating to under-water.
After a while of putting up with newer games becoming increasingly laggy on the E8440 (@3.9GHz) I decided to allow the 5870 to use its full potential by installing a quad, thereby holding me off 'til the benefits of an upgrade are really worthwhile. Firstly I ordered a second hand Q9550 from ebay saving £100 over the best new price I could find. Evidently I can't choose my sellers as it arrived packaged as such:
Even after cleaning the top was showing marks, probably from a mis-mounted CPU cooler as the paste he'd kindly left on the CPU was not showing full coverage and the marks seemed circumferential to the paste. I'll have to lap this at a later date, for now I just need an FPS boost.
All good yes? No. I'm getting severe stuttering just playing Borderlands and I'd hardly call that a stress of the given equipment. Turns out my Northbridge chip is registering a temperature of 66c under a PRIME95 load and 3/4 of the threads stop with hardware errors.
My theory at this point is that the extra stress provided by the sk-775 Intel 'fake-Quad' due to inter-core pair communication happening via the FSB is too much for the all-in-one cooling mechanism on my motherboard. First I try literally screwing another fan to the heatsink with some small benefits:
It brings the idle temperatures down by about 5c and more importantly stops the crashing by dropping the load temps to 63c which seems to be the threshold for errors. Still not good.
This motherboard is notoriously hard to modify due to the heavy duty thermal-epoxy-paste Asus decided to use on the all-in-one heatsink. If I have to carry out something which might destroy my motherboard I might as well add water at the same time
I'll be removing the giant ugly lump of copper:
Firstly the Southbridge mount comes off via push-pins:
Then after 20-25 mins with a combination of freezespray and directed hairdryer blasts combined with twists of a screwdriver under the HS the Northbridge started to move slightly. It's a terrifying moment when you realise that movement is actually the Northbridge shroud coming away with the copper and all you've succeeded in doing is melting the glue joining it to the NB PCB. With a little handy work and another screwdriver I managed to attack from the other side and save the shroud with minimal damage.
A little wiggling later and the whole assembly came off. Notice the centre of the paste on each block is white- this part of the paste had hardened and set like concrete, it had become brittle and was not transferring heat efficiently. Attempting to remove the paste with Arcticlean Thermal Material Remover
resulted in absolutely no change whatsoever, even with double the exposure time and saturation resulted in no change: