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How I clean old computer parts with household products

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These are some of the household cleaning products I use when working with retro PC hardware. Most are readily available at the supermarket and cost very little. In this video we will clean a hard drive, GeForce4 graphics card, 3 CPU coolers and remove the thermal pad from a Radeon 9700.

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244 thoughts on “How I clean old computer parts with household products

  1. Hey Phil, idk if you’ll read this, but at 5:30 what’s on the cooler is actually a phase change thermal pad! It’s basically an aluminum strip with phase change coating on both sides, which sticks REALLY well once a temp threshold is reached (~60-70c). It’s really good stuff when it comes to thermal transfer and due to its nature as a thermal pad, it lasts forever too. The phase change compound is a bitch to remove though, but Isopropyl alcohol does the trick. It really needs to make good contact to work, however; if it doesn’t have good contact, you might as well use air for TIM. A store in the Czech Republic sells them, and I tried them on both an R5 2600 and a P4 3.2GHz, so I talk from experience.

  2. About shim or metal bracket type ‘formidable rad2on 9700’. As long as I remember it correctly, he explains why shim is taller than actual gpu.

  3. all parts in dishwasher

  4. It’s a AM2/AM3 cooler

  5. basically your right hand is blocking everything, should put your camera on your left

  6. I have never seen red dust in my PC ever… how did that even happen?

    1. Welcome to Australia 😀

  7. Some great tips – thank you. I speeded the video up to 1.25 to save a bit of time.

  8. i had gummed up thermal paste i used whitening toothpaste adnr rubed around itand the stuff polished and came off

  9. Always useful tips! Thanks, Phil!

  10. That CPU cooler is extactly the thing I need!. Where can I get it pls?!

  11. Microfiber is the last thing u want on PCB with all that static in em!

  12. Kerosene rips through those thermal pads. They dissolve away in seconds – the only downside is the smell.

  13. Nail polish remover and other keytone based products should be avoided at all costs. Besides the possibilities of permanent nerve damage, they essentially melt the compounds you’re trying to remove and have a tendency to “spread” the problem around. They can also damage plastic, rubber and acrylic parts surrounding the cleaning area. I would recommend Goo Gone or the various citrus cleaning solutions. But that’s just my opinion on an old video.

    1. PhilsComputerLab I agree with you on the Goo Gone and I always follow up with IPA as it seems to neutralize the Goo Gone and get rid of the oily residue.

    2. Yea I only tried the nail polish remover once, and never used it again. Goo Gone is terrific, for everything else Isopropyl alcohol works well.

  14. Hi Phil Light machine oil will not last on the shafts of fans, Use White Lithium or Teflon grease. Also I wash most electronic parts with distilled water, Then blow them off with my air compressor. Then alcohol then dry them with a hair dryer. I don’t wash hard drives or power transformers with water.

    1. I must say I had little success after trying to maintain a few fans with lubrication. So now I recommend just replacing it with a good one.

  15. Looking forward to see more videos featuring 9700. This is like the best 4/8 AGP card out there

  16. 4:55 that’s a bad idea. you shouldn’t try detaching like that. first of all, you need to put some serious load, like a benchmark, to make sure the compound is hot, and then you can try to detach.

  17. thanks for this one – some very handy tips! just wanna add, that one thing that is the best for the tightest of spaces (imo) is compressed air in my experience. i have seen similar products to orange power previously in the us. i am gonna look for some equivalent in germany. but probably after the holidays!

    1. Thanks 😀

  18. Oddly cathartic.

  19. LoL the heatsink of Pentium 4 478, one of the worst thermal compound in the history.
    I remember that very well.

  20. take off the shim

    1. Okay awesome!

    2. Yup this is what I ended up going with. I am waiting for more coolers to arrive and will do a modding video.

  21. Hey, I’ve got an old Sony VAIO Laptop with a P3 and it overheats as fuck. Now that I’ve taken it apart, the CPU is like glued to the heat sink (ripped both out). Getting a new CPU wouldn’t be a problem, but I can’t get the CPU and heatsink apart. Force is not an option, I might damage the cooler. Acetone, lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits, even paint thiner didn’t losen the old, probably hardened thermal grease. Any other ideas what I could use?

  22. When isopropyl alcohol is not strong enough I use medical benzine. I bet acetone would work even better, but it disolves some plastics that might be in fans, jumpers etc.

  23. Old credit/membership/gift cards are better than plastic spoons in most situations, due to their flat, straight edge and higher durability.

  24. You can remove the thermal compound with contact cleaner.

  25. Aha! This is how you clean the parts? Damn, I usually throw them away and buy new ones.

  26. I would love to see a before and after in regards to the temperature of the 9700, and overclocking ability once you removed the shim! I have a 9700 as well, and found the VPU to be a decent overclocker, but the memory didn’t have a lot of head room. I noticed that the memory timings were tighter than my 9700 Pro, and wondered if it was possible to flash a bios with looser timings. That should allow a higher memory clock, maybe closer to what a 9700 Pro runs at!

    1. Maybe you could use one of those infrared thermometers. I bet it makes it big difference.

    2. It doesn’t have a temperature sensor unfortunately.

  27. Red dust, really interesting

    1. and small leaf from hard drive, seems like Australia

  28. Like , good stuff

  29. I say keep the shim, but I don’t know how you would go about making thermal contact 🙁

  30. Phil, thanks for the video, i have 2 graphics board to send you if you like, 2 AGP ones, a TNT 16 mb AGP and an ATI rage 8 mb AGP, unfortunaly i don’t have the hardware to test them cause i don’t have AGP slot, so it is quite a surprise to see if they work, if you are interested let me know and give me some info where to i can send them, thank you!

    1. I got those cards already, so thank you!

  31. Isopropyl from the big green shed (bunnings) works best for me.

    1. Yea I ordered some 🙂

  32. Instead of household cleaning wipes, I use alcohol pads, usually available in the diabetic supplies. You got lots of them for cheap, they’re small, will remove just about everything (alcohol-based), and you don’t waste as much as you do with the cleaning wipes.

    1. Yes great tip, I’ll check if the pharmacy sells them.

  33. don’t ever use nail polish remover that shit will fuck shit up, there’s a reason why its only used on paint, it will eat plastic even the stuff in some paints will eat plastic if your not careful, don’t believe me, pour some nail polish remover/ Acetone on to a cd or a dvd.
    also its good to get alcohol to wipe up after using the wipes and goo-gone clone stuff just to be sure that there nothing left behind

  34. Unless the thermal paste is specifically designed to fill air gaps, don’t use it. When heated most thermal pastes become more viscous, and will eventually run out of place leaving the R300 die without a mated surface to dissipate heat.  Then it’s goodbye 9700 Pro.  I vote for a high conductivity thermal pad and leaving the shim in place.  On these dies it’s very easy to chip the corners off.  You can find the thinner type (like the pink or blue pads that came affixed to Athlon and Athlon XP stock heatsinks back in the good ‘ol days) readily on eBay.

    1. Yea I think that happened to a 9800 Pro I got a few weeks back. It would crash after a short while, and when I removed the cooler I saw that someone was already in there before. It has some silvery paste, really hard to get off. I used a lot of thermal paste and a new China cooler, and the card worked great. But I will re-visit it and deal with the shim. I got some copper shims underway, but I am really leaning towards removing the outside shim and getting the best cooling out of it. I have a 100x100mm sheet of new thermal pads, but I don’t know how effective they are. Branded ones cost a lot more. I’d love to test this, but these cards do not have a temp sensor which is annoying.

  35. To remove the patina from copper heatsinks and heatpipes and make it shine again, you can use vinegar and salt.

    1. Good tip. I removed some rust yesterday using Vinegar.

  36. I’d either remove the shim or use one of those zalman coolers you get (if they fit below the shim)

  37. honest question here. I vape, (electronic smoking device). I didn’t know until recently that the vapor has got in to my system enough to leave condensation and I need to figure out how to remove an oily residue. most things i try just smear it around if its not on a surface i can wipe. My question is – can I pour rubbing alcohol directly on a pcb and then blast it off with a can of air? alcohol is very effective at removing vape condensation but its hard to get in and around circuits.

    1. My brother had the same problem as yourself. We found that the problem was the VG in his juice mix. If you stop using VG you will no longer have your problem. To clean it off use 99% Iso.

  38. Paint brushes are really good for cleaning dust from hard to reach places.
    There are so many types and sizes available too.

  39. Informative video. Thanks for all the tips!

    For myself, I use cheap set of DIY paint brushes for removing dust instead of a dustpan & brush. Also, although I use Arctic’s thermal paste cleaning kit myself, which does last a long time, you do offer good suggestions for alternatives that could be gotten straight from the supermarket for less, rather than waiting for the Arctic stuff to arrive in the post if you’ve run out.

    1. Any chance you could add an ESD Mat & Strap to that list of purchases? 🙂

      PS: Don’t forget the bonding plug. 😉

    2. Yea that was the idea 🙂 I’ve used the Arctic stuff before, works just as well. I’ve ordered a set of ESD brushes, copper shims and more GPU coolers since making the video 😀

  40. For anti-esd just use natural brush like horse or squirrel fur with wooden handle – these are not collect electrostatic charge.
    I usually buy the oil paint brush and it’s sufficient.

    1. I ordered a set of ESD brushes yesterday 😀

  41. There’s no way I’d let that plastic broom near my PC…

    1. I’m starting to agree…

    2. I’m absolutely flabbergasted at the level of stupid that goes on in here… I think we should retire from this section, before wasting anymore time explaining what SHOULD be logical to everyone. >_<

    3. Agreed. The level of ignorance in this comment section is astounding.

  42. just buy wr40 and 99% alcohol, those two always works. Also using a microfiber on parts can cause static and kill the part. I only use microfiber on parts like fans, cpu/gpu and heatsinks

    1. ESD is just a myth.

    2. You’re absolutely right about the microfiber cloths and static. Synesthetic materials LOVE to crate static. Keep it far away from parts.

  43. How about mitigating dust problems in the first place like with using air cleaners and filters in a computer room.
    Any highly recommended ones ?

    Lets put it this way I have two domestic indoor cats and their clay litter box makes a lot of dust.
    I do use two air cleaners but even with those it just cuts down on the dust and doesn’t eliminate it completely.
    Now my main computer room with most of my computers is separate and usually closed off to that area so the dust problem is not too bad.
    Still I have a couple of computers in the room with my cats and litter box and I constantly have to clean these out at least monthly.

    Anyway thanks for your video tips on cleaning PC Parts Phil

  44. add a small copper shim with paste on both sides to the gpu die to level it out.

    they sell them on ebay

  45. In the ati card…Removing the metal bracket around the GPU die may not be the best idea… It could weaken the structure

  46. Lighter fluid is easy to obtain non-polar solvent.

  47. I recommend using 91% isopropyl alcohol. Nail Polish remover is 70% iirc, but 91% has a minimal amount of water. You can get these at any pharmacy. Also a coarse cotton rag will do the trick well too, sometimes that bit of extra roughness is a good way to remove deeper ingrained dirt and give some extra power to removing sticky surfaces.

    Additionally, I recommend getting a heat gun, these are very cheap, they function sort of like a hair blow dryer but these can make removal of stickers or other adhesives incredibly easy, just practice first and be careful as they get very hot and will shrink certain types of plastics or deform them if direct heat is left for too long.

    Lastly if you’re doing a surface clean on a plastic or something, consider Mr. Clean’s magic eraser, it’s powerful and acts as an abrasive, kind of like sand paper, but will do wonders on those marker stains that are just too deep to remove with alcohol. They leave quite a bit of residue, however, be careful with inhaling this stuff.

    I actually work at a retro video game store and most of the work I do is cleaning 30 year old consoles, controllers, etc. with thoroughly caked in dust, dead skin and dirt. Linked is some examples of my cleaning work:

    1. I’ll check the hardwae store tomorrow, but likely I’ll order it in.

    2. No 91%?

    3. So I went to the pharmacy, they had the same stuff I already have. That green bottle with the crocodile. Contains Isopropyl Alcohol, water, fragrance…

    4. Yea I will get isopropyl alcohol. I’ll ask the Pharmacy if they got any, otherwise I’ll order some online.

  48. Incoming comments about ESD ….

    1. I got you covered there.

  49. Here is something I use to clean off the CPU and Cooler. I use coffee filters since they don’t leave any fuzzy stuff on the CPU and Cooler. I drop a bit of alcohol on the filter and wipe off the surfaces.

    1. Eric Marcus No! FFS I’m not that anal! XD

    2. wow I thought you were serious there lol

    3. Eric Marcus I know. XD I was making a joke.

    4. You don’t have to worry about that since your not touching any of the circuits. You just want to clean the cold plate on the cooler and the IHS on the CPU. Just don’t touch the bottom of the CPU where all the contacts are.

    5. Thanks! I’ll have to check if it’s ESD safe first. 😉

  50. When do you sell a philscomputer cleaning set? 😀

  51. The AMD HS&F is for AM2/AM3 :3

    1. I think I had exactly the same thing on my FX 6300.

    2. Sweet 🙂

  52. An idea for the ATI board. Removing the shim that is there would mess with heatsink fit totally.

    Amazon sells copper shims really cheap. I’d suggest getting a 0.5mm copper shim on there, looked a little small to be a 1mm there for that gap, but you might want to get both, they are cheap. You can use a liquid metal between the die and the copper shim (Conductonaut), but still would have to use a paste between the copper shim and the aluminum (Kryonaut).

    As for the nail polish remover, was it acetone based? It looked like it lifted the anodizing from the heat sink. Something to keep in mind if it did.

    1. Yes it contained acetone. I will stick to using the Orange Power 🙂 I ordered some copper shims from eBay yesterday, an assortment of various heights 😀

  53. I’d like to see you remove the shim. I’ve never done it before – so it’s no risk to me. Be careful if you do it though. Good luck!

  54. Hee Phil, I have serious doubts about those Dettol wipes. They might leave some sort of residu interfering with conducting heat. I know you only use household items, but a techie like yourself should certainly order a supply of isopropyl alcohol for the real seriously cleaning of electronics. Also, I would recommend never to BLOW dust out of a computercase but to suck it out with a vacuüm cleaner on a low setting.

    1. You’re correct about the fact that he should be using real isopropyl alcohol and not being cheap by using baby wipes (sigh) but you’re incorrect about using a vacuum cleaner, the risk of ESD damage is far to high. Using an air compressor is the most effective way.

  55. Great video, for the gpu i would recommend getting a copper shim (tiny 0.5mm copper square) and placing it between the die and heatsink with paste on both sides. instead of risking the card with removing the edge thingi 🙂

    1. Yea I just ordered an assortment on eBay yesterday 😀 Great tip!

  56. Get a small piece of copper and put it under the cooler (with thermalpaste between the gpu and the copper and the copper and the cooler), but im not sure if it works with push pin coolers

  57. Lighter fluid=Kerosene or White gas VER|Y CAREFUL USE..

    1. Please don’t talk down to me, I’m a network technician with CompTIA & Cisco Certs that works on expensive Cisco networking gear like, Routers, Switches, ASA Firewalls, among other vendors. If you have worked on expensive computing equipment you should know the dangers of ESD, and shouldn’t trivialize it. However I’m sure we can both agree that the customer will not always be the most reasonable person in the world, and will normally pull the card of. “Well you’re the last person who touched it. You broke it” However you must then explain that isn’t the case.

    2. I know easy way to get rid of static, asd the customer comment “IT WORKED WHEN I GOT IT HERE” has little meaning to you?? Cool..Iv worked on systems 30+ years.. from IBM 360-30 to commodore to amiga and Intel..

    3. What? Static isn’t “In the air” is a potential difference of voltage that’s generated. If the board arrives to you in a non-working state, and you are unable to fix it. You are not responsible for the damaged board. It’s the reason why you use ESD protection such as mats, wrist straps, bonding plugs, etc… To prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are not the cause of any ESD Damage that was done via you working on the board. If you’re a real computer technician or whatever you wanna call yourself. You use ESD protection like a professional.

    4. The fun part is when you Fix a board, you DONT KNOW, if its going to fail or not..and you need to tell the person BEFORE you destroy the board. Not all boards have static protection On them..and Static in the air can make things even worse..

    5. Do you normally shout when talking to people? Also if you’re destroying boards when trying to fix them you’re doing it wrong. Also your sentence construction makes it very difficult to understand your point. You come across as very angry and illiterate.

  58. Awww! and i thought you could put your whole compute in your washing machine .. 😛 but serious have anyone tried Acetone to remove thermal paste from the cpu ? its really effective , i even used a q-tip with Acetone to remove some thermal paste that had spoiled on the cpu pins/connectors , even if i couldn’t clearly see it, the q-tip get gray, so it did a good job of removing thin layers of thermal paste spoil that normally get stuck into the metal.

    1. Yes, thank you! Someone who understands sense. isopropyl alcohol and Distilled/de-ion water is all you should be using. And someone like Phil who is running a good channel should not be using cheap alternatives.

    2. Yes that i agree, you shouldn’t use stuff you don’t know how it would react on what your using on it. Also all those weird stuff contain alot of residue, so you kinda make them more filthy , that’s way in many cases, if you don’t have isopropyl alcohol, soap and water, then clean it with water, and dry it , is a nice combination on many cases where you want to make it clean.

    3. Well then in that circumstance I think it should be fine. Problem is you’ll get people using it on the motherboard or bare CPU/GPU die thinking it is ok. And it absolutely is not. My original point still stands. You should not be using weird chemicals like WD-40 or de-greaser on your computer. There is a reason why all the large semiconductor factorys use isopropyl alcohol.

    4. I’v used Acetone for cleaning after a rust repair on metal, and i did hesitated at first for using it for cleaning the heat spreader , but people have been using nail polish remover, and the closest i could use is Acetone and as i can tell there are no phosphorus in the Aceton i bought, and phosphorus is the only corrosive i can think of.
      I know Acetone is stronger than Nail polish remover, and i know i should be aware of how strong that stuff is, but i have never seen Aceton you buy from a supermarket or your local paint shop, damage metal, and i don’t use Aceton directly on the CPU die.

    5. Acetone is quite a corrosive substance, and will damage the CPU die. I would only use it as a last resort on a CPU IHS. Even then It might start to corrode the surface of the IHS. I just don’t understand why people are trying to use products for stuff they aren’t designed to do. It’s stupid.

  59. Just an idea: You can use small peace of copper sheet for that Radeon card to compesate the height of the shim.
    It would look like this: GPU -> thin layer of thermal paste -> Copper -> thin layer of thermal paste -> cooler

  60. you forgot to use the machine oil on the fan hey.

  61. I’ve got a “Compu Cleaner” – found this device at “Jayz Two Cents”: – very helpful after an intense construction work in my appartment when really everything was full of cement dust. But be careful, this thing is a beast. Unplug every fan from your motherboard or avoid them spinning too fast.

    Your brush looks kind of dangerous to me, but just from seeing I don’t know how soft it is …

    Anyway, gave this one a “like”.

  62. With 7:20 and other situations like this, even if the heat sink / spreader looks clean at this point, I’d want to give it another clean over with isopropyl alcohol. Just to make sure. That’s the one “industrial” product I would add to this otherwise sensible collection of cheap household stuff that does seem to help clean gear! Great video Phil, very useful.

  63. Using a hard plastic brush on a PCB makes me cringe. Try some painting brush instead. They could even do the job better, and are less likely to damage anything. You should be able to find one at any hardware store.

    Great videos otherwise, keep up the good work!

  64. First, the GPU shim problem. What I would personally do is buy some copper gpu shims on ebay –

    My favorite method is to use 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol to take off hardened thermal compound quite quickly and easily. Second is contact cleaner but I have a lot of it around so it is the most convenient and works damn close to instant. Third, believe it or not is a can of air, turned upside down. The liquid propellant that comes out will take off thermal compound as well. Some of the goo gone stuff works, but sometimes it doesn’t, you also get an oil residue left behind.. I don’t find it worth the money personally. WD40 or another silicon spray lubricant will do the trick but you have the oil to deal with. Automotive detailing brushes work good too and soft paint brushes of varying sizes works wonders.

    1. I ordered an assortment of copper shims yesterday! I love learning new little tricks that make life easier.

  65. Hey phil do you know any good ideas of cleaning a power supply?

    1. Blow air into it I guess?

  66. Just use lighter fluid for the thermal paste😎

    1. No. Use Iso.

  67. You can use an paper eraser to clean the gold pins, it will come out really shiny after you rub with it

    1. Yea? Sweet, I’ll check that out!

  68. My arm and neck hairs stood straight up when you were scraping that gpu block with the spoon :’) Thanks for your advice last time btw! (about getting old tech for free and such)

  69. I’m against the idea of use some type of sewing machine oil to put to the PC fan bearing. The sewing machine old have some chemical in it which use to removing rust on gear of sewing machine which keep them running smoother but this is totally unnecessary on bearings and might even damage them, also it’s so liquid-y so it will not retain long on the bearings but will get down to the fan wings and get throw out all over the places. I’d recommend greese or motor oil for that.

  70. I allways used razor blades to remoove those stock thermal pads, never though a spoon would work this good!

  71. If I may, I use the 90% alcohol almost exclusively, Goo Gone (avail. in Australia?) for stubborn ones and plastic paint scrapers which I’ll cut to size (more durable and sharper than spoons and cheap). Anything that is not rubbing alcohol, I clean up afterward with rubbing alcohol I don’t think I’ve ever removed a video heat sink unless I’m putting on a third-party cooler. For that ATI card, I recommend keeping the shim and getting a properly sized good quality thermal pad. VGA coolers can rock because they are mostly held by two pins and you could start chipping the die without the shim.

  72. You dont sound like an Ozzie at all. I would also mention medical petrol, it works where alcohol wont. Also, copper plate for radeons depressed gpu

  73. couldn’t the the brush possibly cause static buildup?

    1. +drunkredninja yes

  74. im about to clean up a old pentium era ibm aptiva to play some of the old games on though it also needs a harddrive replacement unfortunately from the way it sounds though it might be ok with another win95 install im likely gonna replace it with a CF card i never thought i would run into such a relic though installing win95 again is gonna be fun without having a floppy around unless i can find a way to write the bootloader from the win95 cd to the CF card and it launch from the one folder

  75. Isopropilic Alcohol and WD40. Cleaning and removing everithing.

    1. Do I need?

    2. You going to provide a reasonable retort?

    3. And?

    4. No WD-40 Please. You don’t see Louis Rossmann using it to fix stuff do you?

  76. I have a 9500Pro and back in the days I ended up removing the shim when mounting an aftermarket cooler. Today I’d definetly try out some thermal pads with 14W/Km or even 17K/Wm being .5mm or 1mm thick…

    1. Thanks for the link!

    2. The ones I ‘d try out are the Eissschicht from Alphacool.Surely they’re not really cheap but their thermal conductivity is quite good. 20mmx20mm ones though they’re intended for graphics Memory should fit quite well on an AthlonXP-Die or graphics Cards with such a small Die.If time allows it I plan to start experimenting with these in the beginning of Octobre.

    3. Technik Saal could you link me to something suitable please?

  77. just buy contact cleaner on local car repair shop… works well even on thermal compound

  78. Don’t like the music, you’re testing I understand. Its a no from me

  79. microcenter sells a product called Artic Clean, for thermal removal, its two parts, thermal material remover and surface purifier. a couple of drops of the the remover , let it set depending on the dryness of the paste, then using a paper towel or wipe, it just comes right off. the purifier used to prep for new paste

    1. Aye, Arctic Silver is quite easy to clean off. Unlike the IC Diamond that I usually use. It tends to go hard after a while.

    2. This is what I use to remove thermal grease. I usually use Arctic Silver 5 thrrmal paste too, which I find easy to clean even if left unchanged for years.

    3. Yeah, and it smells quite nice too. 🙂

    4. Yes it does not require a lot, i bought 3 sets over 3 years ago, one is in my “ON THE GO” repair kit, one is in my home office and one is at my office, i have fluid still in all 3. all get used. a little goes a long way.

    5. It’s good stuff, but quite expensive. Thankfully you only need a tiny amount of it so it lasts quite awhile. I’m just happy you’re not recommending people to use WD-40. (Face Palm)

  80. It’s a little expensive ($5-$8 USD) but you only need a few drops each cleaning. ArctiClean.
    I use it for all my thermal paste cleanings.

  81. 6:23 => Its the old Intel thermal pad crap! I experienced it with an old Celeron (PII-based). The struggle was real to get that crap off!

    Suggestions for future vids…
    => How do you get rust off retro parts? (IO ports, PCI brackets, screws, etc at the back of old computers)
    => Dust removal…Brush, blow, or wipe?

  82. While I know many tend to have fond memories of them, all I remember back in the era of the 9700 and 9800 Pro graphics cards, is the unending driver nightmares I dealt with back in those days with getting the card to run Kotor 1 and 2 at all. Blending files from different versions, forced reformat and reinstalls of the operating system and drivers, third party drivers… I think the only thing I *didn’t* actually try to do to get a Radeon card to actually run a dang OpenGL game back then was basically a literal demonic sacrificial ritual. Though I do recall considering it more than a few times, until I finally had an nvidia card again. And then suddenly, everything worked without any fuss. Though this was also during the era when ATI’s only driver validation system was a single dell with a Pentium 3 processor, and like *nothing else*.

    1. I see if I can check it out. Not familiar with the game, but I do have both from GOG.

    2. Yeah, KOTOR 1/2 is a must-run for me on any PC. Part of the reason I avoided ATI like the plague back then was because their drivers were miserable for it. Kotor 2 in particular, flat out would not work for 11 consecutive driver releases. And ATI only admitted there was an issue after six months. They fixed it by the 11th post-release update, only to break it again in the immediately following driver release.

      I have it both in the CD’s and on Steam now. The restored content patches in particular make Kotor 2 a glorious game to play, pushing its engine to its figurative limits. 🙂

    3. KOTOR? I think I have the GOG version, I could try it if get a chance.

  83. My first thought before even watching: this video was part of a quite lengthy and passionate discussion from the last video.

  84. I use WD40 to clean old dried thermal paste off my CPUs, works even better than isopropanol

    1. I use alcohol afterwards of course

    2. No. Seriously why the F*ck are people recommending crap like WD–40 and de-greaser. Use isopropyl alcohol.

    3. WD40 is a oil based product. You don’t want a oily residue.

      Use a proper degreaser instead.

    4. Please don’t.

  85. Hello Phil, your videos are very good-you know it. But you don’t have to use all these stuff. You need 3 products that cover anything and for oil you can use the WD-40. The 3 products are odorless/colorless benzin for general household cleaning, Pure alcohol and pure acetone. With benzin you can remove almost anything. It is the most basic of the three. Check them out.

    Alcohol is more for removing stickers or sticky residues. Some chemicals “require” alcohol to be removed. Acetone is for the heavy stuff, it can harm plastic but not the one that is used in pc’s like the agp port for example. It can’t ham chipsets but yoi don’t need to use it unless it something really sticky and solid.You can use in cases of epoxy thermal paste like the one in voodoo 5 for example. With benzin you are covered 95% of the cases.

    1. I do not know what is stands for but it smells like petroleum based product, it is very good for cleaning the fan bearings though. You can use only this if you don’t like to buy any grease as you say. I usually clean with WD40 (it is thinner than the grease) and use some grease for lubricating.

    2. WD-40 is NOT a proper oil or lubricant. It stands for Water-Displacement 40th attempt. Use dialectic grease if you need something with more viscosity or a silicone oil if you need something more runny.

  86. 10 years old “I don’t want to clean my room, cleaning is dumb”
    20/30 years old after this video “OMG I want more cleaning in my life!”

  87. Are you an expat? You sound German

  88. It might be unsafe to use the brush on a circuit board, because the brush isn’t ESD safe. Try to get an ESD safe brush whenever you can.

    1. USD my ass. There is no such thing as ESD brushes. Its just a marketing B.S.

    2. Dalle Smalhals
      That’s what I thought until I killed a motherboard last week.

      It was working but filthy, so I took it out and brushed it like I had done countless times in the past.

      I put it back in, and the UEFI was all messed up, and the machine kept freezing during boot.

      It gradually deteriorated until it wouldn’t even POST, and then it fried my psu.

      Luckily the processor wasn’t damaged, so I just need a new motherboard.

    3. Fuck….Boi….

    4. Tim, I’m literally going to prove you wrong using only statements you have made or videos you have linked to in this comment thread.

      1) GamersNexus are hardly experts, they’re reporters. They can be just as easily misinformed (And as we’ve already covered, experts only have a higher chance to know wtf they’re on about. They may just be talking out of their ass but with a more educated guess than the average person) and even say in the bloody comments on that video you linked something along the lines of “It doesn’t appear to matter all that much, but we’ve had hardware die (Because we deal with so much of it) and recommend it as a result”, which from the simple fact that they’re a company putting out How-To videos relating to PCs among other things probably comes more down to preventing any possibly legal troubles if little Johnny takes apart Mums laptop and kills it using one of their videos as a tutorial. (Not likely, but stupider things have been sued over.)

      2) I don’t need to compare two 25 year old identical boards, I have a PC Partner VIB878DS that I’ve treated like complete shit for the better part of a decade yet it still works flawlessly with my Pentium MMX 166 OCed to 200Mhz. I use that PC as a DOS gaming rig and rarely clean it out, never work on it with any ESD protection whatsoever (Even working on carpet) which means I can say for 100% sure that ESD hasn’t killed that part. With any old part, especially given the sheer amount of 90s/early 00s parts that had cap leaking issues or other support components that had bad batches, it’s very possible to mistake a random death for ESD. (eg. RAM around the later SDRAM and most of the DDR1 era was very unreliable if you went cheap.) How do you know ESD causes hardware deaths regularly enough to worry about? Have you done a test and if so, when was it? How did you see if the hardware actually died from ESD or for some other unknown reason?

      3) Do you not see the flaw in your logic with that last comment? “We aren’t testing for irrelevant stuff like whether the electrolyte caps work or not. (Also this argument is BS too as plenty of electronics from the 80s still work perfectly fine.)”
      Firstly, that stuff isn’t irrelevant as we’re also dealing with hardware deaths from other sources. (eg. Simple electromigration over time, particularly as some shady dealers used to sell lower clocked chips with a new badge and a OC.)
      Secondly, there’s a LOT of sources on electrolytic caps bursting, leaking and being generally unreliable and a bad choice for PCs…If you’ve truly been working in the IT industry for half as long as you say, you’d know this and would have seen it first hand in the mid00s when everyone started using solid caps specifically because those issues were still fresh in the mind and it made for a great marketing point.
      Finally, why would you accept “None of this hardware have issues with their caps as plenty of 80s tech works fine” as a valid argument when you’ve got at least 3 separate people all telling you about hardware they’ve handled in ways that practically guarantee some form of ESD into the components and that’s not enough to say that maybe, just maybe, ESD is something you only really have to worry about in specific circumstances.

      And to just finalise this comment: When you’re working on a home desktop, it’s in a metal case with a metal heatsink and tonnes of other metal parts all connected to the ground plane. Assuming you’re touching any of those parts (Somehow not a tall order to think you’ll touch the case at all when working inside the PC..) then you’re most likely removing any differential between you and the PC as a whole practically preventing any ESD at levels that’s actually going to cause any harm

    5. Ahahaha. I’m the one grasping at straws? Clearly you don’t understand how you conduct a scientific test. We aren’t testing for irrelevant stuff like whether the electrolyte caps work or not. (Also this argument is BS too as plenty of electronics from the 80s still work perfectly fine.) the whole point of testing is to remove all other variables and only test the ones we expect an outcome from. (In this case ESD damage) which is why you need an unopened factory sealed board. So we can be sure no other person has touched it and caused possible ESD damage. But, clearly you failed to understand that part. Also, I said nothing about the comparison of a 25year old board to a new one. Two 25 years old boards is what I meant. Considering you said you have some laying around.

      Also, I see you’re reverting to name calling. You can tell when a person has lost credibility in their argument when they resort to name calling.

      Here are some videos for you to look at to further prove my point.

      The computer in this video is 29 years old. Oh look…No broken caps or anything. It still works… Shocking.

      Here is Steve from Gamers Nexus addressing the issue of ESD at 11:24. If you watch the video you will see that he has the GPUs on a ESD Mat.

      I’m done in this comment section. The stupid is starting to hurt too much…I just hope that some people read what I have said and take it on board. Whether you choose to take my advice is up to yourself. Doesn’t effect me in the slightest, just please don’t work on other peoples devices without ESD protection, it’s not a how a professional works.

      (Edit: If you know so much about electronics. because apparently I “don’t seem to comprehend how electronics work” (Once again. I never claimed to be an Electronics Designer.) Where is your Electronics Engineering Degree? Or decades of Electronics Design Experience. Because where I’m siting, it doesn’t strike me like you have the knowledge that Dave from the EEVBlog has. (BTW. He uses ESD Mats in his Lab, which are grounded… Once again. Proving my point.)

  89. Sorry but, could you tell me again the name of that orange thing? It was the last thing you presented I think.
    Since I dont live in… Wherever you do XD, it will be pretty dificult to find these using the brand name.

    1. Orange Power Sticky Spot & Goo

  90. Do you have GooGone in Australia? It’s the best at removing thermal compound. It just needs to be followed up with 1 wipe of alcohol to assure no oily residue

    1. You can just as likely rummage around in your old man’s garage and find turpentine or kerosene then finish off with alcohol.

    2. I get the point of what Phil is trying to say. But you simply shouldn’t be cutting corners because you’re cheap.

    3. +Timmy Joe PC Tech I feel like that is the point of the video. Working with what you have, you know?

    4. I suspect it’s the same thing they use in ArcticClean #1. Same orange citrus scent.

    5. I use lighter fluid and oddly enough it’s no more flammable than original Goo Gone

  91. I always use brake cleaner for thermal grease, that stuff just washes away with it. Just use it outside or your flat will smell like it for days. 😉

    1. No, just no. This is terrible advice. Most brake cleaners uses a strong percentage of Acetate and other crap which is far to harsh to clean anything to do with your computer components. CPU coolers maybe. But if you’re putting it anywhere near your CPU even if it’s just on the IHS. You should not be working on computers.

    2. Its fine for cleaning CPUs and coolers, especially if its old and crusty. I got that tipp from someone who works in a computer shop while i had a school three week internship back in 1996.

    3. Brake cleaner is the most aggressive degreaser. Offcourse it will work excellent but you will degrade the plastics.
      Use a more mild degreaser instead.

  92. Baby ass wipes are also good to clean the dried thermal paste off 😀

  93. what kind of speeds do you get in remote australia phil? are the memes true?

    1. that’s pretty great, I get about 400 Mbps(down and up) or at least I am supposed. I have a few friends living in Aussie that’s the only reason I asked.

    2. Sometimes I forget the blessing of our internet here in the UK as I always want more speed. We get 70mbit download and 20mbit upload here but where I’m moving to I should be able to get 300mbit down and 20mbit up.

    3. Yea arund 18 Megabits DL. I’m super happy with the download, live close to the exchange. But I could really need more upload.

    4. 2 MB/s or 16 Mbps? you call that “decent”? also, the upload seems horrendous props to you sir for putting up with that shit and still uploading videos at this quality. The memes are true! lol

    5. Internet? Not bad actually. We got ADSL2+, DL is quite decent, 2 MB or so in Steam, but upload is dreadful, not even 1 Megabit.

  94. Do you have any tips for removing thermal glue? That’s what my Voodoo3 uses and I’ve always been scared to try and remove the heatsink.

    1. There is such a thing as thermal epoxy. If they’ve used that I think you’re pretty much out of luck; it is likely much easier to shear of the solder balls or qfp edge connectors than getting epoxy off. If it’s not epoxy what Phil said may work.

    2. Yea that’s no good then. Is it lose or anything like that? I would heat it up with a hair dryer and rock it back and forth until it comes off.But I’ve never done this myself (yet).

    3. My Voodoo3 started malfunctioning until I added a fan to it. It won’t run fanless anymore so something is up.

    4. I left them all the way they are. The cooler gets very hot, so its working as intended. I don’t see a reason to remove them to be honest. But I do mod a fan on it.

      I’ve read that heating it up with a hair dryer can soften it.

  95. i repair computers, and always using a air compressor at around 8 bar/ 116psi.Sometimes the inside of the cases are so dirty, if im done, i must clean the compressor with some air 🙂

    1. Sweet thanks I shall keep it in mind.

    2. I might get one. I just got a cheap $30 blower off eBay and will try that one first. I tend to go super cheap first, and sometimes it’s good enough 😀

  96. 9700 and 9800 were the cards that got that yellow cement paste. Sometimes even you had to heat the heatsink with a hairdryer to make it easier. I actually killed mine 9800 Pro scraping a few resistors off the die. I was extremely disappointed in myself. Lesson learnt.

    1. The thing is these old cards don’t have temp sensors. So it’s hard to judge. But I had two cards, a 9800 Pro and a 9700 Pro, both crashing in 3DMark. After maintenance on the cooler all was good 🙂

    2. My hands are too shaky for this kinda soldering =) Never attempted.

    3. Bugger. Did you have any luck or attempted to resolder them?

  97. I would recommend fine sand paper for the copper heat sink surface not to clean it but to increase surface area thereby improving cooling capability. If your feeling lucky then the same can be applied to the CPU cover.

    1. I’m not saying you don’t use thermal paste, I was defending what you were saying about using sandpaper anyway to begin with, but you called me an idiot for no reason….

      I’m guessing English isn’t your first language and this is the problem in explanations.

      Bye bye

    2. +SteveM. That’s the whole idea. To fill in the gaps. At the point of heat generation not further up at the fins on the heat sink where there’s less impact. This isn’t rocket science you know, lmao. BTW that 1-2 figure I pulled out of my arse. If you had read my previous comments you would have known where I got those figures from.

    3. The heat is transferred from the metal to air, that is what you want to increase the surface area of, hence the fins on your heat sink.

      If this stuff allows more heat to flow than a direct metal to metal perfectly 100% touching connection, then why aren’t heat sinks made out of this more conductive material in the first place?

      The thermal paste is to fill the gaps inherent in the surface to begin with because it isn’t completely flat.

      Interested where you got your 1-2 figure from.

      You fucking idiot…

    4. +sickbailey21. Your probably right ???

    5. The problem is that you’re more likely to have air get in those gaps, making the conductive properties much worse.

  98. Thanks again Phil! I’d love to see what happens with the Radeon 9700 card. A before and after tempeture reading under load would have been interesting.

    1. Radeon 9800XT was the first card, which had a temperature sensor. Your 9800 Pro may be a modifiable to 9800XT, if its got a R360 core, so you would be able to utilize that temperature sensor. Look here for details:

    2. The annoying thing is that none of these buggers have a temp sensor! With Nvidia I think it started only with the FX series, I’m not sure about ATI, but the 9700s do not have one.

  99. I use Artic Silver Articlean for my cpu´s and coolers.
    It´s two bottles, the first for dissolving, the second for cleaning.
    It costs about €7, but it works realy good. you need only a few drops, so it lasts a long time.
    I never encountered a cpu or cooler i couldn’t clean with this.

  100. This is exactly why I love this channel so much. I feel at home here. Everything is explained to the last detail (even if it is “just” about cleaning) and Phil is constantly trying to help everyone interested in given topic. You, sir, are the right kind of Youtuber. Thank you.

    1. N.ESS …ehm… and moles too 😀

    2. there sure are a lot of penguins in these comments 😀

    3. Hey! 😀 Good to see a friendly face!

    4. Edman Hey, pal!

    5. Thank you 😀

  101. I had exactly the same PCB and die layout on my FireGL X1-128. what I did was remove the shim, lap the bottom of the radiator till bare metal and then put on thermal paste. worked like a charm 🙂

    1. Put down the TIM first then place the shim. No scratching that way bud.

    2. the only thing I would be worried if they wont scratch the PCB

    3. Those copper shims are really handy.

    4. might be a good option 🙂

    5. Yea I will have a go at removing the shim. Another tip I got given today, you can get copper GPU shims on ebay, starting at 0.3mm heights.

  102. Good video. I like how the suggestions are able to be used by anybody.

  103. You could show how to remove poxy glue and old crusted thermal paste from old CPUs, I almost scratched a dye off a Sempron to remove it (I hope it’s still working, haven’t had a chance to test it yet) 🙁

    1. Get it very hot with a hairdryer. Let some degreaser soak in. Now wipe it off or use a toothbrush, plastic scraper.

    2. It was a Riva 128 I worked on. In the end I start with a flathead scre-driver. Just scratching away gently. Make small moves, take your time. I used some alcohol as well, but I don’t think it helped much to be honest.

    3. Exactly, but the dye on a CPU is smaller than the dye on that GPU you showed on the video and it’s also made of a different material (it’s somewhat *shiny* ), I’m too scared to scratch that thing off a known working CPU and then see it dead after I replace the thermal paste.
      I now have an Athlon XP with some ancient thermal paste on it which is “rock solid” indeed, as you said D:

    4. I dealt with this a week or so ago. I basically scratched it off, it was rock solid.

  104. Nice video and nice knowledge! Also Phils’ voice is always satisfying to hear.

    1. -didn’t nightdev removed all the global emote xd-

    2. :blobglare:

    3. :thonkang:

  105. Aww yeah Woollies

  106. The ship would just need some lapping.
    Remove it and make it slimmer, than reattach.

  107. Close to my hardware cleaning setup:
    toothbrush (soft enough to not damage anything on a PCB)
    pastry brush (for collers and anything too deep for the toothbrush)
    floor brush (for the big stuff)
    lighter fuel (to clean off thermal paste)
    toilet paper (works fine enough, for PCBs I got my brushes)
    toothpicks (nice to get thermal paste from smaller corners)
    Q-tips (the smaller brother of the toilet paper)

    Just recently cleaned ym Geforce 3, and my solution to get rid of the hardened thermal stuff was to just put a piece of toilet paper on it, soak it with the lighter fuel and let it sit for 5 minutes. After that is jot soaked of.

  108. Interesting on the orange spot remover there

    1. So happy I found it.

  109. Seems like ESD hazard is just a myth, taken semi-seriously by companies only. (By the way, this is not sarcasm or any negativity. I don’t claim to be an expert or knowledgeable, its really just that its amazing what contrast there is between the views on this, its really a mistery to me where the truth could lay…)

    1. “We shouldn’t work on hardware to begin with” This is incorrect. Yes, you will always have a certain amount of risk when working on parts, even if you get Robots to do everything. But what you do is reduce the level to an “Acceptable level of risk”

      It is not “Paranoia” at all.

    2. Are you saying that just because sparks aren’t flying nothing is happening? My whole point of trying to inform Phil, and others is to inform them of the dangers of ESD, especially Phil. As he has access to a large audience, and I would not like to see people damage their parts by following his well intended, but incorrect advice. If people are spending alot of money on PC parts, why the hell do they think it’s ok to skimp on proper tools.

    3. Well I thought its obvious that by commenting on a video with a dude brushing a pcb without any trace of ESD protection or regard for the hazard’s existence, I’m not having lightning in mind or questioning the existence of the raw natural phenomenon.

    4. Modern PCB are designed with ESD in mind. So ESD isn’t as risky as in the old days.
      Still it’s recommended to know the do’s and don’t with ESD. Memory is indeed the most vulnerable component for ESD these days.

      Always decharge yourself and the components . Especially power supplies can hold a high charge for a long time.

    5. Especially RAM. It can have a major effect on your systems stability. It’s also tricky to diagnose as it might be the MOBO that’s at fault, or your CPU, or RAM. But as all 3 components interact and effect each other, it’s difficult to sometimes pin point the faulty part.

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