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[SOLVED] Do i need to clean my CPU?

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b_basar

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Bought a second hand i3 8100 and while i was waiting for the mb to arrive i noticed this. If you look closely to the bottom left corner it looks a bit dark. looks like fingerprint or something and it almost reaches to the center of the cpu. Do i need to clean it or is it fine?
10.jpg
 
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Yeah, maybe best. Just use 96% or higher isopropyl Alcohol and it will be fine.
 
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several contact pads look like burnt in the photo, try cleaning them with some alcohol...
 
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I'd certainly not call it "burnt". It probably is some harmless residue from old TIM.

If a fingerprint, then shame on whoever handled it and did that. But it does not look like a fingerprint to me.

If it bothers you, you can hit it with a couple short squirts of quality electrical contact cleaner. Then just let it drip dry. Once dry, return the CPU to its anti-static protective case, then leave it alone until ready to assemble.
 
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for me looks like sweat, the previous user looks like handled it by touching the contact area or light dust that accumulated
actually it's fine but if you wanna clean it, it will be ok
 

b_basar

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Thank you all for the help. For now im not gonna touch it. Maybe if it causes problems
 
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at least it's not an AMD CPU with bent pins that would be worse
 
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Maybe if it causes problems
Any time you touch high density devices like processors and memory devices, you risk torching a Grand Canyon size trench (microscopically speaking) through 1000s of transistor gates from ESD - electrostatic discharge - from your body. So you should never ever touch the electrical contacts and you should always discharge yourself before coming even close to such devices.

But also, skin has a bunch of skin oils and they promote corrosion and attract dust.
 
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it might just be the lighting because if i dont hold light to it i cant see it.
then I wouldn't worry about it. I've had discolored pads before just because ive handled the CPU and touched the pads (by accident) with my oily fingers. If you aren't having any issues, I wouldn't sweat it. But as regen said, if it bothers you, clean it. :)
 
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Does it smell?

If not, I wouldn't bother tbh
 
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Anything that has been handled should be cleaned regardless of whether upu see anything, to remove skin oils at th eleast. I use Indigo Xtreme Cleaner but thats hard to get these days ...I actually complained to the manufacturer about availability and they indicated retail would be ending but that they are exploring partnering with TIM and CPU cooler vendors.
 
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As others have said, isopropyl alcohol. Stuff is so cheap and useful that anyone who mucks around with PC hardware really has no excuse not to have a bottle on-hand at all times.
 
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I don't recommend isopropyl alcohol. It works great on metals (to clean TIM off CPUs and heat sinks, for example) but alcohol is a solvent.

Circuit boards are typically coated with polymeric films, resins or similar coatings to help keep moisture and oxidizing air away from the circuit runs, component leads, PCB substrates, copper and other materials subject to corrosion and/or damage from moisture exposure. This "conformal coating" also helps isolate ESD sensitive devices from damage from ESD. While there would not be conformal coating on the contact pads themselves, it likely is on the surrounding PCB as well as the dozens and dozens of discrete components in the center area of many CPUs (including the OPs as seen in the screen shot above).

Plus, how would isopropyl alcohol be applied? It does not come (at least not in pure form) in a spray can. So it would have to be poured on ( :twitch: No!) or applied with a cotton swab or ball, or a cloth, or brush, then "scrubbed" :twitch: :twitch:. Those contact pads are made of gold alloys. Gold is soft. Scrubbing scratches. CPUs are highly ESD sensitive. Scrubbing can create static charges. Alcohol is a solvent that may or may not eat away at the conformal coating.

Since alcohol is a solvent, and we don't know what type of conformal coating is used here, it is best to use something actually designed for electronics - such as quality electrical contact cleaner as I mentioned above. Plus, the electrical contact cleaner comes in a pressurize can. The force of the expelled cleaner can help "scrub" the dirt and contaminants away without any rubbing. It would be similar to running your car through a "touchless carwash" that uses jets of soapy water instead of one that uses spinning cloth strips that scrape :twitch: across the paint and grind grit into the shiny finish.

Use the "right tool for the job" and avoid the potential risks of damaging the processor. That tool is electrical contact cleaner.
 
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I don't recommend isopropyl alcohol. It works great on metals (to clean TIM off CPUs and heat sinks, for example) but alcohol is a solvent.

Circuit boards are typically coated with polymeric films, resins or similar coatings to help keep moisture and oxidizing air away from the circuit runs, component leads, PCB substrates, copper and other materials subject to corrosion and/or damage from moisture exposure. This "conformal coating" also helps isolate ESD sensitive devices from damage from ESD. While there would not be conformal coating on the contact pads themselves, it likely is on the surrounding PCB as well as the dozens and dozens of discrete components in the center area of many CPUs (including the OPs as seen in the screen shot above).

Plus, how would isopropyl alcohol be applied? It does not come (at least not in pure form) in a spray can. So it would have to be poured on ( :twitch: No!) or applied with a cotton swab or ball, or a cloth, or brush, then "scrubbed" :twitch: :twitch:. Those contact pads are made of gold alloys. Gold is soft. Scrubbing scratches. CPUs are highly ESD sensitive. Scrubbing can create static charges. Alcohol is a solvent that may or may not eat away at the conformal coating.

Since alcohol is a solvent, and we don't know what type of conformal coating is used here, it is best to use something actually designed for electronics - such as quality electrical contact cleaner as I mentioned above. Plus, the electrical contact cleaner comes in a pressurize can. The force of the expelled cleaner can help "scrub" the dirt and contaminants away without any rubbing. It would be similar to running your car through a "touchless carwash" that uses jets of soapy water instead of one that uses spinning cloth strips that scrape :twitch: across the paint and grind grit into the shiny finish.

Use the "right tool for the job" and avoid the potential risks of damaging the processor. That tool is electrical contact cleaner.
Product description from your link:

A petroleum distillate / alcohol based precision cleaner designed as an alternative to CFC based cleaners.
 
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As others have said, isopropyl alcohol. Stuff is so cheap and useful that anyone who mucks around with PC hardware really has no excuse not to have a bottle on-hand at all times.
This. Used it for years to clean off pads without issue using cotton swabs.

Again, this doesn't need to be cleaned in the first place. Just run it, OP.
 
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Product description from your link:

A petroleum distillate / alcohol based precision cleaner designed as an alternative to CFC based cleaners.
There's a big difference between using something as a base and being pure version.

This. Used it for years to clean off pads without issue using cotton swabs.

Again, this doesn't need to be cleaned in the first place. Just run it, OP.
Also, this is my opinion as well.
 
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And there's a big difference between wiping gold contacts and PCB substrates with a rag soaked in something not designed for electronics, and giving the electronics a couple quick squirts with a product designed for such purpose. Yes, many are alcohol based but as noted, in much less concentrations and combined with the other ingredients specifically designed to be used for cleaning oils, particularly organic based oils, and other contaminants.

I too have used 91-93% isopropyl alcohol on all sorts of things when in a pinch and an appropriate cleaner was not available. But the fact some have used it for years without problems does not mean it is the right tool for the job. And since electrical contact cleaner works great for cleaning connector contacts, including hard to clean card and RAM stick slots, power and data connectors, variable resistors, volume controls and other pots, switch and relay contacts, and more, without any concerns with damage, it is the best tool for the job.

So IMO, every computer hobbyist, and for sure every computer/electronics tech, should have a can on hand. WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner even includes a nice nozzle tube to get into hard to reach places. And the focused jet of cleaner helps to scrub without the possibility of scratching.

Please! Let's not turn this into another TPU classic clash of personalities over "my way is better than yours", or "I don't like you so your opinion does not count". :( I hope we can all agree that electrical contact cleaner is specifically made to remove oil, dirt, flux residue, and condensation from sensitive electronic equipment. High concentrations of isopropyl alcohol is not. Those are just simple facts not based on opinion. That's all.
Some of those specialty products kill plastic even if they are indicated as plastic safe, just from my experience.
 

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Thank you all for the help. For now im not gonna touch it. Maybe if it causes problems
Going to mark this thread solved and close it up.
@b_basar should you want to return to this thread, report the thread and we will open it back up.
 
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