Remove the CPU cooler fan from an Intel Core i3 CPU when upgrading the cooling solution for overclocking or when the fan becomes worn or dirty. Often the fan is permanently attached to the heat sink and both must be removed or replaced at the same time. Liquid-cooled systems do not use a fan. The current cooler fan and heat sink must be removed prior to installing such a system.
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Things you need
- Anti-static wrist strap
- Small plastic scraper
- Lint-free cloth
- Isopropyl alcohol, 91 per cent
- Thermal heat sink compound
- Small screwdriver
Power down the computer and attach one end of the anti-static wrist strap to either wrist. Attach the other end to a bare metal portion of the case. Remove the power cord and the case cover from the computer.
Disconnect the power connection between the CPU fan and the motherboard. Allow the CPU fan and heat sink to cool a few minutes, if necessary.
Press down on the movable end of the metal heat sink retaining clip that holds the fan and heat sink combination to the CPU and motherboard. Use a small flat blade screwdriver, if necessary. Slide the free end of the connector away from the CPU and off the plastic tab on the CPU socket.
Slide the stationary end of the metal heat sink retaining clip away from the other side of the CPU socket to disengage the clip. Gently pull straight up on the heat sink and fan to remove it from the CPU, using a slight twisting motion if necessary.
Scrape the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heat sink with the plastic scraper to remove all the remaining thermal heat sink compound. Clean the surface of the CPU and heat sink with a lint-free cloth wet with 91-percent isopropyl alcohol to remove traces of thermal heat sink compound and other contaminants.
Tips and warnings
- Apply a thin layer of fresh thermal heat sink compound to the surface of the CPU before attaching a heat sink and fan to it.
- Never pry the heat sink away from the CPU, which can damage the CPU.
- Static electricity can damage the CPU if proper protective equipment, such as an anti-static wrist strap, is not used.
- Never use the computer without an approved heat sink and fan or liquid cooling device attached to the CPU.
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