My 1st time un- and re-mounting of a CPU cooler heatsink - how to do it properly...?


Mar 14, 2017
Hi gentlemen

I have an old board with an X370 chipset, Ryzen 1700 in it (the first generation). I have bought and have sitting here for about a month (in a drawer) a new CPU that should go into this board after the bios upgrade - 5950x.

I have a scythe ninja 4 cooler. I have built about 3 pc's in my life, but I have NEVER taken the cooler off and put it back on again, I have never cleaned the CPU nor the base of air cooler from paste, etc. and so im a bit worried about the proper way to do it. I want to ask a few things:

1) Uninstalling the cooler (passive) - carefully with various movements (rotating, tilting a little, etc.) simply in all possible directions SLOWLY and carefully try to remove the passive from the CPU (in case the existing old paste has "hardened" too much). Avoid greater upward pressure so that I don't accidentally pull the "glued" CPU out of the socket with the passive...? Yes?

2) To "de-grease" the old (6 years) paste from the CPU and the base of the radiator passive, I bought Isopropyl alcohol. Is this ok/safe for the paste?

3) What to use to degrease the paste? Tissues? Toilet paper? Cotton swabs? A small microfiber towel? Any fabric (old cotton t-shirt cut up)? Or it doesnt matter/its all the same?I'm afraid of cotton and microfiber because of static electricity(?) (probably nonsense), I don't "want" paper tissues or cotton swabs to accidentally leave "pieces/fibers" on the CPU or elsewhere. What the best to use (what do YOU use ?)

4) When applying the new thermal paste (I have an Arctic MX-4 2019 Edition (4g) ) to the 5950x, use the standard procedure - a pea-sized drop in the middle of the CPU...? Is this still the best practice? The 5950x area seems quite large, so use a BIGGER droplet rather than just "pea size" right...? What about other application methods (X cross, 5 dot, etc...?)

5) Then simply push the cooler onto the processor with the paste as much as possible from above/vertically? Don't turn, don't "wobble" (don't let air bubbles appear), just lower it from above (onto the cpu) as vertically and evenly as possible. Correct?

And that's about it... or is there anything else I should be careful about when de-mounting and re-mounting the passive/heatsink of an AIR cooler (and cleaning and reapplying paste, etc. and all that goes with it)?

1. Yes.
2. Yep, it's perfect.
3. Use cotton swabs with the alcohol, or anything lint free.
4. I usually spread the paste across the whole heatspreader but a 5 dot should work fine. You can't use too much, but you can use too little.
5. Don't press down manually, attaching the hsf alone will put enough pressure on the paste to spread it.
1) Yes. As mentioned above, warm up the CPU a bit first. If it simply won't release and you can't get something thin like a credit card in there to help wedge it, last resort is to pull straight up with a steady pull. The CPU will likely come out, the idea is to not bend pins.
2) Yes, although best is the high percentage stuff 91% rather than 50/50. If you already bought the 50% don't stress over it.
3) Microfiber is theoretically best although I just use a paper towel. (avoid the super-cheap generic stuff with palpable wood chips in the paper.)
4) Dot in the middle and 4 corners is fine. If you want to get really fancy, a pea sized dot at the base of the "Y" in Ryzen, and two more at the top and bottom of the right-hand edge of the "E". That's where the I/O die and two chiplets are.
5) Don't push it on. Try to align the cooler without sliding it around, but don't stress over small movements, you're just spreading the paste a bit.