Maximus Formula is a great board but it has its own flaw such as the Heatpipe cooler. It’s not a bad design but just a bad thermal compound that Asus used. It was design for passive cooling even with the SE version; if you have a poor case air flow then you will run into temperature issues for Northbridge and Southbridge.
The paste Asus used must have epoxy adhesive mixed to it. It is hard as rock when it cured and it’s impossible to remove it if you don’t know how. I’ve heard some horror stories about people have tried to remove it; either they have no success or damage the MOBO.
You have two choices to improve the temperature by;
In this guide I am going to show you how remove it properly without damage your precious board. No matter if it is a brand new board or it has been used for months. My board was use for over 8 months and I didn’t have any problem remove it. Howerver use it at your own risk, unexpected board shorten or damage can occur.
- Easy way: put a spot fan to NB & SB sinks, it will reduce 1-2c degree.
- Harder way but better: remove the Heatpipe and replace stock thermal paste with a good aftermarket thermal paste.
Tool & Material Needed:
Step 1 - The Un-screwed
- Philips and Slotted screwdrivers, small size.
- Heat gun or Hair dryer
- Longnose plier
- Xacto (razor) blade (optional)
- Construction work gloves
- Lint free cloth
- Nail polish remover (optional)
- 90% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Old credit card or any plastic card
1.1 Use Philips head screwdriver to remove 4 threaded screws at the Northbridge sink (Figure 1.1), keep the screws and the support backplate in safe place for reuse.
1.2 Use your thumb to push the push down locked pins at the Southbridge until it protruded further to the back side of the motherboard. Hold it, and then use a long nose plier to hold on the lockdown prongs and push the pin back to remove it. Becarefull when you do this, just push the prongs pass the hole then use your hand to remove the pin, if you let the plier hit the mobo it can damage the board.
Step 2 - Bring on the heat
I’ll be using a Heat Gun because it’s available to me; if you don’t have one then uses Hair Dryer. It might take a little longer to heat up the paste, with Heat Gun only take less than 2 minutes. If you are using Heat gun, and it has the temperature settings then you should select the Low setting because it’s very hot, you don’t want to melt the surrounding plastic components. You should keep the distance at least 6 inches (15cm) away from the board. (Figure 2.1)
2.1 First I will work on the SB, in one hand I aim the Heat gun directly at the sink and the other hand I’ll feel the heatpipe. As soon I feel it too hot to touch, I turn off the heat and quickly use a Slotted head screwdriver, put under neat the SB sink and gently pry it with a turning motion fashion (Figure 2.1.b). The sink will pop up easy because the thermal compound losing its grip due to the heat. Keep the screwdriver there (under neat the sink) to lift the sink off the chipset for few seconds. If you let it touches, the paste will cool off and cured. It will stick together again.
2.2 Now move on to the NB with the same procedure and work on it.
2.3 As soon the NB sink comes loose, quickly put on the work gloves (or you can ware it ahead of time) and remove the Heatpipe. You will burn your hand if you don’t wear gloves.
Figure 2.1.a - You may see the Heat Gun is very close to the SB, it’s just for the demo only so I can take the picture.
It’s hard to be a model and a photographer at the same time.
Figure 2.1.b - Gently turn the screwdriver to use the width to the head to lift the sink up,
if you have a right temperature then you don’t need to force it. It’s just come off easily.
Figure 2.3 - As you can see the SB wasn’t fully contacted and looks at how much paste Asus used.
That’s just a half of it, the other half is on the chipsets.
Step 3 -The Cleaning Screw
I will be using Nail Polish remover (I borrowed from my wife….shttttttt….she dosen’t know) because I don’t have 90% Isopropyl alcohol. The one I have only 70%, Nail Polish remover is a little bit stronger but I’m going to use them both. The Isopropyl alcohol will use for the final clean up.
If you have 90% one, then you don’t need the Nail Polish remover.
You probably can use Isopropyl alcohol directly removes the paste by rubbing it, rubbing it with your elbows grease until it come off, STOP.
I will show you a little trick with a less effort and quicker, save your elbows grease for something else. You will thank me later.
3.1 Pull out the Heat gun or Hair Dryer to re-heat the NB & SB chipsets until you see the paste have the shiny looks and quickly use the razor blade to scrape off the excess paste. If you choose to use razor blade, make sure you use the one wider than the NB and SB chipsets/sinks surface (see figure 3.1.b) and gently, don’t put to much pressure on it or you will scratches the copper surface. I would recommend using a plastic card edges (credit card), its must safer.
3.2 Now use lint free cloth with Isopropyl alcohol to remove the left over paste. You have to do it quickly while the paste is still hot, it will come off easier then when it cold.
3.3 Use Isopropyl alcohol to do the final clean up if you use Nail Polish remover.
3.4 Use the same procedure for the Heatpipe sink.
3.5 Do a final clean up with the alcohol until you don’t see any residues (grayish color) pick up by the cloth.
Figure 3.1.a Don’t use this type of Xacto knife, too narrow and the pointed head will scratch
the surface of the sink. Look at the gooey stuff…...ewh!
Figure 3.1.b - If you have to use a blade, then use some thing this wide.
Remember don’t put to much pressure on it while you scrapping it.
Before you apply any new thermal paste, you should do a dry fitting with the Heatpipe to make sure the NB & SB sinks are totally flat to the chipset. Normally it won’t be at first try. Because the crosslinked heat pipe might be wrapped due to the prying. No panic here, all you have to do is to use your thumb put a little pressure (push down) on the crosslinked heat pipe while the heatpipe in the dry fitting position. Now the NB & SB sinks should be stay flat and make a contact with the chipsets.
Normally, I would use AS5 but I will be using MX-2 thermal paste for this. MX-2 works well as AS5 but this compound is must cheaper than the AS5. The tube you see in the picture only cost me under $8.00 but AS5 will cost over $12 per tube. Now apply a small amount of the thermal paste and reinstall the Heatpipe or you can replace it with the aftermarket cooler of your choice.
Figure 4.1 - See the two circles? That’s from lapping the NB sink, the two corners was a little bit higher than sink surface.
I didn’t really notice after I lapped, luckily I lapped it.
Why did I lap the sink in the first place, you ask?
Because I’ve scratched the surface due to using small razor blade, I was in panic (the paste was getting cool) so I just grabbed whatever in my reach. I recommend you to check the flatness of the NB sink especially around the edges (see pic).
to be continue