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Old 12-01-2013, 04:21 PM
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Question H100 Occasionally Grounding Out On CPU

Hey all. I've been using an H100 cooler for about a year with no problems until now. My current one is very frustrating and I'm hoping someone has an easy solution. I replaced my mainboard with a new one the other day (same socket and CPU). When I removed the H100 from the CPU, the gray square of thermal compound it came with had largely dissolved, not uncommon. I applied Arctic Silver 5 cooling compound using their recommended procedure (including tinting the H100 heat sink) before putting thing on my new board. However, now I'm occasionally getting what I'm 99% sure is the CPU grounding out on the heat sink, causing a full system hard lock.

The reason I believe this to be the case is that it happens infrequently and usually after long periods of system inactivity or more commonly, when the system has been under high load (and thus, higher temperatures) and then that load is suddenly removed, bringing the temperature down and causing contraction of the heat sink. I do a lot of video stuff so I can usually reproduce it that way. I can play a high-end game like Battlefield 4 without freezing for hours or run 3DMark on loop all night without an issue but often the system will freeze once those tasks are stopped. Not always but often enough.

In addition, when installing the H100 on my new board, I can't screw it down tightly as the system won't even POST when I do that. The mainboard hangs with a CPU initialization BIOS code. If I loosen the screws a bit so that the cooler isn't super tight but still tight enough to adequately cool the CPU, the system posts but this occasional hard lock is observed. This is why I'm reasonably confident it's not the board that's at fault. I completely cleaned off both the CPU and heat sink and regooped them both and this is still happening.

Is anyone aware of the best procedure for overcoming this? I can't keep having my system be unstable like this and I've dealt with issues like this in the past and usually regooping the CPU is all that's needed but it's not fully resolving the issue here. I can't justify replacing the H100 simply because the factory thermal compound wore off it. Should I just use an extra generous helping of Arctic Silver or it there a better way? Thanks all!
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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It's impossible for the Cooler to ground out your CPU. You could put it directly on your CPU without paste and it still wouldn't ground it out.

I would pull your CPU from the socket and inspect for bent pins. The types of issues your seeing have never been reported before.

If anything it sounds more like a GPU issue than anything to me.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanutz94 View Post
It's impossible for the Cooler to ground out your CPU. You could put it directly on your CPU without paste and it still wouldn't ground it out.

I would pull your CPU from the socket and inspect for bent pins. The types of issues your seeing have never been reported before.

If anything it sounds more like a GPU issue than anything to me.
While I can't attest to the H100 specifically, I can say 100% that yes, you CAN ground out the CPU on a cooler. I have seen this happen on other systems where a cooler was attached to the CPU with no thermal compound and the system refused to start until thermal compound was applied. Rare? Absolutely (I've only seen it about 3 times in my career as an on-site tech) but it can happen and the symptoms here are eerily familiar.

If there are bent pins in the CPU socket, wouldn't that just prevent the system from ever working? If the H100 is not tightly screwed down, the system generally works fine except for these occasional freezes. But if pins were bent and not properly contacting the CPU, nothing would ever work would it? I can certainly check for bent pins and will do so but that strikes me as more of an "it works all the time or not at all" kind of situation. This GPU also worked fine in my old board so I don't believe it's that, especially since the system is fine when under 100% load and only acts up either after releasing load or when it's been idle for a while.

Last edited by PXAbstraction; 12-01-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wytnyt View Post
you may have jostled the block and have some air trapped in the block when you had it off,these units arent completely full to allow for expansion.
you can try laying your case on its side for a few hours and see if this helps.
i would tend to think the m/b may be getting bent if it fails to post,least thats just my guess,is the m/b thinner than normal?
Nope, the Z77A-GD65 is a standard size ATX board. It's also in a Corsair 650D case which are generally pretty good at keeping things straight. For all the problems my old crappy EVGA mainboard had, bending wasn't one of them. :) Interesting thought about putting the system sideways, though that still doesn't explain why I can't tighten down the block. I will double check for bent pins and try that anyway though, can't hurt. :)
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:13 PM
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The paste is there to transfer heat. Without it your temps will rise dramatically within a second or two and cause a no boot situation. But electrically grounding out isn't gonna happen. If it does then you defiantly have problems other than a cooler.

Quote:
If there are bent pins in the CPU socket, wouldn't that just prevent the system from ever working?
Nope, a single bent pin can wreak havoc on a system. From untraceable instabilities , memory mis-detection issues, and so on. But otherwise still function normally.

Quote:
If the H100 is not tightly screwed down, the system generally works fine except for these occasional freezes. But if pins were bent and not properly contacting the CPU, nothing would ever work would it? I can certainly check for bent pins and will do so but that strikes me as more of an "it works all the time or not at all" kind of situation.
You can request an RMA for a new set of mounting hardware and see if that helps. You could also try adding a set of rubber or nylon washer to the backplate. But no, it's not always a no work or not situation.


Quote:
This GPU also worked fine in my old board so I don't believe it's that, especially since the system is fine when under 100% load and only acts up either after releasing load or when it's been idle for a while.
Working then and working now could be two different things. I'm not saying it is, but it's possible. You might also want to check your PSU voltages in your BIOS and see where the three main rails are sitting. Low 3.3 or 5v will cause lockups, crashes and such too.
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Interesting thought about putting the system sideways, though that still doesn't explain why I can't tighten down the block. I will double check for bent pins and try that anyway though, can't hurt. :)
Air bubbles are not the problem.
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Last edited by peanutz94; 12-01-2013 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:46 PM
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this sounds like your motherboard is flexing when you have the 4 screws holding the pump onto the cpu too tight which causes the cpu contacts to have unstable connection to the board pins and is causing hard locks of your system. this type of issue has been known for some time now and is even posted on the ASUS motherboard forums. try what peanutz suggested with rubber or nylon washers to the pump mounting hardware, or just ask Corsair for a new mounting hardware kit.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PXAbstraction View Post
Nope, the Z77A-GD65 is a standard size ATX board. It's also in a Corsair 650D case which are generally pretty good at keeping things straight. For all the problems my old crappy EVGA mainboard had, bending wasn't one of them. :) Interesting thought about putting the system sideways, though that still doesn't explain why I can't tighten down the block. I will double check for bent pins and try that anyway though, can't hurt. :)
somehow i misinterpreted your grounding issue with grinding in your post,i apologize
probably in part i must have read your post too quickly and that your problem is the first ive seen on here with this type of problem.
hope you get things worked out.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:11 PM
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Hey all. First, thank you all for your help, it's much appreciated. So I spent a very long time going over my CPU pins with a fine tooth comb and I'm not convinced that's the issue. There was one pin that was the tiniest bit out of alignment but it was extremely minor and I did manage to correct it using a sewing needle. My old board has two pins further out of whack than this one and I never had freezing issues with it. No improvement. If I screw down the H100 tightly, the system won't POST, if I loosen it, I get random freezes still. To say that I'm frustrated is an understatement because this didn't happen with my old mainboard.

The suggestion about getting an upgraded hardware kit is a good one, though it's distressing to me that this is now the third Corsair product I've had that's needed an "update" of some sort. One thing though, are those rubber grommets for the backplate or for the mainboard side? I'm looking at the bracket right now and there aren't rubber grommets on it. I presume these would go over the screw holes on the bracket and make the four round pieces flush against the mainboard? I might be able to find something like this at a local hardware store, just want to make sure what I'm looking for.

Thanks again for the help all.

Last edited by PXAbstraction; 12-02-2013 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
So I spent a very long time going over my CPU pins with a fine tooth comb and I'm not convinced that's the issue. There was one pin that was the tiniest bit out of alignment but it was extremely minor and I did manage to correct it using a sewing needle. My old board has two pins further out of whack than this one and I never had freezing issues with it.
It's going to depend on which one is bent and what part of the CPU it goes to. If it's touching correctly or not. Just a lot of variables so you really can't compare it to your other board.
Quote:
If I screw down the H100 tightly, the system won't POST, if I loosen it, I get random freezes still. To say that I'm frustrated is an understatement because this didn't happen with my old mainboard.

The suggestion about getting an upgraded hardware kit is a good one, though it's distressing to me that this is now the third Corsair product I've had that's needed an "update" of some sort. One thing though, are those rubber grommets for the backplate or for the mainboard side? I'm looking at the bracket right now and there aren't rubber grommets on it. I presume these would go over the screw holes on the bracket and make the four round pieces flush against the mainboard? I might be able to find something like this at a local hardware store, just want to make sure what I'm looking for.
The washers go on the back plate between the bracket and the MB. Those are only needed if you need additional pressure on the CPU socket. Thats something that really you shouldn't need. At this point I think that board is just bad. If you happen to have your old board handy it might be worth swapping everything back over to see what happens.If it boots right up you have your answer. Or try another cooler of some sort.

http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showpost...1&postcount=28
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:19 AM
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I'm really having a hard time believing a defective mainboard is to blame when it only seems to act up when this cooler is screwed down but you may be right. I just don't want to go through the process of RMAing this board to MSI and being without a PC for weeks (they don't do cross-ship in Canada), only to find out the new board has the same problem. My old board did boot up before this replacement but I guess I can assemble it again and see what happens. I'm pretty sure my 2600K was one of the retail ones that came with Intel's crappy fan cooler so maybe I can find that and try it for process of elimination as well. We'll see I guess. Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:18 AM
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Alright, I don't seem to have my Intel cooler any more but a friend of mine does still have his and he has the same CPU. He's going to lend it to me to try it out. On the chance that the system does work fine with the Intel cooler installed, any idea what my course of action would be from there?
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:16 PM
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Not really. The new cooler will have a new set of hardware, that would be my first choice. After that I couldn't tell you. You are literally the first we have seen here with this issue. To be honest I would be really surprised if it does work with the Intel cooler.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by peanutz94 View Post
Not really. The new cooler will have a new set of hardware, that would be my first choice. After that I couldn't tell you. You are literally the first we have seen here with this issue. To be honest I would be really surprised if it does work with the Intel cooler.
Honestly, I hope it doesn't work with the Intel cooler, simply because that will give me a clear indication of where the fault lies and then I can work on getting MSI to replace the board. If it does work with it then yeah, I have no idea.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:03 PM
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this is a first for me also,please keep us posted on your results and hoping for the best
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:45 PM
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Alright guys, I sadly don't bring good news. I put my friend's stock Intel cooler on the CPU and everything's fine. System boots up normally. Now the post-boot freezing happened after random periods of time so I can't say 100% that everything's fine that way but as soon as I put the H100 back on and tightened it down, the system failed to POST again. Pretty conclusive if you ask me.

However, I want to ask a couple of things about that "update kit" that includes the rubber washers. It was mentioned upthread that I shouldn't need it with this board but I think I might because when the screws that attach through the mainboard to the backplate are fully tightened down, you can still move them up and down a little bit by pulling on them. I read elsewhere that this is what the rubber washers were added to fix and apparently, some newer boards have slightly thinner PCBs which is what causes this and why Corsair includes the washers in the box with newer kits. Given that my old board is from 2011, that sounds pretty convincing to me. Would you guys agree this is worth trying?

Secondly, will Corsair send me this kit for free if I ask them for it? The cooling kit is probably either close to a year old or a little over but I really don't want to have to pay for something that's pretty clearly an update that kind of should have always been there. In theory, I could find the washers locally too but I'd rather do it the "official" way. I don't care if I have to run with the Intel fan and just disable my overclock until the update kit arrives. I just figured I'd ask here before going through the process of opening an RMA ticket.

Thanks all!

Last edited by PXAbstraction; 12-03-2013 at 09:13 PM.
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