1 2 Previous Next 24 Replies Latest reply on Apr 14, 2016 11:17 AM by Intel Corporation

    Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?

    techwiz

      I'm on my 2nd NUC, neither have been able to get through Windows 10 install without blue screening... I notice that the symptoms seem to occur a short while after a cold boot (say 5-10m into a windows installation) so I'm wondering if the thermal compound Intel is using is poor quality.

       

      Has anyone here tried replacing it with something like Arctic Silver?

       

      I'm worried it will void any warranty I might have but if thermals are the issue I have no problem replacing the compound.

        • 1. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
          hausmeister99

          No, but I’m thinking about the same idea at the moment…

           

          I’m thinking about ‘Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme’

          and maybe (but I don’t know how much space is between the heatsink and the case) about a thermal pad with at minimum 5W/mk (e.g. https://www.aquatuning.de/download/Phobya-5Wmk-Pads-eng.pdf) (also to replace the two existing pads)...

          (I also found 17.0 W/mK but I don't know if it will be flex enough)

          • 2. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
            Intel Corporation
            This message was posted by Intel Corporation on behalf of

            Hello, All:

            Intel will accept returns for board SKUs where the factory-installed fan has been removed; however, subsequent returns may be refused if customer-induced damage due to fan removal or overheating is found.

            This information can be found here as well: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/boards-and-kits/000005679.html

            Additionally, you could refer to this video to remove the cooling solution of the NUC, newer units are mostly the same:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EPZQUaJozk

            NOTE: This link is being offered for your convenience and should not be viewed as an endorsement by Intel of the content, products, or services offered there.

            If you require any further information or support, feel free to contact us back.

            Regards,
            Esteban C

            • 3. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
              techwiz

              Quick status update.

               

              I took Esteban's comment as Intel's blessing to tear the heatsink off my NUC and replace the thermal paste. I'll admit, the thermal paste did not seem to have an immediate effect, but the Windows install did seem to occur faster before it eventually blue screened... I wondered if the case was being restrictive to airflow so I pulled the board out of the chassis and noticed that the heatsink was uncomfortably hot. I took advantage of this moment to move the memory to the top slot away from the board as opposed to the one closest to the board... just in case.

               

              Believe it or not, this is progress! Before the i5 would barely warm up the heatsink, let alone the entire chassis. It did however, do a good job of warming up the board. With this information, I jumped into the BIOS to check temps and noticed a pretty stable 45*C with the new paste (as opposed to 50-52*C I was seeing before) which meant the paste helped at least keep the CPU cooler, but the heatsink was not dissipating heat well enough. So I decided to poke around in the cooling tab in the advanced section.

               

              And that's when I noticed that by default, the NUC has a very conservative cooling profile. It's set up to not ramp up the fans until the CPU reaches at least 76*C. 76 DEGREES! Goodness, I would be having a panic attack if my desktop hit such temps. So I cranked up the fan to always run 100% power and lowered the fan threshold to about 20*C (I've never seen the CPU that low...) and eureka! Windows installed!

               

              I'm currently running through a few updates/installs and I still hit the frequent blue screen with the code "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT" or something related to corrupt memory but at least I can confirm that a vast majority of my blue screen issues were related to thermals. The system is still very unstable. I'm going to try underclocking the CPU to see if I can maintain stability for a bit longer.

              • 4. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                techwiz

                FYI hausmeister99, the heatsink has 2 small shelves cut out of the sides of the interface plate where what I presume are the GPU and whatever extra supporting circuitry for the CPU are. The two rectangular bits have a very gummy thermal pad (not sure if it melted a bit) that allow it to reach the interface plate which is cut slightly higher than the CPU's portion to accommodate the pads. The CPU presses directly against the plate with (a pretty watery) stock thermal compound. I didn't think I could put thermal paste on the smaller rectangles and still have them make contact with the thermal plate so I put the pads back in. If either of those smaller rectangles include the memory management or I/O, it could easily explain the remaining issues I'm seeing.

                • 5. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                  techwiz

                  Another status update.

                   

                  I turned off turbo boost and the system is very stable, however the system needs to stay under 45*C or the skylake chip begins to throw some serious memory issues. I've set up the fan controller to step up by 5% per *C and starting at 30*C@50% and so far so good. If anyone at Intel wants to try and troubleshoot my system with me, I'm open for contact. It's definitely a thermal issue related to the memory control systems overheating at 45*C

                  • 6. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                    whirly

                    Overheating at 45c would be considered pretty ridiculous.

                    • 7. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                      techwiz

                      whirly, you're not wrong. It's pretty disappointing that this thing can't remain alive at a temp my laptop idles at. Also I spoke to soon. Shortly after I posted my last response, Windows attempted a system update and it blue screened through the 2nd phase breaking windows entirely. F**k me.

                       

                      I'm thinking I'm going to RMA this thing and get my money back. It's simply not worth the hassle and I really can't give this away as a gift in this state.

                      • 8. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                        hausmeister99

                        Hi,

                         

                        because of the temperatures your nuc reaches, I’m not sure if I understand everything correctly you wrote, but it sounds like your nuc gets too hot compared with e.g. my one (at idle ~35-40°C and at 25% usage ~60-65°C) and the ram (if I’m not wrong) is at ~~40°C… btw: I use coretemp to monitor the actual core temperature at taskbar (http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/)

                         

                        Because of the heatsink and the thermal-pad I don’t talk about the parts under it http://www.technikaffe.de/anleitung/thumbbig/intel_nuc6i5sykh_im_test_14.jpg but about the idea to get a “heat-bridge” at the top side of the heatsink http://www.technikaffe.de/anleitung/thumbbig/intel_nuc6i5sykh_im_test_13.jpg to the case...

                         

                        Last but not least maybe another fan (but I think it will be difficult to find a more powerful replacement)…

                        • 9. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                          techwiz

                          Yea there's definitely something wrong with BOTH of the skylake chips in the 2 NUCs I've received because neither will function above 45*C... I cannot for the life of my figure out why. Clearly yours goes up well above 45*C without a problem...

                          • 10. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                            Intel Corporation
                            This message was posted by Intel Corporation on behalf of

                            Hello, All:

                            Thank you for the feedback provided on this.

                            I performed some tests on our end, ran Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool, monitored temps and also ran an stress test for some time.

                            Hardware used: Intel® NUC Kit NUC6i5SYH
                            4 GB of RAM
                            Intel® SSD 40GB
                            Windows 10* 64-bit

                            I didn't encounter with any BSOD while performing the tests, please refer to the screenshots attached.

                            I would also like to recommend you to test the behavior of the system with different RAM, maybe a single stick if using 2 and different sizes.

                            If the problem persists, you could also contact Intel Customer Support to get an RMA on the unit.

                            Regards,

                            • 11. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                              techwiz

                              That's great that your NUC operates properly under loads, but I don't see how a stick of memory can cause the system to break only after a certain (and very low) thermal threshold has been crossed. I'm using the same model NUC, Intel 535 360GB M.2 SSD, Mushkin Essentials 1x8GB RAM (2133MHz CAS 15), and I only have issues when the system temp goes above 45*C.

                               

                              I ran the SSD on my desktop, no problems there, I ran memtest86+ on the NUC with these memory modules and it ran with no errors for several hours (not CPU intensive, temps were probably low) so I don't think it's the DIMMs. And I would like to point out that with the default cooling config my system was idling at about 40-45*C instead of the 35-40 that hausmeister99 reported. I would also like to point out that the BSOD didn't happen just because the system crossed 45*C, it would BSOD if the system tried doing something while passed the 45*C limit, i.e. system update or accessing the network or disk.

                               

                              Whatever the case may be, if I'm having this much troubling when I know so much about building and troubleshooting systems, I cannot fathom the person I was planning on gifting this NUC to would be so eager. I don't think this is a very beginner friendly platform in it's current state. I would hope my product would work out the box but clearly that's not the case here. Also, judging from the community here, I think this platform is also far too picky when it comes to memory compatibility... Macs aren't even this picky, and the ones that are simply don't boot when you have the wrong kind of memory. If this is in fact a memory compatibility issue, this is not a good graceful failure... the product is failing sporadically during operation as opposed to never getting thru POST or failing to boot.

                              • 12. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                                Intel Corporation
                                This message was posted by Intel Corporation on behalf of

                                Hello, techwiz:

                                Since you were using 8GBs of RAM and I perform the tests with 4GBs, I went ahead and perform the tests again with 2x4GB.

                                The outcome was the same, as of now, the recommendation would be to test the system with different RAM.

                                Here you can find the hardware and software used in the tests:

                                -OS: Windows 10* 64-bit
                                -Motherboard Model: Intel® NUC Kit NUC6i5SYH
                                -BIOS Version: 0039
                                -Storage: Intel® SSD 40GB
                                -RAM: KVR21SE15S8/4 X2 two kits of 1/4GB

                                -Heavyload test used
                                -Ran memory test from windows passed
                                -Ran Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool

                                Regards,
                                Esteban C

                                • 13. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                                  Intel Corporation
                                  This message was posted by Intel Corporation on behalf of

                                  Hello, techwiz:

                                  Since you were using 8GBs of RAM and I perform the tests with 4GBs, I went ahead and perform the tests again with 2x4GB.

                                  The outcome was the same, as of now, the recommendation would be to test the system with different RAM.

                                  Here you can find the hardware and software used in the tests:

                                  -OS: Windows 10* 64-bit
                                  -Motherboard Model: Intel® NUC Kit NUC6i5SYH
                                  -BIOS Version: 0039
                                  -Storage: Intel® SSD 40GB
                                  -RAM: KVR21SE15S8/4 X2 two kits of 1/4GB

                                  -Heavyload test used
                                  -Ran memory test from windows passed
                                  -Ran Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool

                                  Regards,
                                  Esteban C

                                  • 14. Re: Has anyone tried replacing thermal compound?
                                    techwiz

                                    I've already started the RMA process, however if you'd like I can send you the memory stick I used for you to test internally. Send me a PM so that we can work something out. I don't have another stick of memory to test on this unit nor do I feel this issue is worth the cost of buying and then returning a stick of memory.

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