Tonight I was working on a Compaq computer that I’m repairing for one of my parents’ friends. The motherboard was shot from a shipping mishap, so I was replacing the motherboard with a new one. Since nothing was wrong with the computer’s processor, I needed to move the processor from the old board to the new one. I figured this would be an easy job, since I’ve done these kinds of repairs before. Just like Gateway’s tech support issue two weeks ago, I was terribly wrong.
The processor which needed to be removed was a socket 478 Celeron. If you’ve ever worked with Intel’s socket 478 before, you’re probably familiar with the heatsink latching mechanism. If you haven’t, the latches are right on the top of the heatsink, next to the fan. Well, right from the start I ran into problems with it.
The latches were super-glued down. That was a major pain. I had to break out the exact-o-knife to remove the glue from the crevasses of the latch. After the super-glue was remove, I was finally apply to lift the latches to unhook the processor. As I tried to lift the heatsink from its socket, I immediately knew something else wasn’t right.
The heatsink wouldn’t come loose from the socket. A quick peek from the side of the motherboard revealed adhesive thermal paste was my next obstacle. After about five minutes of slowly twisting the heatsink while pulling, I was finally able to remove the heatsink. The inspection of the area where the heatsink was previously attached, revealed the mess Compaq had made. Not only was the thermal compound on the core of the processor, it was just about everywhere else in the general vicinity of the CPU. Luckily I was ditching the motherboard, so a cleanup was avoided.
Now with the processor in plain site, I thought the job was almost finished. Once again my perceptions failed me. After removing the processor from the ZIF socket, a glance at the underside of the process revealed a major problem. There were about ten pins bent straight down. While the processor might have been working without those pins, I felt I had to do something about them, even though they were like that before I received the computer. To remedy the bent pins, I used a safety pin to slowly lift the pins back to their normal position. This wasn’t hard, it just took time.
After the pins were back to their normal state, I was finally able to put the processor in the new motherboard. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the processor will work yet because I called it a night after getting the processor in the new motherboard. I’ll know tomorrow if my lengthy repair job was a success.
So, looking back on this experience reveals yet another crappy computer manufacture. I don’t know who was in charge of placing the processor in, but whoever it was apparently didn’t know much about computers. Any person who has ever built a computer will tell you, you don’t use a processor with bent pins, and the thermal paste only has to go on the CPU core. Spreading thermal paste all over the processor socket doesn’t do anything for cooling the processor other than creating a mess.
I hope this brief account of my experience has taught you something; don’t buy computers from bargain computer manufacturers. They’re cheap for a reason. You’d be much better off building a computer yourself or buying from a local PC shop that build their own machines.