What began as a simple server heatsink replacement ran into one problem after another.
For those unfamiliar, the heatsink is the piece of metal that sits on top of your CPU, it helps dissipate heat and usually has a fan attached to it as well. Between the heatsink and the CPU there is something known as thermal compound, a goo that hardens over time that helps transfer the heat from the CPU into the heatsink where the fan can dissipate it. The CPU itself is locked onto the motherboard with a retention arm, and the heatsink goes on top of it.
A few days ago I became aware that what we believed to be the CPU fan was about to fail. All the signs pointed to it, increasing heat in the entire system and fan whiny noises.
Simple enough, order a new heatsink and fan to put on it! And so I did. It arrived today and the straightforward work of replacing the old heatsink began.
This is where the troubles start.
The thermal compound had formed a bond stronger than the binding of Fenrir. No amount of wiggling or twisting could budge the heatsink from the CPU! And the heatsink itself obstructing direct access to the CPU to aid in prying it off:
Not to be deterred, the twisting went on, until finally! The world shattered as the heatsink, with CPU still attached to it was ripped off of the motherboard!
This is not good. The retention arm that is supposed to lock the CPU in place, is still in the locked position. And some of the CPU's tiny metal pins have been bent ever so slightly.
But a viking never gives up! Using a war axe and battle hammer (a small knife, and regular hammer) the CPU was freed from the heatsink and I could finally begin cleaning all the old thermal compound off of it.
Once the CPU was clean it was simply a matter of bending some of the pins back and putting it on the motherboard. Once there the new heatsink was installed and amazingly the server booted up just fine, as if nothing had happened.
Quite literally as if nothing had happened, beacuse with the new quieter CPU heatsink and fan, it became apparent that the original troubles were with the power supply unit, and not the CPU at all.
A new PSU has been ordered and should arrive on Monday.
Let's hope it provides less problems than the heatsink did.