This post is based on a forum thread that has been simmering away on the HWBOT forum for a few weeks. It basically revolves around a HWBOT member known to us as OLDcomer who found that his Core i7 5690X got knocked back by the Intel RMA staff who considered the residual stains of the liquid metal TIM to be signs of IHS damage and possibly sanding; two reasons that they argue invalidate any RMA claim. According to OLDcomer:
“My motherboard killed my 5960x recently and I sent the processor for warranty replacement to Intel's depot in Netherlands. The TIM was liquid metal and that's why there is some residue and it is hard to read the batch code but it is visible if look from the right angle. Intel Customer Support said that the processor is sanded which is not true.”
The Intel reply was thus:
“After further inspection the CPU is being rejected as the unit has substantial impact by some means which appear to be sanding marks and is being shipped back to you...”
It certainly seemed that all was lost, especially as many members suggested that Intel use barcodes to identify all processors and once a chip has been knocked back in an RMA case, it would be very difficult to find a way to convince the company otherwise. Fortunately The Stilt had a suggestion which OLDcomer was willing to give a shot.
“Try wiping the heatspreader with some < 10% hydrochlorid acid for couple of minutes. It should remove the gallium residue / oxidation. After wiping it with the acid, clean the acid residue first with water and then again with alcohol. The send it back to Intel.” –The Stilt.
Turns out that the solution offered above worked. Intel have agreed to replace OLDcomer’s i7 5690X. If you have experienced similar problems in the past when trying to RMA a CPU with residual liquid metal TIM, this solution looks to be your best shot. Kudos to The Stilt.