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I pulled the heat sinks off a HP ML350 G4 and there appears to be no heat sink compound between the processor and the heat sink surfaces.

It looks like the point at which they make contact is actually metal on the processor which is a good conductor anyway.

Perhaps the compound is only needed when the processor has a ceramic top instead of a metal one? There was this very thin clearish, metalic looking film that wasn't so much a 'goo' as a separate kind of sheet.

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"There was this very thin clearish, metalicish looking film that wasn't so much a 'goo' as a separate kind of sheet."

This is the thermal pad. Have a look at ProLiant ML350 Generation 4 Server Maintenance and Service Guide (PDF) page 26

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I think your downvote on the previous "answer" you provided was because it didn't provide anything of value that nobody else had mentioned. +1 for this answer though. – Mark Henderson May 17 '10 at 4:19
Thank You for explicitly pointing this out, as I'm new to this site. I will comply in the future. – deploymonkey May 17 '10 at 4:32
All good. Sometimes it can take a while to get used to the way things are done around here. It's a bit different! – Mark Henderson May 17 '10 at 4:40

Yes, it's required and for HP heatsinks is normally pre-adhered to the heatsink, something's gone wrong with yours, I'd get onto HP immediately - don't try applying your own however.

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If I saw no heat sink compound on one HP server then I could say it might have been 'accidentally' left out but I purchased a second server and when I went to exchange CPUs guess what.... exactly the same, no 'goo' like I'm used to seeing between the processor and the heat sink for most other PCs I've performed surgery on. There was this very thin clearish, metalicish looking film that wasn't so much a 'goo' as a separate kind of sheet. – Golfman Apr 17 '10 at 11:36
Ah, that sounds odd, either they don't use a compound (I only really know the BL and DL range sorry) or it's a batch issue - I'd still call HP. I'm speaking at HP's Tech@Work thing in Frankfurt the week after next so I'll be able to ask one of the designers and come back to you. – Chopper3 Apr 17 '10 at 12:26

The purpose of heat sink compound is to fill in the microscopic gaps between the surface of the integrated circuit and the heatsink, not to serve as a primary heat conduit, since small air pockets between the surfaces can impede the transfer of heat between them.

Having said that, I would talk to HP and see if this is normal. It may be that they've accommodated for the thermal generation of the processor in their engineering... or maybe they just forgot to put it in.

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Certainly there is no problem with the processors overheating. The temperature seems to be a constant 45 celcius for one and 51 celcius for the other. Given that two separate ML350's that I looked at have the same setup with no 'goo' I imagine it was how they were designed. HP don't seem like the sort of company that would 'forget to put it in' :) – Golfman Apr 19 '10 at 3:59

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