Model A1174 with 2 GHz Core Duo or Model A1207 with 2.16 or 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo

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From which side must the GPU heat sink be removed?

I'm investigating how to repair this A1174 model iMac of my parents and already have had it taken apart up to the main board.

There must have been a lot of these sold and surely there is a lot of information about it and that the GPU overheating is it's mosts common flaw. Still, I can't find anything about the big, square, aluminium heat sink on the lower front of the main board, with the large spikes.

Does this front heat sink have thermal compound that might need refreshing? And how to I loosen it?

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The heat sink you are talking about is the bridge logic chip. It does not get as hot as the CPU or GPU so it does not need fan's to actively cool it. You shouldn't need to worry about it here.

Cleaning and re-applying a good grade of thermal paste on the CPU & GPU's should be all thats needed.

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