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Correct method for applying thermal paste?

#1 ITDEFX   My foot itches..must be athlete's foot CAGiversary!   17256 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 06:23 AM

Does anyone know how to correctly apply thermal paste on top of a CPU?

I have been seeing/reading various methods and here is what I found.

-put a small dab in the center of the cpu then put the heatsink on top.

-apply a fair amount in an X on top of the cpu

-cover the entire cpu top with the paste.

Which is recommended?

My situation, Core 2 Quad 2.5ghz with 9500 Zalman cooler.

PS-is it bad if a bit *spills* over to the motherboard?

#2 Richlough   ... CAGiversary!   3738 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 06:55 AM

I use a BB [like BB gun] sized amount , and spread it on evenly like I'm frosting a cake . Using some thin cardboard or stiff paper , a subscription card works great . Tear off a small section and just fold it so it's the desired stiffness .


Edited by Richlough, 09 October 2008 - 06:57 AM.
added more

#3 SOSTrooper   θ = fractional occupancy CAGiversary!   2739 Posts   Joined 14.8 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 07:05 AM

It depends on your compound and the container it is in. Generally for compound stored in a tube (like the needle shaped), you can put a dab about the size of a PS2 controller button. You don't really need to spread it because the pressure of the CPU fan will automatically spread the paste over the entire surface once you mount it in. For the Zalman thermal paste, they use a paint brush-like tool to apply the thermal paste, so for that you can easily 'paint' the surface with a thin layer. Don't paint the entire surface, maybe a 60% - 70% coverage is good enough, because again, the CPU fan will spread it once you mount it in.

In cases where you applied way too much and its spilling over the CPU and perhaps even onto the motherboard, it won't kill anything. It's best to just leave it rather than unmounting the CPU fan and cleaning the extra paste off. It's just messy when you do decide to replace the CPU or the fan.

#4 SuxoR   What choice did I have? CAGiversary!   670 Posts   Joined 10.6 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:30 AM

If you are still having trouble there are tons of videos on Youtube you can use to help yourself out :]

#5 Jest   Take this! CAGiversary!   1863 Posts   Joined 12.1 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:18 AM

You should look up what the manufacturer recommends. Putting too much on could actually cause the CPU to be hotter than what it could be.

I assume you are using an Arctic Silver product. This is where you need to go. WHen I did it on my C2Q they recomended a thin straight line horizontally across the CPU with AS5. http://www.arcticsil...nstructions.htm

#6 Richard Longfellow   Mr. Warmth CAGiversary!   1398 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

Richard Longfellow

Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:07 PM

I usually spread it evenly, to the thickness of being nearly transparent. Just a few millimeters thickness is all you need to fill the microscopic valleys (air pockets) of imperfect machining between the CPU and heatsink. That's all the stuff needs to do.

#7 eswat   Kill many bear CAGiversary!   2344 Posts   Joined 11.3 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:35 PM

I did what's recommended on the Arctic Silver site: A thin strip in the direction that's appropriate for your CPU.

#8 xycury   there is only one CAGiversary!   4503 Posts   Joined 12.8 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:33 PM

AS holds better under heat and the white stuff tends to run on high heat....

For AS, I've just did a thin layer and leave a small border uncovered for push, all of the heatsink that is going to touch the other heatsink should be covered to fill gaps and to transfer heat as much as possible, leaving anything bare will create a pocket of hot air and that's bad.

Any thermal paste should be conductive netrual, but AS warns against conductivity for the right reasons. That's why it is need of some concern to only use what you need.

With the newer processors, there is alot of area to cover and one only needs about 1mm of thermal paste to layer it.

And do it right the first time, get's messy if you have to remove it for some reason.

#9 speedshutters   CAG Veteran CAG Veteran   38 Posts   Joined 13.4 Years Ago  


Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:25 PM

-put a small dab in the center of the cpu then put the heatsink on top.

I use that method, then I twist the heatsink around to help spread it out and get rid of any air bubbles.

#10 ITDEFX   My foot itches..must be athlete's foot CAGiversary!   17256 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 09:52 PM

this is what happened after I applied a layer of Thermal paste that came with the unit when I got my system 2 weeks ago.


I went to microcenter and thankfully the cashier caught that I was actually buying Artic Silver THERMAL ADHESIVE. They were completely out of the Artic Silver.
So I bought this


they said it's just as good.

Also just got the system back so I will be installing shortly.

just found this

does that sound good?

Edited by ITDEFX, 09 October 2008 - 10:03 PM.

#11 Clarke   The Pretender CAGiversary!   472 Posts   Joined 11.0 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:15 PM

Plastic bag, credit card, whatever. Personally I use my bare finger so I can have more control over how I spread it.

#12 Kyo   a.k.a. Phoom CAGiversary!   344 Posts   Joined 14.1 Years Ago  

Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:30 PM

I used to put in a star, as in I make a thin line that resembles the plus sign, then a diagonal slash left and right.

#13 ITDEFX   My foot itches..must be athlete's foot CAGiversary!   17256 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:30 AM

Ok, the thermal paste is on and the cooler locked in. The MB is now in the case and I am taking a short break as the gloves I was wearing where making my hands too sweaty.