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Thermal paste on CPU

Posted on 2013-02-04
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Last Modified: 2013-02-17
Question on the thermal paste. I am a first time PC builder and I see many videos on Youtube concerning the thermal paste. Some says you need to spread the paste on the CPU before mounting the heasink. Others say that you just need to drop like a grain of rice shape in the middle of the CPU and mount the heatsink on top. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who can I trust?

I am building a PC with an i7 Intel CPU 1155 3300K.

Thanks
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Question by:biggynet
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13 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:alienvoice
ID: 38853668
Oh this will be fun. ;)

I tend to add about 1 ml of thermal paste on on the cpu and leave heat sink as is. I've have no issues.

Await for the other opinions! hehe
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
Rob Miners earned 84 total points
ID: 38853670
If you are using Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound, instructions for its application can be found here.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.html#
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Author Comment

by:biggynet
ID: 38853692
I bought Arctic Silver 5 as well and I am glad that I ask this question because I don't know who to trust for the paste. But now I have documentation that I can rely on. Thanks
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:terencino
ID: 38853721
I better get me some of that Arctic Silver. I cleaned the thermal paste off my CPUs when I switched them over, thinking I would reapply it but I didn't have any thermal paste around so just put it back in anyway. That was about a year ago....
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LVL 48

Assisted Solution

by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 84 total points
ID: 38853837
You'll get all sorts of answers for this.

But the first rule is to use a minimum of paste, never use an excess.

Generally I use a small pea blob and smear it over the surface using a piece of plastic.
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LVL 62

Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 83 total points
ID: 38853882
Yep, technique doesn't much matter, the idea is that you get a good contact between the CPU and heatsink over the whole area of the processor's body.

Modern pastes are not electrically conductive so although you shouldn't get paste over the edge of the chip it doesn't matter as much as it used to!  It's all about getting the best contact between the two surfaces using something that conducts the processor heat away as efficiently as possible.  A good heatsink & mount will squash the paste into a really thin layer without you having to do much.
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 83 total points
ID: 38854006
imo - you can use both methods - the blob, or smearing
pro's and con's :
-smearing puts the paste over the whole cpu, ensuring it is there
-blob does the same if you put the heatsink perpendicular on the cpu; if you keep it tilted a bit, it will spread out only to the open direction

so my preference is smearing

note that you need a tiny bit only; it's purpose is only to fill the microscopic air gaps to ensure better conduction
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:JohnnyCanuck
JohnnyCanuck earned 83 total points
ID: 38854069
For me it depends on processor - see the picture.
thermalpaste.jpg
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38854584
i would still spread iit over both - see my post above for the reason
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Scott C
Scott C earned 83 total points
ID: 38854830
I too put a thin film spread over the entire CPU making sure not to slop any over the edges.
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Author Comment

by:biggynet
ID: 38855210
So... In conclusion, spreading a thin layer on top of the CPU is the best way to go... Agree?
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 38855218
That seems to be the consensus.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38855541
i use it always, so obviously i agree also
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