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Thread: How to use thermal paste?

  1. #16
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    Many enthusiasts prefer to drop a pea-sized dollop of TIM right in the middle of the CPU and let the CPU cooler do the spreading. But you need to lower the cooler very carefully and evenly to achieve an even spread.
    I've always used an old credit card or spatula to smooth (a pea-sized dollop) into a thin film of paste evenly over the entire interface area leaving a margin of about 1-2mm on the outsides to avoid too much spill-over.
    As Cascade says, it's probably a good idea to reapply the thermal interface material after about a year or so of use, but I tend to replace it only when my thermal monitors start telling me that the CPU cooler isn't working as well as it did before.

  2. #17
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    You do realise that the recent reply was to a 10 year old thread, the post had a link, probably spam, that was removed by a moderator.

    I use no-nails to fix my processor to the MB, stops any movement.
    Thermal paste is to use inside long johns to stop them chafing, isn't it?
    Graham.


  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by euromodeller View Post
    You do realise that the recent reply was to a 10 year old thread, the post had a link, probably spam, that was removed by a moderator.

    I use no-nails to fix my processor to the MB, stops any movement.
    Thermal paste is to use inside long johns to stop them chafing, isn't it?
    I think that's why we're having a bit of fun with the thread.

    Yeah I think you're right. The difference though is the stuff used in longjohns has codliver oil in it too.

    Speaking of the real thermal paste, many years ago, 39 years ago last month to be exact, my first job was stuffing circuit boards. Being the guy in the department, I was tasked with installing the power supply transistors and mounting them on the heat sinks on to the boards. My hands would be covered with the white goop that we cleaned up with something called De-Sol. The cleaner smelled something like a combination of naptha and Freon. Besides cleaning it up with this stuff it makes me wonder now how much I also absorbed into my system, and it's no wonder I ended up with a Parkinson-like disease so many years later!
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    ...we cleaned up with something called De-Sol. The cleaner smelled something like a combination of naptha and Freon. Besides cleaning it up with this stuff it makes me wonder now how much I also absorbed into my system...!
    And how much of the ozone layer you personally destroyed!
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinorius_Redundicus View Post
    And how much of the ozone layer you personally destroyed!
    Good question. That was back in 1980 when we didn't think about that stuff and I was all of 19 too! When I moved up the corporate ladder and became a hardware technician, we used cans of "freeze spray" to check for thermal issues with components. Gallons upon gallons of Freon were released into the atmosphere then. This is no longer done, as far as I know, and canned CO2 is used instead.
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  6. #21
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    I prefer the * method: 4 thin lines criss-cross-wise. I just recently had to re-seat my cooler, due to CPU heating up after more overclocking. Found the old compound had dried up, and never even covered 1/3 of the CPU...

    Which brings up 2 other, related issues:

    1. Thermal Paste vs. Thermal Compound .. Paste is "glue", Compound is "not glue" .. Thermal Paste can cause the CPU to be pulled from the socket when trying to remove the cooler, where Compound does not "adhere" so grippy-like, and makes seperation much easier.

    2. Hone your Heatsink! The reason, I found, that my compound had not spread over one full third of the CPU is that the heatsink base was not FLAT. A few minutes of honing on a piece of 1000 grit wet/dry paper on a piece of glass, and my CPU now runs a cool 50*C under load ..compared to bluescreening at 70*C+ prior.
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  7. #22
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    I would not ever "hone" my heatsink base with sandpaper, ever

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingConrail76 View Post
    I prefer the * method: 4 thin lines criss-cross-wise. I just recently had to re-seat my cooler, due to CPU heating up after more overclocking. Found the old compound had dried up, and never even covered 1/3 of the CPU...

    Which brings up 2 other, related issues:

    1. Thermal Paste vs. Thermal Compound .. Paste is "glue", Compound is "not glue" .. Thermal Paste can cause the CPU to be pulled from the socket when trying to remove the cooler, where Compound does not "adhere" so grippy-like, and makes seperation much easier.

    2. Hone your Heatsink! The reason, I found, that my compound had not spread over one full third of the CPU is that the heatsink base was not FLAT. A few minutes of honing on a piece of 1000 grit wet/dry paper on a piece of glass, and my CPU now runs a cool 50*C under load ..compared to bluescreening at 70*C+ prior.
    That must've been one cheap heatsink. The ones I've used by Thermaltake and Cool Master have a mirror-like finish on them that doesn't need that kind of treatment.

    The terms paste and compound are used interchangeably for the most part. I think you are referring to the thermal tape, which is found on video cards and other permanently stuck deals such as some cheap computers. HP and E-Machines comes to mind. These have that problem where the tape will actually rip the CPU or GPU right off the circuit boards and destroy the motherboard in the process.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I dealt with a machine that a coworker gave me to look at because it kept blue-screening. I opened the case to find that somehow the clip that holds the heatsink to the CPU had come off and was dangling by the fan wires. I was quite surprised that for one the CPU didn't cook completely, and that the heatsink hadn't shorted out something else nearby.
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  9. #24
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    While I used to have to do this many years ago I have to say even with a MacBook Air I haven't done it since.
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  10. #25
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    I have my own method, as I just don't trust the round small pea size spreading out when the CPU is locked in place.

    I coat both the CPU chip, as well as the CPU cooler, with just a very fine scant coat of Arctic Silver Thermal Heat Sink Compound, then place a round ball, much smaller than a BB, and squish them together, and lock them down.

    I also use this method on my video card, but with microscopic amouts, as Silver thermal paste conducts electricity, and with ALL thermal paste, applying too much so that it squishes out, is way too much, and applying not enough, is not enough.

    I also am a firm believer that a a liquid cooler will eventually leak. And that a fan cooled CPU may not be enough air flow to dissipate CPU heat. So my sides panels of my desktop PC are permanently removed, and a small desk fan is aimed at the video card, and CPU cooler, making a constant fairly strong breeze, dissipating and blowing away all excess heat, as almost all desktop PC cases can in no way totally exhaust and remove heat efficiently from inside the desktop PC case, especially in summertime, or in a 75F hot room.
    Last edited by MP242; April 8th, 2020 at 05:25 PM.
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  11. #26
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    I'll just add a couple of items I came across recently. There is now a company making thermal pads. They are some sort of space age material that transfers heat more efficiently than paste. They are also reusable. They come sized for your CPU. Just lay them in place and mount the heat sink or fan. Best of all they are non-toxic.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Innovatio...xoCFWAQAvD_BwE

    To clean off old paste, nothing is better than good old isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip Then a blast of canned air to remove any fibers from the Q-tip. Or you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces clean.

    William
    Last edited by wreeder; April 8th, 2020 at 03:32 PM.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreeder View Post
    I'll just add a couple of items I came across recently. There is now a company making thermal pads. They are some sort of space age material that transfers heat more efficiently than paste. They are also reusable. They come sized for your CPU. Just lay them in place and mount the heat sink or fan. Best of all they are non-toxic.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Innovatio...xoCFWAQAvD_BwE

    To clean off old paste, nothing is better than good old isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip Then a blast of canned air to remove any fibers from the Q-tip. Or you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces clean.

    William
    That's a great find and they cost about the same as a snot-sized tube of goop.

    I sure won't miss the goop. Back in my younger times, I built circuit boards for a living. I was responsible for the power supplies and had the honors of gooping up voltage regulators and gigantic heat sinks. I still remember having more thermal compound on me than was on the actual parts.
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  13. #28
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    Yeah, I worked in the datacenter of an ISP for the last 4 years before I retired. Replacing fans was a regular part of the job. When a 2 U server with 4 CPUs would lose a fan, we would replace all the fans on the belief that the others were near failure too. I would scrub my hands after working with thermal paste. Scary stuff.

    William

  14. #29
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    Just like when one mess's with fertilizer, weed killer, or replaces ink, toner, or thermal paste, wear latex gloves, as thermal paste doesn't come off your hands easy
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  15. #30
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    Static electricity is not conducted through the gloves. But latex gloves will hold a charge and discharge when in contact with metal. Better to work with your bare hands than to use those gloves. Even if you are wearing a wrist strap to ground your body, the gloves can hold enough of a charge to zap a CPU or worse the mother board. Remember the trick of rubbing a latex balloon with a piece of wool until you built up a charge strong enough to attract your hair to the balloon?

    William
    Last edited by wreeder; April 9th, 2020 at 04:49 PM.

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