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Properly Applying Thermal Gel


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#1 grendelvamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:59 PM

I am installing a new cpu and motherboard on Monday, when it arrives. I also bought some OCZ Ultra 5+ Silver Thermal Compound for installing the heatsink. I'm sure that the fan with have the preapplied thermal paste since it's coming with the fan. I will probably clean it off and use this silver paste instead. I was curious if I should spread it myself or allow the pressure of the heatsink to spread it. I am an avid gamer so the cpu will be stressed quite often. Also b/c of the silver content I am really worried about not over-applying the compound and having it ooze out. How much is enough? I will be applying it on a am2 cpu.

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 02:12 PM

It's hard to describe how much to use, other than it's a lot less than one would think. When you place the heatsink on the processor, it will do the spreading for you (some people do spread it though). If it doesn't, then your fan isn't seated properly. The thermal paste is just meant to fill any irregularities between the CPU and the heatsink. I guess the best description is about the diameter of a medium sized pea. When you place the heatsink down on your cpu, use slow firm pressure to allow the grease to spread, and to not stress the CPU. If you use too little paste, your system will shut itself down, so not a huge issue. If you put too much thermal paste on, and it oozes over the sides, it is possible to create shorts that can do irreparable damage to your system.

After you get your system going, boot into the bios and monitor the temp from there for a few minutes. I'm reasonably sure all boards have the capability to monitor cpu temp by now.

#3 grendelvamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 02:47 PM

will the entire cpu be covered with the past after applying the heatsink?

#4 groovicus

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:06 PM

Do you mean from using that amount of paste, or from allowing the heatsink to spread the grease?

#5 grendelvamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:43 PM

I mean from allowinng the heatsing to spread the grease. should any of the cpu be free of coverage?

#6 garmanma

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:45 PM

I spread it out with a small square of cardboard. I also lap my heatsinks. It may be overkill, but the surface is nice and smooth
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#7 groovicus

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:08 PM

No it does not completely cover the cpu.

If it makes you feel better, completely coat everything. There is no right way, or correct amount. If it transfers the heat and does not squirt out on the sides, then it is perfect.

Look at this, maybe it will help:
http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/appinstruc...lecore_wcap.pdf

#8 grendelvamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 05:28 PM

Thanks groovicus, that link helped a lot. I'll repost on Monday and let everyone how everything went.

Thanks again.

#9 Sterling14

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 05:42 PM

How I spread mine, which decreased my temperature by so much is to put a little on. Then spread it over the processor evenly with my finger. This way you can actually feel when you have a good amount on. I kept smoothing it over the processor and a lot came off on my finger, so I just wiped my finger and continued. Eventually the whole processor was covered, and I could feel the metal on the processor, but couldn't see it. I thought this would be the right amount, and now my processor usually idles at a lower temperature then my hard drive! This is just my way, and theres probably many other better ways. this also got my finger kind of messy, but if you wipe the paste off of your finger right after it comes off pretty well.
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#10 dc3

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:19 PM

If you look at the CPU from the top you will see a square metal area, this is the heat spreader and is where you apply the thermal compound. The best description that I've heard for the amount to use is a about the size of a piece of rice. You only want the compound on the heat spreader and the heat sink where they mate.

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#11 usasma

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:05 AM

I usually suggest using grease equivalent to about 1/2 the size of a grain of rice. The issue here is that too much will cause you a lot of problems.

I generally spread it out as thin as I can with my finger tip (then try and remove it from my finger tip! :thumbsup: This thin layer is adequate to maintain contact (since the surfaces are nearly flat anyway) and doesn't leave a lot to slop out over the sides.
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