Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Thermal paste - Method? Too little, too much? My Answers

  1. #1

    Posts : 187
    Windows 8 64 bit

    Thermal paste - Method? Too little, too much? My Answers

    I had to replace the thermal paste on my CPU recently and I did it myself to save cash.

    I would like to share a tip no one is talking about. It's something I discovered by trial and error.

    The Big Debate as some of you will know is - How much paste should you use and what is the best method for applying the paste?

    People might say the dot method is best or the spread method. Most folks say use just a tiny thin amount - even so thin you can read the CPU's serial numbers through it.

    Both are WRONG because you will Never Know until you examine your CPU die and Heat Sink as I discovered.

    What you are looking for is the dispersal pattern of the precious thermal paste job. This combined with applying the paste not once but Twice the first time you replace it, will tell you the facts you need to know.

    Examine this picture of the first thermal paste job I did a week ago.
    Click image for larger version

    This is the dispersal pattern of the paste from both the CPU and the heat sink that was on top of the CPU. As you can see, my very thin first time job did not cover the entire CPU die or heat sink. People may assume that when they tighten the heat sink, this will further flatten the paste causing it to cover all areas of the die - this is not always true as i found out.

    Looking at the heat sink I can tell the copper of the heat sink is bent / bowed in the middle and therefore that middle needs more paste than the ends do. I applied the paste again much thicker and thicker in the middle - this caused my temps to shoot down because I know I'm covering the whole die and heat sink now.

    How I do it:

    I suggest looking at the pattern of the factory job when you first take off the heat sink. Take pictures if you need to. Remember to compare both heat sink and CPU die for the pattern. Clean it off, and try your first paste job and tighten the screws. Use the PC for a few hours while watching the temps. Next, remove the heat sink again and look at the dispersal pattern for the paste job you just did. Did it cover all the die and heat sink? Does it cover better than the factory job did? You may have to reapply a few times to get it right but using the dispersal pattern will give you the best clues on how you should proceed.

    I hope you find this tip helpful. Best Wishes!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    First thing to check is flatness of the cooler base and processor itself. They can warp after running hot long time. That one of yours looks like it's warped if you applied paste over whole CPU surface. I would take it out and carefully sand it using very fine wet sandpaper on a piece of flat glass. No amount of paste can replace good contact.
    You don't even have to install cooler on the processor, apply thin layer of paste and press it on a flat glass, check from the other side of glass how it's spread. In the machine trade we use paste called "Prussian Blue" to coat one side of the part and press it on the other and check contact surface.
    For really good job when trying to cool overclocked components, both, bottom of the cooler AND the processor, we lap them by using progressively finer vet sandpaper up to 3000 grain until completely shiny and flat. Using as small amount of good paste as possible temperature can be lowered by 10c or even more.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Thermal paste - Method? Too little, too much? My Answers
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