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Thermal Paste

stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
So, as a rather strong fan of gaming and technology, I have a decent understanding of the construction of a system. However, I have no idea about thermal paste. Can people give suggestions as to how much, and maybe let me know how long i need to have had the CPU before reapplying?

sorry if this is a stupid question, i know it helps with heat dispersal, but how crucial is it? and if my CPU is not getting full benefit from paste, am i likely to injure the CPU if I do not reapply quickly?

stopgap on
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Posts

  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Apply it according to the instructions given on the directions or manufacturer's web site. Believe it or not, you're supposed to put it on different ways depending on the brand and processor series (Intel's Core 2 processors had different application directions between dual and quad core parts).

    You don't reapply it unless you take the heat sink off of the processor, in which case you need to remove all of the old paste.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Thermal paste, generally speaking, is something you'll just apply once and not think about again... unless you happen to replace your CPU or heatsink for whatever reason. Just follow the directions carefully.

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  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Some people do the "credit card" method which is incredibly messy and risky but what you do is apply a pea sized amount and smooth it flat and incredibly thin with a credit card.

    Most people instead just use a slightly less than pea sized ball in the center and that is that.

    However, thanks to cpu heatsinks getting more and more varied, definitely check out the instructions and follow them closely.

  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Specifically how thermal paste works is pretty awesome. It helps with transferring heat from the CPU by filling in all the little microscopic impurities in the heatsink's surface. There are methods to refining this surface to allow for the best possible heat transference possible, but it's generally regarded as unnecessary unless you're overclocking with air cooling at levels that you should probably be investing in liquid cooling.

    The generally used method is just a pea-sized dot of it spread around evenly with a credit card, but as Barrakketh said, it varies based on processor. It makes more sense to have the paste applied around the spots that generate the most heat, and those application guides tell you how to do that.

  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited April 2010
    If you can't find the recommendations for your particular CPU, I've found the least risky method is to apply a bit about the size of a grain of rice, or maybe a BB, and situate the heat sync. The sync will spread it around fairly evenly, and you won't have to worry too much about small airbubbles forming in it.

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  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    travathian wrote: »
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

    True but I wouldn't use their thermal paste.

    SEGA
    p561852.jpg
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    travathian wrote: »
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

    True but I wouldn't use their thermal paste.

    It's actually a wax.

  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    travathian wrote: »
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

    True but I wouldn't use their thermal paste.

    It's actually a wax.

    That doesn't sound good.

    SEGA
    p561852.jpg
  • RynaRyna Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Anybody seen or had any experience with Indigo Xtreme™

  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    Ryna wrote: »
    Anybody seen or had any experience with Indigo Xtreme™

    Nope. How much is it

    SEGA
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  • RynaRyna Registered User
    edited April 2010
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    Ryna wrote: »
    Anybody seen or had any experience with Indigo Xtreme™

    Nope. How much is it

    Cheap. 2 pack for $26 Australian, probably just over US$20.

  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Go here, Arctic Silver instructions.

    Same thing applies for any brand.

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  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    travathian wrote: »
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

    True but I wouldn't use their thermal paste.

    It's actually a wax.

    That doesn't sound good.

    Yeah, it is wax. The two biggest fucking processor manufacturer's in the world use wax to thermodynamically bind their chips to the heatsink. Right, because processors don't get hot enough to, you know, melt wax and cause it to run right? Let me check the bottom of my case. Hmmm, no pool of wax at the bottom. Maybe it is magic wax then?

    Intel and AMD both sell a metric fuckton of retail processor kits. You think they are gonna spend all that money on a processor and then skimp on $0.10 worth of heat sink compound? A huge number of manufactured computers use retail kits and they somehow all work fine.

    But yeah, keep spreading the stupid.

    edit: For further proof of how stupid it is to scrape off the compound on a retail HSF and replace it with some pricey shit. Click the link above and check out the chart. Their new super duper compound comparison against other brands. On an i7 920, overclocked from 2.66 to 4.2 MHz, all of the brands are within THREE freakin degrees of each other. Less than a 5% benefit in core temperature lowering ability. So yeah, feel free to throw money away at something that does practically nothing.

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    If you're using the stock heat sink you don't have to worry about anything. Thermal paste comes pre applied. And yes it is thermal paste and not wax unless they use a special wax that looks just like thermal paste.

    If you want to see how the different brands compare than read this:
    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article/2009/04/07/thermal_paste_shootout_q209/

    What CPU & cooler are you using?

  • stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I am using an AMD phenom II X940 quad-core 3.0 ghz processor. in not sure how to describe the heat sink, but it came with the processor, has about 2 or 3 inches of metal vanes straight up before reaching the fan. came stock. but i don't think im having issues. Just trying to determine if i SHOULD worry, as my hard drive is having issues, and so is my Gfx card.

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  • EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    travathian wrote: »
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    EliteLamer wrote: »
    travathian wrote: »
    If you buy a retail processor the HSF will have a thermal paste applied to it already, you just peel off the plastic cover and install the HSF.

    True but I wouldn't use their thermal paste.

    It's actually a wax.

    That doesn't sound good.

    Yeah, it is wax. The two biggest fucking processor manufacturer's in the world use wax to thermodynamically bind their chips to the heatsink. Right, because processors don't get hot enough to, you know, melt wax and cause it to run right? Let me check the bottom of my case. Hmmm, no pool of wax at the bottom. Maybe it is magic wax then?

    Intel and AMD both sell a metric fuckton of retail processor kits. You think they are gonna spend all that money on a processor and then skimp on $0.10 worth of heat sink compound? A huge number of manufactured computers use retail kits and they somehow all work fine.

    But yeah, keep spreading the stupid.

    edit: For further proof of how stupid it is to scrape off the compound on a retail HSF and replace it with some pricey shit. Click the link above and check out the chart. Their new super duper compound comparison against other brands. On an i7 920, overclocked from 2.66 to 4.2 MHz, all of the brands are within THREE freakin degrees of each other. Less than a 5% benefit in core temperature lowering ability. So yeah, feel free to throw money away at something that does practically nothing.


    I always buy OEM cpus that don't come with a fan so I have never scrapped off their shit and put artic silver.

    SEGA
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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    stopgap wrote: »
    I am using an AMD phenom II X940 quad-core 3.0 ghz processor. in not sure how to describe the heat sink, but it came with the processor, has about 2 or 3 inches of metal vanes straight up before reaching the fan. came stock. but i don't think im having issues. Just trying to determine if i SHOULD worry, as my hard drive is having issues, and so is my Gfx card.

    I would say thermal paste is not your issue and you need to take a look at your case's ventilation. Tie your cables against the side/top/bottom of the case and free up all the space you can for air to flow. Make sure all your fans are working. Have a fan in the front? If not, buy one and make it face inward so it pushes air into the case (to be blown out by the rear and power supply fans). This will, at the least, help your hard drive heat issues, if not both.

    This is also a great time for a can of compressed air, if you haven't done so recently. Open up the case and blow the fuck out of the heat sinks, fans, and vents (unplug the computer first).

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    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    so... i have only 1 fan from the power supply. the sink has a fan, as does the gfx card, im leaving the side of my computer case open for now. (so i need 2 more fans?) The hard drive is just dying. im going to replace it. the graphics in games right now are having truly magnificent artifacting issues. Wierd textures for all sorts of games. would that be the hard drive or the graphics card?

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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    stopgap wrote: »
    so... i have only 1 fan from the power supply. the sink has a fan, as does the gfx card, im leaving the side of my computer case open for now. (so i need 2 more fans?) The hard drive is just dying. im going to replace it. the graphics in games right now are having truly magnificent artifacting issues. Wierd textures for all sorts of games. would that be the hard drive or the graphics card?

    Artifacing is generally the video card... it's evidence of the card either heating up, or having other issues rendering the game. Like I said, blow the hell out of the heat sink and fan on it with compressed air. If your hard drive is fucked, it's fucked... get the data off of it and onto a new drive ASAP. And yes, I always recommend a case fan in the front blowing air in. It creates more flow, and gets more cool air moving over the hard drive (and everything else). A 120mm fan for the rear is great too, if you have a space for it. Just make sure the front is blowing in, and the rear is blowing out. Doing either in the opposite way is a bad day.

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    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    um can the front fan be a side fan? cause, thats kinda the only option i think this case has.

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  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    A single fan in the PSU isn't nearly enough airflow for a gaming system. First order would be to clean it out thoroughly and do cable management as Shadowfire mentioned. This goes a long ways towards improving airflow. You really do need a fan at the back of the chassis near the HSF, and maybe one up front too, though normally one good rear fan is enough for most systems. Also keep in mind that the fans on the CPU and GPU only draw heat away from those components, so without proper system cooling you are just pushing around warm air.

    Maybe you should post a picture of your chassis or provide the make/model for more tailored information.

  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I've used the thermal pad that comes with the processor for as long as processors have come with heat sinks, and have never had a processor go nuclear on me. Worrying about the heat sink and the thermal goo only makes sense when you take the processor out of the manufacturer's tested specifications.

    Basically, if you don't overclock, don't worry about it.

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    stopgap wrote: »
    um can the front fan be a side fan? cause, thats kinda the only option i think this case has.

    Would you be able to tell us what case you have?

    And yes a fan blowing in from the side is better than nothing. Do you know what size fan is uses? Because those are usually 80mm.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    xzzy wrote: »
    I've used the thermal pad that comes with the processor for as long as processors have come with heat sinks, and have never had a processor go nuclear on me. Worrying about the heat sink and the thermal goo only makes sense when you take the processor out of the manufacturer's tested specifications.

    Basically, if you don't overclock, don't worry about it.

    Plus, if this message board is any indication, you run the risk of destroying shit.

    Those thermal pads are great.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Make sure when you blow out your fans and heatsinks with canned air you immobilize the fan blades. If you blow air in them like that and spin them up you can damage the bearings and they won't last as long as they should.

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  • stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    basically this is a craptastic case, to small for what i need it to do. however, money is more than a bit of an issue right now. I have 240 dollars i can use, and i need to decide what is most important. I need to upgrade my ram (have 2gigs) I NEED a new HD (my 500gb WD is shot), I want Windows Seven, and or a new video card.

    I was thinking to get the ram and HD first, see if it fixes the graphics issue, then get either a new card or win7. I am going to ask a friend for assistance, maybe he can help with the computer cooling issue?

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    You need to fix what's about to break first. In order of priority, I'd go:

    HD
    Vidcard
    Win7
    RAM

    If you and your friend can work some magic on the vidcard for the time being, grab Win7 Home. Basically, make sure you can get yourself to a stable setup before you look to upgrade.

    Luckily for you, Vidcards and HDs are dropping in price lately. Some examples:

    WD Caviar Green 750GB for $70 + Free Shipping [Newegg]

    Radeon HD 5670 for $100 + Free Shipping [Newegg]


    Obviously, you can play around with your options and ideas. Everyone has their favorite site. I've built a half dozen computers from Newegg parts and all of them are still working great. Newegg also has superb customer service.

    Poke around their cases as well. You may find something you like for a good price. You can post links here if you want help.


    A few things:

    -- If you and your friend feel confident enough in your abilities or don't mind a little risk, you can add an aftermarket heatsink to the video card (assuming it isn't fried already). When you check the card, look for blown capacitors or any areas of possible overheating. Check the heat on the VRAM chips as well.

    -- Letting fans spin while you blow them down will not burn out the bearings.

    -- Arctic Silver used to recommend using a rice-sized glob in the middle of the proc, smoothed with a razor blade across the heat spreader. Recently (the last 2 years or so), they changed their recommendation to just "grain of rice sized glob in the middle, plunk down the heatsink, go."

    -- I recommend you read through a few tutorials on "Build Your Own PC" to give some general knowledge on how to put a computer together and how all the components work with each other. Most of those guides will also discuss airflow. Tom's Hardware and MaximumPC both have very good tutorials.

    -- Also, please visit the computer section on www.howstuffworks.com and look to educate yourself as much as possible. The more you know about how computer components work (you don't have to get into the weeds), the better consumer and computer user you will become.

  • stopgapstopgap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    im only running with 2 gb of ram... so i have a certain desire for a slightly more impressive amount. I agree with hd first. and vidcard second.

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