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Applied thermal grease wrong??

grey.opticsgrey.optics Registered User
So, bit of a noob, here. Working on building my first computer. I made the mistake of not smoothing out the thermal grease at all. I have yet to boot up the computer even once -- still attaching a few things here and there. Anyway, I'm working on it at work, so I applied the thermal grease on Thursday, and just today I realized that I did it wrong. Since I haven't booted it up or anything, is it too late to remove the heat sink and smooth it all out?

Ahh really messed this one up.I'm hoping that I don't need to wipe it off completely and start with new grease, but I'm not sure...Hopefully you guys can give me some hope!

Thanks a lot!

grey.optics on

Posts

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Certainly no harm should have been done if the computer has never been turned on in any case.

    How exactly did you apply the paste? And are we talking about the paste on the CPU cap, or on the heat sinks? For products such as Arctic Silver, at least with some kinds of CPUs, they actually recommend just doing a center dot or line down the middle of the cap and then putting the heat sink on top of it and letting the weight of the sink flatten and spread the paste across the cap.

    Now if you're talking about putting the paste on the heat sink, on that you do want just a very thin tint, enough to fill in the gaps between the heat pipes if you have a cooler with exposed ones and not much more.

    Anyway, if you're in doubt, just wipe off all of the paste with rubbing alcohol, it's not a big deal. Then find out for sure the proper way to apply the paste for your CPU and cooler type, and start over.

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  • grey.opticsgrey.optics Registered User
    I'm referring to the paste I applied directly onto the CPU. I basically just globbed it on over the entire thing, sort of smearing it around with the tip of the applicator. :( So bad, I know.

    I'm wondering if I can just remove the CPU cooler at this point, and smear it all evenly, very thinly, with a credit card, or if I really ought to start from scratch.

    Thanks so much for the help.

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    I'm referring to the paste I applied directly onto the CPU. I basically just globbed it on over the entire thing, sort of smearing it around with the tip of the applicator. :( So bad, I know.

    I'm wondering if I can just remove the CPU cooler at this point, and smear it all evenly, very thinly, with a credit card, or if I really ought to start from scratch.

    Thanks so much for the help.

    you've put too much on, that will actually inhibit heat transfer and lead to higher cpu temps. The point of thermal grease is just to fill in the very tiny imperfections in the heatsink to get a good transfer from the cpu to it.

    Get some isopropal alcohol and a q-tip and clean the cpu off completely. Than go to the manufacturers website of the thermal grease you have and look at what they reccomend, or just use these from artic silver as it's pretty much the same for any grease. http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html

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  • grey.opticsgrey.optics Registered User
    edited October 2012
    Ah, is it really hopeless to just smooth it out without having to clean and reapply?

    I'd really like to avoid that route at all costs if possible... But if I do in fact have to start over, would any stores carry thermal grease or would I have to order it online?

    grey.optics on
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Ah, is it really hopeless to just smooth it out without having to clean and reapply?

    I'd really like to avoid that route at all costs if possible... But if I do in fact have to start over, would any stores carry thermal grease or would I have to order it online?

    You've got to clean it off. But really, if you've never turned it on it'll come off easy.

    You should be able to get some compound at a big electronics store like Fry's, maybe at like a Best Buy, too.
    You should also be able to score some at a computer repair shop, they usually sell hardware on the side.

    (also, all the cool kids clean their heatsinks with everclear :P )

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  • proyebatproyebat Registered User regular
    Next time add an amount less than a grain of rice to the center and let the heatsink clamping against the CPU spread the paste.

    This picture is a ballpark estimate of what should be put on the CPU:
    uTh2J.jpg
    Actually a little less is preferred

    455Bo4O.png
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Depending on your spreading method, I would actually put a tad more on, because some is going to come off in the smoothing. I use the business card method personally, to get a smooth, even apply across the entire heat plate of the CPU. I would say 20-30% of the material comes off in the smoothing process.

    You can also just do the dollop in the middle and let seating the heatsink spread it around method, but I like to do it with a little more attention to detail than that.

    Also, isopropyl alcohol and a cloth will take the goop off very easy.

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  • Mr RayMr Ray Sarcasm sphereRegistered User regular
    Wow. Maybe this is where my overheating problems are coming from. I basically slathered the stuff on like mayonnaise.

    Space.
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Mr Ray wrote: »
    Wow. Maybe this is where my overheating problems are coming from. I basically slathered the stuff on like mayonnaise.

    Delicious but a poor conductor of heat.

  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    I probably do this a few times a week, always same method - Small dollop like picture above, apply heatsink and let it spread out on its own. Never had any problems.

    BestBuy does carry thermal compound, but it is runny compared to Arctic Silver so be careful.

  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    On the other hand, I always used the "Spread a very thin layer of thermal compound over the entire surface" method and it also worked very well. And I live in Brazil, where it's hot a lot. Both methods are perfectly fine, as long as you only use a very small amount of goop. The smallest possible amount, actually. The goo is meant to fill only the microscopic concavities and flaws on the two surfaces, it's a lot less efficient than the metal itself at transferring heat.

    As for cleaning, I always just used a kleenex. But I never had the compound harden on my machines, they're always still gooey even after 1 year, so it's easy to clean.

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