Thermal paste - your method?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by saguran, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. saguran

    saguran Active Member

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    Sup guys,

    I will be getting me computer in a couple of days. This will be my first one with a custom heat sink so I will have to apply the thermal paste myself. I've been researching on the internet the best way to do this. Methods that came up most:

    BB sized drop in middle
    Rice grain in middle
    Line method
    X method
    Double line method
    Coating whole surface with thin layer

    From the majority of stuff I read, it seems that the bb sized drop in the middle is the most preferred, or the coating of the whole surface with a thin layer. My problem with the small size drop is that after the cooler is applied, the surface area of the paste tends to be round, so I won't be covering the whole CPU? This would work perfectly if the heat sink was round but I'm getting the Zalman CNPS 9900 Max which has a square heatsink.

    What method do you normally use?

    Thanks
    saguran
     
  2. Shadowjump

    Shadowjump Member

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    I ve always used the whole surface method with no problems at all. When i used te Rice/BB in middle I could never get the paste to cover the whole CPU, not matter the pressure and twists I did at the heatsink.

    My method is not exactly thin layer, I just take Arctic Silver and start taping around the processor with just a hint of arctic silver with each tap. It takes around 30-40 taps to cover the CPU.

    After that, I fit the heatsink, do a few twists, lift it, see that the paste is evenly spread and read for action. This way you wont need something to spread the paste. (too much paste left on the tool used for the spreading, which means paste wasted!)
     
  3. Pill Monster

    Pill Monster Banned

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    ^The paste doesn't need to cover the whole area....and it spreads flat when you screw down the heatsink.



    I use BB in the middle.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  4. automaticman

    automaticman Master Guru

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    It's also going to depend on what kind of mounting surface your cooler has and how think the paste you are using is.

    For example, I don't recommend using the BB method with heat pipe direct contact style coolers because they usually have small gaps between the pipes that the paste won't spread past.

    Some of the thickest pastes don't spread all that well and work better with alternate methods.

    Google some thermal paste round-ups, the better ones usually show how the pastes spread with different mounting methods..

    These two reviews of your cooler show both the BB and thin spread type applications:

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/zalman-cnps-9900-max-review/5

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zalman/CNPS9900_MAX/4.html
     

  5. saguran

    saguran Active Member

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    Cool thanks for the replies guys. I'm leaning more towards the thin spread method. I just want to get it right first time without lifting the heat sink, because I've read that this introduces air bubbles.
     
  6. saguran

    saguran Active Member

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    The Guru3d review sure looks like it has a lot of thermal paste on and some of it is on the side of the CPU and the CPU cage. Reading have suggested that this is not recommended because the thermal paste is conductive. Will it actually short out something?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  7. automaticman

    automaticman Master Guru

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    Yeah I noticed they really made a mess of it. In theory, most of the thermal pastes are supposed to be non-conductive, but that install just looks like it's asking for trouble.

    As a rule of thumb, you need less than you think you will. It will spread to a very thin layer, and too much can hurts temps just as much as not enough.
     
  8. Anubis

    Anubis Ancient Guru

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    I make a drop in the middle, install the heatsink.
    Then I remove it, to check how it spread, and if the applied amount isn't too much.
    If it's fine, I clean both, make another drop, install HS and leave it that way..
     
  9. alanm

    alanm Ancient Guru

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    With mirror finish heat sinks, small, less than pea size drop in middle. It spreads in a circle to cover the cores. Doesnt need to cover all 4 corners. If HS has direct touch heat pipes, you will need to apply more paste.
     
  10. hallryu

    hallryu Don Altobello

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    Depends on the paste. I'm using IC Diamond24 atm and the recommended application is a pea sized blob. This stuff is quite viscous so I didn't try a spreading method, as it recommended not to.
     

  11. WhiteLightning

    WhiteLightning Don Illuminati Staff Member

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    im coating whole the surface with thin layer with a credit card.
     
  12. burebista

    burebista Ancient Guru

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    ^^This.
    Rice grain in middle works too but I prefer coating the surface.
     
  13. Pill Monster

    Pill Monster Banned

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    So which works better....Visa or MasterCard?

    lol
     
  14. Veteran

    Veteran Ancient Guru

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    Coating whole surface with a thin layer using a card,i have done this for many many years,no problems at all.
     
  15. k1net1cs

    k1net1cs Ancient Guru

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    Visa.
    For everything else, there's MasterCard.

    Anyway, I always spread it thin, since the paste I use is quite thick, as in having a rather high viscosity; it's a Zalman STG1.
    From what I've read elsewhere, pastes that are more fluid should be used with the 'BB/drop in the middle' method.
     

  16. jaydeee

    jaydeee Active Member

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    "thin layer all over it" works to me.
    My idea is that, I need to physically see/know that the area is properly covered.
     
  17. Mineria

    Mineria Ancient Guru

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    Using the exact same method what ever it has the name Artic Silver, Diamond or MX-4.
    Thin layer with max thickness of a regular fingernail (not my dads).
    Even fluid pastes should be spread if you want to avoid insulation and adding to much so that paste is getting over the CPU/GPU edge.
     
  18. IAmGhostDog

    IAmGhostDog Maha Guru

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    Rice grain/BB in middle
    Single edge razor to spread.
     
  19. MrH

    MrH Ancient Guru

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    I've always used the "thin layer" method, never had any issues.
     
  20. BetA

    BetA Ancient Guru

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    i found this here some years back..very good explained and and picture shown the diff between the ways to do it...

    this is how i use it on my HDT cooler..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (pictures taken from ******************com)

    Here are also other coolers explained like: Square-Base Application and Round Surface Application.


    -BetA-

    edit: aahhww, crap. seems that site isnt allowed lool...its here:

    its the first result. lol..
     

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