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  1. #1
    ROG Enthusiast Array JTTRI's Avatar
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    Proper Thermal Paste Application

    Hello ROG community,

    I performed a few searches on the forums for any posts on thermal paste application but found quite the mixture of opinions. Several of the ROG articles offer the application method of applying a small dab and then using an old credit card/un-wanted business card/finger (wrapped in plastic) to smooth it out. An additional method I have read is the "pea drop" method in which you place a small pea sized amount of thermal paste (5mmx5mm) onto the CPU and let the pressure of the cooler application and heat spread it. Finally, the last method is a line method that Arctic recommends to use with several of its compounds.

    I am seeking any sagely advice or words of wisdom/ and or opinion on the best way to apply thermal paste to a CPU or just any thermal paste wisdom in general. Currently I am leaning towards the "pea drop" method because I am far more worried about putting to much compound on (which I hear is bad) than to little.

    Extra info for my own personal dilemma:
    CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i
    Thermal Compound - Antec Formula 7 (diamond compound)

    I hear this compound is thick as molasses on a snowy day so I do plan to heat it up beforehand to help with application. I know that the H100i has thermal compound on it but I plan to remove it and put on the Formula 7 as I believe it is most likely a higher quality compound than a stock compound. Plus, the formula 7 is just laying around since I bought it in an attempt to figure out the issue with my original H100i (pump didn't run) that I RMA'd. No use letting it gather dust right?

  2. #2
    ROG Guru: Grand Master Array
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    Greetings, JTTRI! We meet again. LOL

    Personally, I use the rice/pea/dot/grain in the middle method. If we dissect a Sandy or Ivy Bridge CPU, we'll find a small die in the center of the chip. This is the source of the heat. True, when we put a heatspredder on top of it, it transfers or spreads out the heat to the entire portion of metal. Nevertheless the center of the heatspredder is still the hottest part because it's in direct contact with the CPU die. That's why a lot of us use the dot method. To make sure that the center is properly coated with thermal compound. Then when you apply pressure to the heatsink or CPU block, it spreads out to the other areas.

    I remember reading an article ages ago that evaluated the different methods of applying thermal compound. I don't have the link at hand right now but you can google it. In summary, of all the methods tested, the best one was the dot method. The difference isn't big either, maybe 3-5 degrees. But hey, when you're overclocking, every degree counts!

  3. #3
    ROG Enthusiast Array
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    I just use the tried and true method of spreading out a paper thin amount of paste across the entire surface of the cpu. Then apply it to the heatsink surface and wipe it off with a paper towel leaving that dull sheen. Then mounting in place. That's the old Artic Silver method and has always worked well for me with whatever paste I use. I currently am using Prolimatech PK3 and my temps are great.

    It really is just personal preference. As long as you cover the hotspot and don't put too much on then you are good.
    Last edited by Jericho; 03-14-2013 at 12:08 PM.
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  4. #4
    ROG Guru: Platinum Belt Array Rockford's Avatar
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    My vote goes to, a thin cross, or a thin even layer..

    cheers

  5. #5
    ROG 師傅 Array Arne Saknussemm PC Specs
    Arne Saknussemm PC Specs
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    Arne Saknussemm's Avatar
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    I like to put 5 dots on the CPU in the formation you find on a dice. The center blob larger than the outer 4. I then use the slight wiggle room of the heat-sink or block and LIGHT downward pressure to smooth out the paste. I take the sink off and look how its spreading and add maybe a touch more to get both surfaces covered with a nice layer out to the four corners. By nice, I mean well covered and with maybe a bit more paste than I would like!

    I then take the sink off again and remove the layer entirely from the heat sink! Replacing it now on the full thin layer on the CPU and again wiggling with LIGHT downward pressure you should feel full contact capillary action stickiness. Place thumb screws and tighten half a turn at a time in diagonal opposite corners in rotation hand tight only.

    Done!
    Last edited by Arne Saknussemm; 03-14-2013 at 05:11 PM. Reason: spelling!

  6. #6
    ROG Guru: Orange Belt Array Mankz's Avatar
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    I put a little on the base of the cooler, and then wipe it off with a lint free cloth, was told at one time that this fills any micro cracks/dents in the base before application.

    I've then always just put a small blob of AS5 or whatever and put the cooler on. Ive never had issues with temps, and this way works so its the on I use..

    I think with paste there is no particular correct or wrong way, just what you find easy, and what works.

  7. #7
    ROG Guru: Platinum Belt Array Rockford's Avatar
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    Great thread..

    I agree with you Mankz

    There are no right or wrong in this.......

  8. #8
    Tech Marketing Manager HQ Array Raja@ASUS's Avatar
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    You should focus more on making sure the mounting pressure is even between the cooler and the IHS. Provided it is, a rice grain size of thermal paste in the center of the IHS will make its way wherever it's needed. Anything more than this, is making more out of this situation than you should be.


    Any cooler that is designed for the platform it is used on, should have a surface flat enough for good mating with the IHS. While the mounting mechanism should be reasonably idiot-proof with regards to mounting torque.

  9. #9
    ROG 師傅 Array Arne Saknussemm PC Specs
    Arne Saknussemm PC Specs
    Laptop (Model)Laptop?...No way! (Model?...Jun Amaki...yes way!)
    MotherboardROG ZENITH EXTREME
    ProcessorTHREADRIPPER 1920X
    Memory (part number)F4-3200C14Q-32GVK
    Graphics Card #1GTX Titan X
    Graphics Card #2SLI is dead to me
    Graphics Card #3Tri SLI is even dead to Nvidia
    Graphics Card #4Quad SLI is dead to everybody especially my credit card
    Sound CardXonar Essence STX
    MonitorASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
    Storage #1Samsung 950 PRO
    Storage #22x OCZ VERTEX 3/2x WD Caviar Black 500GB / 2x WD RED 2TB
    CPU CoolerCustom Loop: Dual D5s, Dual Alphacool Monsta 480s, XSPC Raystorm Neo TR4, EK TitanX WaterBlock
    CaseNope!...Phobya Bench...let it all hang out man!
    Power SupplySeasonic SS-1200XP3
    Keyboard Logitech G810 or Fender Rhodes Electric Piano (MKI 73)
    Mouse G502 or Speedy Gonzalez...not Mickey...don't do Disney!
    Headset ...firmly on neck
    Mouse Pad Mouse don't got his own pad man...lives with me
    Headset/Speakers Edifier Spinnaker...or you mean the speakers in my head...man too many voices to name them all
    OS Win XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 Spyware Edition
    Network Router56k modem
    Accessory #1 Umm...nice tie?
    Accessory #2 Err...belt?
    Accessory #3 3 accessories?! I'm not a girl!!
    Arne Saknussemm's Avatar
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    Actually I have to disagree with WhitePaw

    Right: PK-1

    Wrong: anything else


  10. #10
    ROG Guru: Platinum Belt Array Rockford's Avatar
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    Yes...

    Arne..

    spot on..

    I did even consider, an other paste, being used..

    need to get hold of a new 30g tube soon..

    Buying those 5g tubes, gets nasty expensive in the long run..

    ;o)

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