Cooling Compound

By javeous
May 27, 2009
  1. I'm a DIYSer, always have been. So when I started putting systems together like Legos, I had always applied a business card thick layer of compound to the processor and then plopped the heat sink in.

    I'm just wondering if other people do it differently. Why they apply it the way they do. And maybe if someone knows a detailed difference between brands of compound.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. snowchick7669

    snowchick7669 TS Maniac Posts: 660

    I generally put a heaped circle in the middle, so that the heatsink squashes it down and spreads it.
    Found that this helps with overflow, not exactly happy with having thermal grease all over the motherboard! Haha

    Also, it certainly seems to create its own even surface

    Looking forward to seeing what everyone else does
  3. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,159   +198

    If you have a processor with a built in heatspreader, most manufacturers reccomend a grain of rice sized blob in the centre, on gos the heatsink, little wiggle and your done.

    For the older style uncovered chip they usually opt for the method you already use.

    Most thermal paste manufacturers websites actually include a video demonstration of how to apply their product best.

    Heres a video to show the diffrent methods and the pros and cons of each.

    Heres a benchmark test using 33 diffrent brands of thermal paste!!

    Im a grain of rice and ocz freeze man myself :)
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,467   +1,760

    The "thickness of a credit card" sounds like a bit much. After all, you're only trying to fill the pores of the HSF and the die heat spreader.

    BUT, if what you're doing works fine, without thermal issues, there doesn't seem to be much incentive to change.

    Arctic Silver's website suggests allowing the blob to spread, while many coolers have squares of thermal material already applied, which works well also.

    Still, just to keep the discussion going, I always apply the "rice sized grain" *(and a teeny bit more)* of thermal compound to the CPU die then level it with a single edged razor blade, taking care not to scratch the CPU. It doesn't work out to the thickness of a credit card. The biggest danger of applying too much TC, (or so they tell me), is having excess compound short out the socket.

    The "teensie bit more", is to make up for what inevitably sticks to the blade.
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I use a razor blade too. Works much better than a card.
  6. javeous

    javeous TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I do actually use a razor, I wasn't trying to imply that I use a busienss card to apply the compound. I guess I should have used something other than a business card for the analogy. I would say the layer is about four thousandths thick; just enough in my reasoning and based on average profilometer readings, to fill the porosity difference from the maching process. The entire purpose is to remove any air between the two components. Bla Bla Bla

    I didn't know that you could view videos on the different brand's sites. That is a good resource to point someone towards should they ask me how to apply compound.

    Does anyone know a difference between the different compounds for sale. Other than just preference. That is actually what I was wondering; to be specific.

    What is the difference between the different compound makeups.

    Here's a good resource for heatsinks.
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    a small thin application is all you need. Excess goo might squish out onto the circuit board - that's bad juju. Silver is a conductor.
  8. SineSurfer

    SineSurfer TS Rookie Posts: 46

    The amount of compound and how it is situated, is more important then what compound you use.
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