Question about thermal grease

By quantum_dragon ยท 14 replies
Jul 2, 2003
  1. This will be the very first PC I have ever built from scratch. I've been doing some research and noticed that in one book a dab of thermal grease was placed just under the CPU. I will be using a 7 fan mod case (four intakes) with no overclocking, and Intel 875 motherboard, and probably a 3.0 Ghz Pentium. Is the thermal grease technique neccessary? If so, does the retail package for the Pentium chip provide grease? Thanks for the info.
  2. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Yes the thermal grease is necessary, and with the retail P4 it will probably be a thermal pad that is fitted to the underside of the heatsink, so you shouldn't need to buy any grease.
  3. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    It kind of depends. The pad will do fine sometimes, but are you intending to ever try overclocking? If so you will need to use it. I would recommend Artic Silver III, or Ceramique.
  4. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Sure, you can possibly get away without thermal grease but that's not the best idea. Do yourself a favor and spend about 6 bucks on a small tube of Arctic Silver 3 or Ceramique, as acidosmosis said. The 6 bucks is a good investment on your new computer.
  5. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    thermal grease

    voids the warranty........just software cool.....or a better hardware cooling solution
  6. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Intel P4 Retail Packs come with evrything you need. You are unlikely to notice any benefit from using Arctic Silver III Thermal grease. The thermal pad that comes attached to the heatsink will be just fine.

    I swapped to Arctic Silver III recently after previously using a thermal pad and I didn't see any reduction in CPU temps as was claimed by the manufacturers.

    My CPU temps hover around 37 deg C now just as they did before. Maybe my 'old' heatsink isn't good enough to see any benefit.

    One thing you can be certain of is that Intel would not package their CPUs with a heatsink that wasn't up to the job.

    If you ever need to refit a heatsink (you can't reuse a thermal pad) then Arctic Silver III, or Arctic Ceramique would be a good choice as it doesn't dry out like some lesser compounds.
  7. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Re: thermal grease

    Where the hell did you get that idea?

    For one, it voids a processors warranty to operate it without adequate cooling "solutions", which under both Intel and AMD specs require a thermal pad or heat dissapating paste. Using the cpu WITHOUT paste would be more apt to void the warranty then anything.

    And, software cooling is pointless, especially if you are going to be playing any games, doing any modeling, audio editing, et cetera, or generally anything else that will use full CPU load. Using apps such as coolCPU will make zero difference when your CPU has been under full load for long periods of time.
  8. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    AMD says no to thermal grease

    ... Using almost any thermal grease voids your AMD warranty. There is an exception. Apparently, Shin Etsu G 749 does get AMD approval ... The most popular thermal grease has been Arctic Silver for a long time now. And that isn't AMD approved so using it means that you've voided your warranty ...
  9. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    It is a proven fact that Artic Silver will lower your processor temperature by several degrees. That little pad won't do you must good at all. It may take out one or two degrees but good thermal grease will reduce the temperature by around 5 degrees.

    Anyone that knows what they are doing as far as building a PC, overclocking, or ever so much as installs a processor and knows what they are doing DOES use thermal grease. For $6 you can apply thermal grease to a LOT of processors before running out, so you must ask yourself -- should I spend $6 or take a risk? It is a no brainer.

    It wouldnt be so largely used if it didnt make a difference. There are scientific and practical reasons for using it so I suggest you take my advice and do it, especially with todays high end processors.
  10. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I thought so too after reading all the reviews, but from my experience, I didn't notice didly-squat difference when switching from thermal pad to Arctic Silver III. Fact!

    Maybe you get a difference under certain conditions, but I've yet to see any difference on my PC. Its all marketing hype it seems.
  11. aoj145

    aoj145 TS Rookie Posts: 82

    I do have to add that everyone should be careful when installing thermal grease and make sure you don't get any of it on your bathing suit area.
  12. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    No, actually I would be careful that you don't put too much of it on the processor core. Remember that it ONLY goes on the processor core and you should spread a thin layer of it across the core with something like a credit card or business card, then wipe off any excess grease that runs over the side before putting the heatsink on.
  13. amazon_sephy

    amazon_sephy TS Rookie Posts: 83

    Wipe a credit card across the core after applying the thermal grease? Does that leave enough on? Im really surprised that thats all one would need. But if its true, then thx for the great tip!
  14. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Yea you just need a thin layer. One reason is if you put much more than that on the CPU core then the excess grease will seep over the side and could possibly destroy your CPU from what I've heard. Your basically covering the microscopic holes in the heatsink, so that heat can transfer better between the core and the heatsink. Also remember to scrape off the thermal pad that is already on the heatsink (if there is one) before installing the heatsink. ONLY if you use the thermal grease though.

    If you do a search on for thermal grease you will find a lot of information about it.

    I tried to find some good instructions on applying it but didn't find anything right off.
  15. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    That's because a lot of greases available such as AS3 are conductive, and can short the CPU if they leak over the sides. AMD approves the non-conductive varities.

    Personally I have seen little difference between expensive (ala AS) brands and just generic industrial tubes of thermal grease which are used regularly in many applications. It all depends on how it is applied and the type of cooler you are using to begin with. Grease can make a big difference if the cooler is decent enough to begin with, but, shoddy heatsink, shoddy cooling, no matter what you try.

    I would never run an AMD cpu faster then 1000mhz without grease to begin with anyways, fearful that a bump or scratch somewhere that you missed could potentially roast it - which has happened to me before.
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