Thermal grease or trust Intel?

By BillAllen55 ยท 40 replies
Dec 22, 2008
  1. I will be installing a new Intel CPU on my mb. Doing research on the installation, I'm learning there seems to be contrast in installation procedure. I'm wondering what the consensus is here at Techspot. Intel recommends the thermal protection provided with the cpu/provided heat sink is sufficient in providing a good thermal grease covering. While reading the motherboard manual installation of the identical CPU recommends additional thermal grease necessary. Can someone clear this up for me?
    To grease or not to grease the intel CPU is the question.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    There is a thermal pad on some OEM CPU heatsinks. If this is present on your HSF there is no need for additional compound. If you ever decide to change a CPU heatsink always remember to clean off the old thermal compound before applying new compound. It just takes a very small amount
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    The Intel Stuff Should Be Fine.......

    As Tmagic as said, the Intel thermal material should be fine.

    I have seen it written in several places that Intel's thermal material works slightly better than many popular aftermarket products, when used with the stock Intel coolers.

    The new 65 Watt CPUs are not at all hard to cool anyway, and assuming you're making an installation where you don't intend to overclock the machine, the stock HSF will be fine. This comes with one caveat; the Stock Intel coolers are a tad noisy, with a fairly high pitched sort of "whirry" sound. It bothers some, other people not so much.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I would go with grease - there's more contact for thermal dissipation than with a pad. And pads can dry out.
  5. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I always remove the pads and go with the thermal compound Arctic Silver
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    If you'll forgive me for saying so, this seems like a sudden change of heart
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I repair and build computers... If someone less experienced builds a computer, they may not have any thermal compound handy, In this case stay with the supplied thermal pad. Simple, and effective
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    All these years......

    I thought that this quote;
    was attributable to Mark Twain. Oh mercy me, I've just opened my mouth, haven't I?
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Quotable Quotes listed this as said by Abraham Lincoln, although Mark Twain was pretty witty too ;)
  10. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    Boys Boys! Thank you for the insight on the thermal compound, I've been perusing all of the new material regarding a new build after not having a new machine in roughly 8 years. I thought the thermal compound made sense but felt I should reference the fine experts of this forum. I will be planning (if this is correct of course) to clean off both the cpu and hsf with a rubbing alcohol wipe towel then proceeding to put on a small amount of the thermal grease. In other documents it has stated roughly the amount of two grains of rice in volume does that sound correct?

    Oh btw about the quote you BOTH are incorrect the first installation of this quote came from Proverbs 17:28. :) look it up!
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding"...

    Right you are BillAllen55
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    Well Yes, But Heavily Paraphrased......

    "Tis far nobler to pinch something of value from The Bible, than to have Carl Rove act as your ventriloquist". (My humble offering as a quotable quote). It seems to complicate issues when you consider that for maximum dissociation from that particular concept you would have to write it down, thereby avoiding opening your mouth. You do see the paradox, yes.

    Modern politicians would be reading it off a teleprompter. That's OK though, most of them have transcended fool, and gone on to achieve their *****s rating.

    To the issue: I have seen 1 grain of rice as a quantity of thermal grease written, as well as a strip or dot/pile of grease applied, then the cooler smushed into it. Hey, that's directly from Arctic Silver's instructions! To which I cleverly/devilishly post this link:

    Judging by all the bitter complaining being done in Intel CPU reviews regarding installing an Intel heatsink, I have concluded that I am doing something wrong, as I have had no trouble whatsoever accomplishing this task. I hereby resolve to smoke some crack and play violent video games for a day and a half prior to trying my next install, that should help a bunch. (OK, we're just kidding here folks).

    Next, I'm going to hijack the thread by posing this question: I left the motherboard for my new build on top of the microwave for a couple of days. Do you think I should try to use it, or go straight to RMA? This faux pas should probably be collaterally posted in the "stupid users" thread;
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I'd just use whats already on the Intel heatsink. Its not really a pad, its just a square of thermal grease. It is impossible to screw up (or nearly so) if you just slap the heatsink on the processor with the intel material already on there. Its much easier to screw up when you add the steps of removing what is there, and then applying the proper amount.

    But yes, if you must remove the stock material use Isopropyl alcohol, the higher the percentage the better (shoot for 90+%).
  14. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    Which process will yield the best result?

    Respectfully submitted, The last reply reads as what I complained about in the literature that I've currently read. That being of course some will say to leave the original compound on the Intel heatsink, others will adamantly insist, it should be removed and adding a dab of whatever make thermal compound. 'Understanding' that I have the intelligence some what above that of a chimpanzee' Howbeit not quantified, which is considered the best practice?

    I think to make a long reply longer, what I'm asking is, is there a specific cause and effect to me removing the original thermal compound on an intel heatsink and cleaning and replacing the thermal compound, or is this a labor of love extending my appreciation to the folks that need to keep their lights on while making a quality thermal heat product?
  15. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    yeah, but grease is really cheap - just a couple of bucks.... I think it is worth it. ....
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    If I were a manufacturer of heatsinks, I'd put the worst thermal compound I could find on the heatsinks I planned to sell. That way, I could make the product I sold look as bad as possible, and I'd be able to throw my customers business the way of my competitors. Also, if my competitors helped by using the lousiest thermal material they could, then we could all throw a lot of business to Arctic Silver. After all, what are friends for. Let's all ponder this together. Or course all of the manufacturers of HSFs could have stock in Arctic Silver, that would mean that there's kickbacks involved, and it really is a conspiracy. I don't think it makes any more or less sense than anything else in this thread, but what the heck, let's just flog it some more.

    If you have nothing better to do with your lives, then by all means, sit around and benchmark heat sink compounds all day. You'll probably find that AS might be a degree or so cooler. It's probably more productive than this thread. I doubt that a degree or so of difference makes any real degree of difference, If it does, then you're abusing your equipment in the first place, running it way past spec.

    The bottom line here is that most of the benchmarking programs tell fairy tales, most of the hardware sensors are never anywhere near correct, who knows exactly what's going.

    I say Intel knows as much about heat sinks for their CPUs as anyone of us, so why should I spend money and go out of my way to remove their compound if I'm not going to abuse the machine by overclocking. Ditto for Cooler Master and whichever other reputable suppliers are selling HSFs with thermal material preapplied. I'm guessing that that works in reverse as well. Ergo, if you buy a crappy heatsink, I'll probably have lousy compound preapplied. But then why go out of you way to buy a crappy HSF? So you can go out of your way to buy thermal compound of course.

    If you had gone to the Arctic Silver instructions page that I linked, you'd find that they suggest putting a blob of thermal compound on the center of the CPU (single core), then let the tension of the heatsink spread it out. Gosh, I don't think too many people would trust that method. Yet, they still should know more than we do, or should they? Not only that, but Arctic Silver is revered, even with the silly instructions.

    I've had my rant, not I'm going back to Newegg a read some Intel processor reviews, probably written back a bunch of clumsy crackheads. They know all about everything computer, but they're not capable of locking four little push pins. Maybe they'll have some advice about thermal compound. No, I take that back, they'll know everything there is to know about thermal compound.

    When I run Prime 95 on my E2140 overclocked to 3.4Ghz for three days, it overheats! Gee, It must be the thermal compound.
  17. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    beating a dead HSF

    By Joev:wave:, I think I've got it.
  18. hrlow2

    hrlow2 TS Rookie Posts: 136

    To BillAllen55.
    Do not just "smush" it. It will not spread evenly. Apply a dab the size of a BB or a matchhead. Spread it out evenly with a stiff card or razor blade.
    Smushing would cause some areas to not get any at all, resulting in an irregular temp pattern.
    Also do not use more than specified. Too much can be as harmful as none at all.
  19. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    An Alternative

  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    Fools Rush In, Where Angels Fear to Tread........

    Yeah well, how about if it's a square lump?

    Got Dammit! I'm going to apply for a job at the Arctic Silver Corporation!
  21. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    I did not suggest for a minute I thought of you as a fool.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    Never assumed that, never thought that was implied, never believed that was the intent.

    I was merely, (perhaps a bit selfishly), continuing to amuse myself, (and hopefully the rest of you), by developing a humorous paridigm consistent with the general silliness thus far.:grinthumb
  23. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I already kind of said everything I should have said earlier. But I'm going to say another summary just cause I can:

    No manufacturer is going to sell you a heatsink that can't handle the processor it is advertised for, so you are safe running the 'stock' materials.

    If you want to run hotter than that and push the boundaries of your components, then you leave the stock realm, at this point you need to really learn what you are doing - it is much easier now than in the past. But don't think you can just buy a $100 CPU and make it run like a $250 CPU. - They are priced like that because 99.5% of people won't push it or even if they try aren't smart enough to. Overclocking is for the serious enthusiast. Just because you've heard you can OC doesn't mean you should.
  24. hrlow2

    hrlow2 TS Rookie Posts: 136

    Unless you want a very expensive paperweight.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,029   +2,558

    Patience is a Virtue...........

    It seems like it might be easier to buy an Emachines, then just wait a couple of years:haha:
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