Watch: MSI video shows the worst way to apply thermal paste

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

When it comes to building a PC from scratch, many people have their own preferred way of putting systems together—like the order in which they install components. Methods of applying thermal paste can also vary, but if you want to see a technique you should avoid, check out the video above.

As reported by PC Gamer, the clip, which is a few years old, is actually an instructional video from MSI on how to (or not to, it seems) apply thermal paste on an AMD AM1 APU.

While some prefer to add a near pea-sized dot of paste to the center of the CPU, make some lines, or draw an X shape, the person in the video seems happy to plop a huge glob of the stuff onto the processor like they’re squeezing a liberal amount of toothpaste onto a brush.

The instructor then uses a plastic card to try and give the paste a more even spread; a method that was recommended a few years ago but few people seem to use these days. Sadly, this only makes things worse as a chunk of it falls off the processor and onto the motherboard. After some more butter-like spreading with the card, the process is finished.

The video was shared around the internet when it was originally posted a while back. YouTuber iAxX saved it along with a couple of others from MSI that show slightly less shoddy ways of applying paste. If you missed them the first time round, check out this channel.

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OK the video is painful to watch but the comments are a little overblown to be honest, is just a poor way to apply paste, it could be worse. EDIT: Guys, you posted the wrong link the good one (now your article makes sense) is the one on the comment below mine.
 
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ZackL04

TS Guru
For most, as long as ur using paste, no matter how you apply, your going to be fine.

If your de-lidding and going for lowest possible temps you will follow a more strict application regiment
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
I put the right amount of paste on, and spread it with a single edged razor blade. I haven't scratched a lid, or had an overheat ever. Is it alright if I don't watch this video?
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Jelly! Where the heck is the jelly???? Personally I prefer strawberry, but those pesky seeds .........
 

EClyde

TS Evangelist
I doubt I have applied thermal paste the same way twice and my system never blew up though I may have gotten of few degrees difference but then so what.
 

Prosercunus

TS Maniac
Have always done the pea method both at work and at home and have never had a processor die or a heating issue with a processor in all the years.
 
J

Jibberish18

As long as you get enough on there it doesn't really matter too much how you apply it and at least a few Youtube videos have shown this. I personally use the line method (I start a bit from the top and work down to the bottom in an even line. Testing shows that both times I've done this I've applied a very even coat. The pea method never worked well for me in terms of covering up the entire chip.
 

Manuel Diego

TS Booster
As far as I understand it, you apply thermal paste so that the imperfections in the surfaces of both the cooler and the CPU, when in contact, do not trap air, which is a terrible heat conductor. So you just need to apply enough thermal paste to fill those gaps, which should be pretty small.
Pure copper has a thermal conductivity (its capacity to transfer heat through it) of around 400 watts per meter and kelvin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_thermal_conductivities). Silver based thermal pastes are also around 400, while regular ones are at 100-200 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_grease). In constrast, air's conductivity is around 0.02.
So basically, if you use silver-based paste, it won't hurt if you throw a blob there, except there's little reason to do so. As quality decreases, there's less and less reasons to use tons of paste. In any case, some has to be used, but I'm all for the pea method, just a little drop in the middle, and it's all good.
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
Top left corner in the picture ,states its a socket 2011-3,
just the pea sized drop of artic silver is all I ever used .too much ,is just as bad as not enough,as then it will act as an insulator oozing out around the edges, I see video cards like that ,cleaned them up and reapplied properly. got better performance and lower temps.the core under the Heatspreader does NOT reach right to the edges of the Heatspreader, the gooey mess is just not necessary. and traps heat...

so I watched the first and the last video, let them mine a little monero.and decided they were MONKEYS. and would never touch my hardware.
I told Memory express .my favorite retailers service manager ,to never let those monkeys mount my CPU and Heatsink ever again. made a mess ,and damaged 1 pin.and repaired it .I removed the HSF there in the store in front of him ,discovered the damaged pin repair.I got a new mobo.and the tech got a new azz port.
 
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GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
I tested 5 different ways and amounts on an old pentium EE 840 build (130 watt cpu) with a hyper 212 a few years back. Applying huge amounts, doing a large x or spreading it like mayonnaise or peanut butter resulted in a temperature difference of 3-4C. The only thing I learned doing it was that anything over the rice or pea size glob is just wasting thermal paste, not bad for the system(unless it's conductive paste) just waste of money.
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
Thermal paste goes on the underside of the CPU so it doesn't move around in the socket. That one was free, the next one will cost ya!

BTW this is the AM1 video...
I don't need to watch,to see the GAWD AWEFULL mess the op is making ,but I'll give it a scan anyway ,I enjoy a good laugh these days.

That's some totally awesome sarc.er I mean TIP. there.LMFAO, you bad man you.for the Monkeys in the room I guess... .
though you can fill the socket with electrolytic gel. like the stuff used doing an ultrasound ,around the pins .if your going extreme cooling like TEC or phase change.LNC.as it doesn't conduct electricity, and will block condensation buildup which can cause a short. does anyone still do that? it voids all warranties though.

3 or 4 degrees diff at idle can translate to 10 , 15 even 20 degrees diff at full load. depending on the cooler, airflow , the hardware used can have an effect .

OK I watched it and nearly fell off the chair.that was BLOODY HILLARIOUS, thanks for that.
Oh and he left some in the tube.. could have worn boxing gloves....lol.

I actually watched a guy mount a cpu with those anticontact gloves on ,dropped the cpu. and destroyed the socket,damaging about a dozen pins.



that kind of stuff reminds me of my sig down below there ..
 
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Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
I tested 5 different ways and amounts on an old pentium EE 840 build (130 watt cpu) with a hyper 212 a few years back. Applying huge amounts, doing a large x or spreading it like mayonnaise or peanut butter resulted in a temperature difference of 3-4C. The only thing I learned doing it was that anything over the rice or pea size glob is just wasting thermal paste, not bad for the system(unless it's conductive paste) just waste of money.
That Pentium D 840 EE was essentially the first consumer QUAD core , it was a dual core with hyper threading ,shown as 4 threads .also made a great space heater.
though I don't like to admit it, I did pay a whopping $1050.00 cdn for the honor .gave it away last summer. my first of 4 Extreme Edition Intel cpu's,I learn but its at a slow pace ,some stuff still has to be beaten in..;(
 
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GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
That Pentium D 840 EE was essentially the first consumer QUAD core , it was a dual core with hyper threading ,shown as 4 threads .also made a great space heater.
though I don't like to admit it, I did pay a whopping $1050.00 cdn for the honor .gave it away last summer. my first of 4 Extreme Edition Intel cpu's,I learn but its at a slow pace ,some stuff still has to be beaten in..;(
I can one up it though, school gave me a precision tower they were throwing away in 2008, had dual paxville Xeon , there basically the same as that Pentium EE but with more cache and running at 2.8 stock, they are rated at 140 watt tdp, that system makes a great space heater.
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
I can one up it though, school gave me a precision tower they were throwing away in 2008, had dual paxville Xeon , there basically the same as that Pentium EE but with more cache and running at 2.8 stock, they are rated at 140 watt tdp, that system makes a great space heater.

nice Freebee...
Ya made me look, the 840 EE was @ 3.2 gig stock,the 820 was 2.8 gig stock ,there were after all ,different sku's of that xeon as well. only the 840 was hyperthreaded .none of the 9 series were hyperthreaded .I picked up a Lenovo with a 945 @3.4 gig that had a dead mobo and damaged psu.put out for the garbage man , a few months ago. I like free stuff..I salvaged most of it ,even repaired the 450 watt psu .oops, sorry ,drifted a little off topic there .

I recently bought 5 tubes of artic silver 5, for remounting some video card HSF, ,cleaned and reassembled my GTX 480's,totally cleaned up my QX 9770 rig and remounted the HSF. Also grabbed a couple 20 grm tubes of startech silicone cooler paste for when I get a customers rig to do. an they wanna cheap me out! all on special! so no toothpaste .Peanut butter, ointments , and I like my OREO'S with milk.. lol guy's, really? spose to be pro's!

LOL, Linus ,Jayz, I can't find a second Extreme gaming GTX 1080, and you guys beat the shite out of 1,I bet it was linus .

That's typical MSI fare ,right there ,I had MSI cards back in the day. truly the worst,cheapest HSF's I had ever seen on a piece of kit.and had to replace . that guy is probably one of those elite employee's ,gets all the good jobs..
 
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GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
nice Freebee...
Ya made me look, the 840 EE was @ 3.2 gig stock,the 820 was 2.8 gig stock ,there were after all ,different sku's of that xeon as well. only the 840 was hyperthreaded .none of the 9 series were hyperthreaded .I picked up a Lenovo with a 945 @3.4 gig that had a dead mobo and damaged psu.put out for the garbage man , a few months ago. I like free stuff..I salvaged most of it ,even repaired the 450 watt psu .oops, sorry ,drifted a little off topic there .

I recently bought 5 tubes of artic silver 5, for remounting some video card HSF, ,cleaned and reassembled my GTX 480's,totally cleaned up my QX 9770 rig and remounted the HSF. Also grabbed a couple 20 grm tubes of startech silicone cooler paste for when I get a customers rig to do. an they wanna cheap me out! all on special! so no toothpaste .Peanut butter, ointments , and I like my OREO'S with milk.. lol guy's, really? spose to be pro's!
This chip was the only Paxville DP, all the rest were MP, I tried one the Precision 670 wouldn't post with it in there, same socket and all but no go. The 955 and 965 had HT as well, but they were also extremes, I have a 955 in the drawer. I have a lot of the socket 775 extreme CPUs, almost a collection going. I don't have the QX 9xxx ones though, they are still to exspensive just to have sit in a drawer, my QX 6700 still gets some usage every once in awhile though.

I also just got some AS5, redid all my main laptops, loved seeing the temps drop over the AS ceramic I was using, ceramic is nice since you never need to replace it, but the temps were terrible compared to AS5.