Thermal Paste - How do you know when its OK????

  [DELETED] 12:50 16 Sep 2003

I've been tweaking a clients AMD 2700+ today as it was reaching 80C under load (one and half hours of MOHAA!!!!!)

New HSF combo (rated to 3100+) plus exhaust fan dropped the CPU temp by 10C.

It idles 6 - 8C above case temp

and only goes 10C above under a 10 minutes Graphics demo.

I think the main problem is the GeForce 4 Ti 4600 he has is pumping out loads of heat!!!

Now i had to use Thermal paste for the first time - no pads available.

I have been told many techniques and methods for getting it right. I followed one on here and on the AMD sheet. I put a match head amount in the middle of the die and then spread it around the die with a piece of card making a thing layer.

How do i know (without removing the HSF) if its not too much / little etc etc etc???

  [DELETED] 13:09 16 Sep 2003

every time I do this I get paranoid like this as well. I think essentially the guidelines are making sure that you clean everything properly with the suggested fluid/s and that as long as the guidelines are followed "roughly" it should be ok........ but like you I have wondered about how the "performance" of the paste would be affected by the way it has been applied. I`m sure somebody somewhere in the overclocking fraternity will know though.........

or are you scared to switch it on?

  [DELETED] 13:13 16 Sep 2003

Switched on and OK (as above) Just occurred to me later how do i know its OK??

Same thoughts as you though - glad it s not just me...

  [DELETED] 13:28 16 Sep 2003

I've used paste for power devices for years, generally we use as little as possible. Too much has the opposite effect on increasing the thermal transfer.

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  [DELETED] 13:30 16 Sep 2003

That doesn't read right does it? I think it should read decrease not increase, still I think you get the drift.


  [DELETED] 13:33 16 Sep 2003

Paste should be less than paper thin and on the core only, you will be surprised how many people plaster the enite part rather than the diddy bit in the middle.

So long as it is on the core alone the pressure of the HSF on it will 99% of the time ensure the correct amount as is forces any excess out.

If the core has reached 80C i would suggest the HSF is on the wrong way round (easily done) and the pressure from the clip is not central on the core.

Any heat from the GF4 would effect the case temp but have little effect on the core temp.

  [DELETED] 13:50 16 Sep 2003


The HSF is on straight and the right way round.

I only put it on the "die" - little bit smaller than my finger nail. Was only enough Paste to cover the die, just, in a v thin layer!

The GF4 card blocks the air flow from the bottom of the case to the top (huge card!!)

They are going to test for a few days and let me know...

I can't see how after 3 HSF (AMD original had fan failure within a week, then i changed for 2700 rated HSF and now 3100 rated HSF) i could still have anything wrong....

The temp is down on before and i am loathe to fiddle with it anymore than necessary.

Cheers all

Just having a flap!!!!!!!!!!

  [DELETED] 13:52 16 Sep 2003

From my days of using TO3 transistors, I was instructed to put a small knob of heat sink compound in the middle of the transistor base, apply the mica sheet, add another knob of paste to the mica and then apply the hole of this sandwich to the heatsink. I was then told to apply pressure to the sandwich and wiggle the components around until the heatsink compound appeared at the adges and there was a high resistance to wiggling.

I still use basically the same technique of applying compound, applying pressure, wiggling the assembly around until it becomes very resistant to movement and then fitting the mounting clips. It is important not to lift the heatsink assembly after this resistance point is reached although you can slide into position.

This takes a lot more explaining than doing! Hope you can understand it.

  [DELETED] 14:01 16 Sep 2003

If Jester will forgive me for adding a supplementary query - would all you experienced builders choose paste in preference to pads and why? - [I'm nervously approaching my first build].

  [DELETED] 14:07 16 Sep 2003

My one and only burn out of a CPU happened after I had applied a replacement thermal pad. It was a new pad and, to the best of my knowledge and from what I could see, I had removed all traces of the old one with lighter fluid.

For me, paste is far more convenient as I (think I?) have control over the fitting up.


  [DELETED] 14:23 16 Sep 2003

Just to add,I use an XP2600 and a GF Ti4600,and since the card was installed overall my system temps have increased by around 6-8C.The GF card has two fans and a large heatsink,which gets to hot to touch after lengthy gaming sessions.I have 11 fans inside my puter,(including a very noisy Delta!)and its CPU temp averages 40C.Before I installed all the extra fans,once the GF got hot,the CPU used to increase over 12C .

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