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Old 06-08-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default What is the Best Way to Apply Thermal Grease?

There has been a new article posted.

Title: What is the Best Way to Apply Thermal Compound?
URL: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/artic...-Compound/1303

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"If there is one thing about computer hardware where there is no consensus, it's the right way to apply thermal compound on a CPU. Today, we present seven ways to apply it, showing how the CPU looks af..."

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:58 AM   #2
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The whole testing methodology of tiny, small, bigger, and 'a lot' evoked a laugh. It's like picking your meal at McDonalds.


I'd imagine that lower viscosity thermal compounds would require even smaller amounts to spread properly.

I'll keep this in mind whenever I get around to replacing a heatsink. :)
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.W. View Post
I'd imagine that lower viscosity thermal compounds would require even smaller amounts to spread properly.
Maybe. Or maybe a more fluid compound can be squizzed more easily and a larger amount will affect less.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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Excellent article!

I would be interested in the results of this test with a "Heatpipe Direct Touch" cooler like the Xigmatek Gaia. The deep gaps in the base may need more compound.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:25 PM   #5
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Interesting test. But like has been mentioned already the viscosity of the compound affects how well it spreads under pressure as well as the heatsink surface. I saw a Youtube video a while back that used a heavy piece of glass instead of a heatsink so one could see how the compound spread under pressure. It was quite interesting seeing how different compounds reacted differently under the same conditions. One of the best things it showed was the air bubbles that formed quite often when one spread the TIM completely over the surface prior to applying pressure.

One thing that I think was done incorrectly in your tests was the amount of compound used in the line tests. Cut the width of the lines down by at least half and I'm betting that you would get the same temp as the dot with most compounds. I can say that the dot method doesn't work for squat on a HDT heatsink though compared to the multiple THIN lines. It tends to get caught in the first set of gaps and never get's a good enough spread. At least that's what I've been finding over the last year of using CM Hyper 212+'s.
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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Great test idea, relatively easy to do and the results worth far more than the effort involved performing it. We ought to determine how to create or measure a small, standardized dot size. The problem is transferring the dot from the measuring device to the top of the CPU.

I agree that HDT CPU coolers are obviously different than unexposed heat pipe cooler bases. IMO, filling in the grooves on the HDT coolers with TIM and then removing the excess with a CC is all the preparation needed before using the optimal methods determined in this test. I also feel that a correctly constructed HDT cooler should not have any grooves or channels that need filling with TIM, but that is typical in the few I have seen.

I expected more commentary regarding this test, perhaps the results are difficult to dispute. I wonder what the amount of TIM pre-applied on the Intel stock CPU cooler corresponds with in this test. I'd guess the line method.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:27 PM   #7
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what about no thermal compound?
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:03 PM   #8
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First I'd like to point out that the single line is what AS recommend for the used combination of CPU and TIM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
... the air bubbles that formed quite often when one spread the TIM completely over the surface prior to applying pressure.
This part is very often missed, and also almost impossible to show directly with a normal mounting. (I've contemplated using ultrasound to look for bubbles, but never got around to do it.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
I can say that the dot method doesn't work for squat on a HDT heatsink...
Depends on the preparations.
I've always used Arctic Ceramique and relied on the instructions provided by the manufacturer. For HDT heatsinks the proper preparation (spread TIM on the heatsink base before continuing as with non-HDT coolers) is described here.

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what about no thermal compound?
No compound will of course not spread at all!

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Old 06-09-2011, 01:52 AM   #9
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Ollie, for HDT heatsinks what I've found that consistently works is to run a thin line.stripe down the middle of each of the heatpipes then clamping it down. I get the lowest temps doing it that way and the temps of all of the cores tend to be closer together. That has been with Arctic Cooling MX-2 and MX-4, Gelid GC Extreme, CM Thermal Fusion 400, and IC Diamond 7 and 24. Those are the ones I've used on them so far. I've also found that cramming some in the crevices tends to get uneven results between the cores and slightly higher temps. Not saying that this is the only way that will work, but that is what has been working best for me.

I have no idea how any of the Arctic Silver compounds work with an HDT as I stopped using their stuff several years ago after I found out how much better MX-2 was, at least for me. When I did use it I did find their recommended application methods worked best, but that was with heatsinks with a full base, not an HDT.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:57 AM   #10
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Folks,

We spent a lot of time trying to figure a method to measure the size of the thermal compound dot applied. We couldn't find one.

You are right, on direct touch heatpipes coolers with gaps, the "small dot" method will probably not be the best; I think that filling the grooves before installation or the "one stripe per heatpipe" method will work fine.

About the tickness of the stripes I used on the test, the AS Céramique sample we have is so viscous that was nearly impossible do make thinner stripes.

Last edited by Gabriel Torres; 06-09-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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