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How to properly apply thermal compound to gpu

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February 6, 2014 12:24:08 AM

Hello, recently I was having an issue I thought was related to my gpu, but it was something else causing the problem, but after reapplying new thermal paste to my NVidia gtx 770m(laptop gpu), I have noticed a dramatic drop in my fps, in multiple games it is at least 10 fps lower and up to 30 in some, I'm wondering why this is, because I applied to thermal paste evenly and made sure it was screwed in snuggly, but seems it's running hotter, moments after starting a game it will run normally and the within several seconds it will begin to drop, which never happened before. Does anyone have any feedback on this issue, would be greatly appreciated :) 
February 6, 2014 12:45:29 AM

did it come with a thermal pad or paste originally?

apply just a small dot in the middle and let it spread with the heatsink's downforce, line or x method is also fine but i use it for big desktop gpu's that have a heatspreader... directly on a die i would only use a dot or "rice" sized line etc.
i dont ever spread thermal paste.... ever! - it has always resulted in higher temps... it creates air bubbles that's why

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hNgFNH7zhQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4

and check the temps ... msi afterburner is an excellent tool for a lot of things gpu related
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February 6, 2014 5:34:47 PM

yanis31 said:
did it come with a thermal pad or paste originally?

apply just a small dot in the middle and let it spread with the heatsink's downforce, line or x method is also fine but i use it for big desktop gpu's that have a heatspreader... directly on a die i would only use a dot or "rice" sized line etc.
i dont ever spread thermal paste.... ever! - it has always resulted in higher temps... it creates air bubbles that's why

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hNgFNH7zhQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4

and check the temps ... msi afterburner is an excellent tool for a lot of things gpu related


Oh wow, I didn't know that I've been spreading it like butter, I've seen other videos that said to do spread method, but that actually makes a lot of sense, so ill try it as soon as I get my shipment of thermal compound :) 

this is what I ordering (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/thermal-compound/9609458.p;jsessionid=5C1857B072C9D0E35A30F6E809F860BF.bbolsp-app02-192?id=1218152478854&skuId=9609458&st=thermal paste&cp=1&lp=1)
Since I was out of my other paste and I had a 15% best buy giftcard I figured I would give it a try, do you think this compound will be any good?

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Best solution

February 6, 2014 11:18:41 PM

not sure on the dynex... but you can research it online, should be ok
- the main thing is, the thermal compound won't make that huge of a difference, of course it's good to get a good brand,
but applying it correctly is more important, check if you are putting it directly on a die (usually a small shiny, chrome looking chip in the middle)
or it has a heatspreader (usually bigger in size and kind of silver/aluminium looking) - the die sits beneath those - usually in the center
the best way to do it is to practice... apply a small amount and remove it later to see how well it spread,
what you are looking for is to get the smallest amount possible in there that still spreads well over a good area,
recently for instance i changed my amd fx cpu stock heatsink that i had previously applied arctic MX-2 to,
and found out that using a slightly-bigger-than-a-rice blob in the center hadn't spread very well, but it spread nicely on my previous core2quad/duo
using a aftermarked zalman cooler that presses down with more force,
it was maybe covering half the cpu in terms of size... but the temps were still good,
it is because with a heatspreader you do not necessarily need to cover it entirely - just the hottest areas where the die is below...
but of course covering all of it would have made me more comfortable,
i think this happened because the stock amd fan has a very rough, cheap looking copper base so it took more paste to fill in the gaps,
but by having too much you can actually create an insulating layer between the chip and the heatsink,
another problem with laptops - check how the heatsink presses down on the chip - if it's not too strong it may cause the paste to not spread very well...
so the best way is to invest a little time and a bit more paste to experiment - apply - check how good it went.. apply again, make corrections if necessary...
another point - make sure you are not applying thermal paste if it had a thermal pad in there originally, (soft, sticky - almost sponge like material/ sticker usually)
i had a older laptop that used paste on Cpu but a pad on Gpu - therefore the heatsink was at a small distance from the gpu and you couldn't fill that
gap with paste - you would have to order some thermal pad for that... and if there's a gap left don't even switch it on ... it'll probably overheat and die...
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