I'm seeing different ways to apply the arctic silver, should I be spreading it evenly with like a business card or just put a pea sized dot and just press the heatsink down?
NOT even pea sized-- trust me...I ruined a 5870x2 once!!!
A match head amount ,2 dots about center 1 dot apart is normally enough per contact point. remember the final amount you need is thinner than paper and the size of the core. Rather put too little than too much.Its not a slice of bread you are smearing with peanut butter.
Like I said 2 matcheads close together, and slichtly tilt the Heatsink when combining to eliminate bubbles / no-contact zones.
a gentle slow twisting motion generally secures the bond.
Good practice is to also lift the sink again and look for no-contact zones, redo if needed with a little extra.
You must remeber the paste will eventually almost harden like dried prestick. A good first contact is desired.