Themal paste know-how

Heya guys, i've come across this issue lately when i realised alot of ppl including me don't really know what's the perfect way of applying thermal paste to their cpu. Some say it's best to add a "circle" of it in the middle of the cpu and then let the heatsink spread it, some say it's better to draw a line on the middle of the cpu and then let the heatsink spread it or use a creditcard/driver's license, to spread it around the entire surface of the cpu. Some say it's better to apply it twice, second time a week later after u've done the 1st apply, so it can fill all the microscopic holes in the cpu/hsf surface under heat. In the end, no one knows really what's the best way of applying thermal paste on the cpu.
I know it's a rather simple process mostly and some of you might not consider it worthy for a reply, but i'd like to hear some of your experiences and used ways of applying thermal paste.
Do you spread it or add the thermal paste differently if the cpu is a dual core or quad core ?
Do you let the heatsink spread it, or you do it yourself ?
Do you apply it only once, or more then once ?

Thank you all in advance for the input and knowledge sharing :)
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More about themal paste know
  1. i put a line and spread evenly with the edge of a credit card.
  2. i did alot of research and i challenge any one to find a better way

    trowl it on even from the center to the edge and smooth so its covered completely and evenly

    add a slight (second )dab to the center and trowl half way to the edges

    you have a high ridge in the middle that pushes the air out, you have extra that is squeezed out. you have covered the entire cpu so you will not have a dry spot.

    your twist the cooler back and forth when tight - slightly

    when removing cpu heatsinks i have never see a dry spot.
    with dished coolers you have extra in the center

    its never failed
  3. yes

    but don't you get best thermal conductivity with as little as possible?
  4. get a xiggy hdt-1283, put a line down the middle of all 3 pipes and chuck it on :)
  5. Traditionally... I put a dot (size of a bb) on the IHS, not the bottom of the HS. Then I spread it out to cover the total IHS.

    Your only covering a very small area, if you think about it. A good twist will get air out, but in some cases, you really can't turn the HSF much.

    I do have a pic of my Q6600 resting on the bottom of tuniq HS to see the gap that needs to be filled:

    And my E4400:

    and another pic with thermal grease (white stuff) to fill in the gap (E4400):

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