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A question regarding processor heat sink paste

Last response: in CPUs
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August 19, 2009 10:02:40 PM

I'm a newbie to building system so I'm having a guy that has built some systems help me the first time out but I'm wondering if he's right or wrong in regard to heat sink paste.

I bought a new Intel Core I7 920 CPU and I assumed that it came with heat sink paste but when we opened the box there wasn't any. The guy that was helping me said I would need to buy some at the local parts store which isn't the issue. Today I was speaking with another associate who said none was needed as the cpu fan that came with the processor already has the paste applied as 3 thin strips of gray material. I contacted the guy helping me and he said that what is there isn't enough and a bit more would be needed if I was ever going to overclock the machine. I talked to yet another associate who said that putting more paste on top of what was already there was the wrong thing to do as it would not spread evenly and create hot spots.

So my question is who's right? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
August 19, 2009 10:17:46 PM

Hmmm,buy yourself some Arctic Silver 5,[clean off whatever gunk is there now] spread it on [the bottom of the heat sink] as thin as a cigarette paper,install..:) 
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August 19, 2009 11:14:47 PM

strictly speaking the pre-applied stuff and quantity is perfectly ok for oem HSF's from Intel. However if you plan to overlock the cpu, then best you buy a thrid party HSF Titan Fenrir is very good
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August 19, 2009 11:32:36 PM

Intel isn't going to put an inappropriate amount of thermal gel on the heat sink they sold with their processor, if they did then they would seriously lose business.

However, if you don't know what kind of thermal gel is on there and you want to OC, then it is worth your time and couple bucks to pick up some quality goo. Arctic Silver 5 or the Tuniq TX-2 are two very good choices.

When applying the thermal gel, dokk is right on. You want to apply enough so that you can evenly spread it over the entire surface of the CPU. You want it to be as thin as possible while still covering the entire area. The idea of spreading it as thin as possible is to maximize heat transfer. This is one of those cases where less is more.

Just take your time with it 8) good luck
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September 12, 2009 10:15:01 PM

If you are using the stock Intel Heatsink that comes with the retail CPU, the applied strips are just fine. If you upgrade to a better cooler, get some thermal goop.
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September 12, 2009 11:05:12 PM

+1 to the other posters. The standard heatsink with the standard fan and the standard "thermal interface material" (as Intel likes to call the grey strips) should be fine for a standard system. For an overclocked system (or if you want to minimize fan speeds to build a quiet system) then you'll probably want to buy a third-party heatsink with a third-party fan (if it doesn't come with one) and use some thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5.
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