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Thermal paste, how do i know if i did a good job?

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January 21, 2010 3:02:59 AM

i have seen the videos, and tried my best to do the same, once i put the heatsink on, i will i know if it spread evenly and smooth? how can i tell?

More about : thermal paste good job

January 21, 2010 3:04:52 AM

Well, you can remove the HSF and see if it looks good. Of course, then you have to clean both surfaces and reapply the paste. What type of HSF do you have, a normal flat surface one or a core contact (heatpipe) one?
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January 21, 2010 3:10:24 AM

hmm dont know, its the regular one that comes standard with the i7 920, there was some paste there already, my finger touched the outside the paste just barely, i then just put the heatsink on the cpu, the surface looked flat
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January 21, 2010 3:23:22 AM

One of the best ways is to check your CPU temperatures after running a stress test. If it looks normal then you did a good job. If it looks too high then you may need to revisit your heatsink-fan-past combo...
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January 21, 2010 3:25:28 AM

you wont' have to worry about the paste if you're installing the stock heatsink. However, your temps might still be high (the stock heatsink packed with intel processors are notoriously sub-par). You will be fine if you're not overclocking, however if you're looking to overclock or are concerned about the long-term effects of higher temps, consider an upgrade to an aftermarket cooler.
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January 21, 2010 3:27:38 AM

ok thanks, about my finger just barely touching very softly the outside part of the paste?
no big deal?
sorry for this stupid question, but this is my first build
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January 21, 2010 1:17:06 PM

That should be fine, I doubt that did any harm. You could stress test the CPU (with prime95, for example) and record the max temperature and idle temp (with HWMonitor, perhaps) and post it here and we can see if it looks ok.
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January 21, 2010 1:49:03 PM

i've read about doing a dot of it in the middle and about doing two small lines of it.

I'm about to assemble my first build ever also next week, you can't press the heatsink down on it so spread it out, lift the heatsink up to make sure its good and even and then put it back down on the spread out thermal paste again?

I'm kinda a perfectionist and I feel like this is going to be frustrating. :) 
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January 21, 2010 1:57:46 PM

Its not that bad. Honestly, I just put down the "grain of uncooked rice" blob down and put the HSF on and don't worry about it (except for checking temps to make sure they are ok). Unless it is a core contact/exposed heatpipe cooler, then I put lines of thermal paste in the ridges between the heatpipes.
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January 21, 2010 2:07:16 PM

I have a i7 920 chip and a prolimatech megahelems heatsink coming, just put a grain of rice amount down in the middle of the cpu then attach heatsink and check temps?
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January 21, 2010 2:13:12 PM

I believe that is a Core Contact, though I may be wrong. Regardless, if the bottom is a flat plate, use the rice grain method. If it has heatpipes and "valleys", run lines of thermal paste along those.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2010 2:59:05 PM

You're right, there is no reasonable way to inspect the thermal paste spread. The best you can do is follow the recommended procedures and then measure the resulting CPU temperatures under no-load and load situations.

You did not mention it, but presume you removed the protective plastic film that was over the pre-applied thermal past before installing?
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January 28, 2010 10:39:01 AM

there was no protective plastic on mine,
my temps with prime95 are
32c idle, 79-80 c full load
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2010 8:20:15 PM

EXT64 said:
Well, you can remove the HSF and see if it looks good. Of course, then you have to clean both surfaces and reapply the paste.

If you just applied the thermal compound and pulled off the heatsink to check the coverage, as long as you put the heatsink back on immediately, you do not need to reapply the thermal compound.

I have done that about 4 times with no ill effects.

Suggestions for applying thermal compound:
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
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January 28, 2010 8:44:21 PM

I had a feeling that was probably the case, but I recommended it just to be safe. Though as many have very long setting times, a few seconds off should not hurt.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2010 8:45:28 PM

hansolo1999 said:
once i put the heatsink on, i will i know if it spread evenly and smooth? how can i tell?


by the temperature, duh.
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