having built about a dozen systems in the past, I have always wondered about the amount of paste folks use.
I have the Artic Silver, something, so it is good paste.
My rule is the entire CPU covered, to the thickness of about a sheet of printer paper, and then a vey thing, almost translucent layer on the heat sink to make sure there are no gaps....
Is this the amount other folks use? I saw on a website where they basically put a small blob, somewhat oblong in shape, on the CPU and relied on the heatsink pressure to spread the paste as (or where) needed.
just bear in mind that paste is only designed to fill microscopic imperfections between the cooler and chip, i only used a small pea sized amount and spread the heatsink with a thin layer using a card. Im not sure exactly how much you sue but sounds reasonable, long as its not used excessively its fine, needless amount reduce its efficiency.
I would use Arctic Silver's recommendation for your processor. It seems to work best in my experience if you follow their instructions. It's more important to have really good thermal contact near the cores than to have ok contact across the heatsink.
I used to do what you do minus the thin layer on the heat sink.
Now I just put a blob in the middle, then using the heatsink I press the blob down with a twisting and circular motion followed by securing it with the clip/screws. Never really used stock coolers so I usually don't have the heat sink cage blocking movement.
Obviously, before applying the paste, both the CPU and heatsink are cleaned thoroughly.