i5 2500k CPU. I'm gonna re-apply the thermal compound and am getting confused again looking at the web and all the various methods of application. Should I use the Pea, the rice grain, the line, the credit card spread?????
Arctic silver website says to use the 'line' vertically applied for my i5, but others say that it's better to use a credit card and spread a very thin layer just to 'fill in' the microscopic grooves.
Everybody has their own method for application so you are just going to have to figure out what method YOU prefer. I personally just put a BB-sized dot in the middle and turn the HSF a couple of times on installation to spread it around (do not lift up after placing HSF on cpu). As you said, there are lots of other "recommended" ways but this is the way I do it. Feel free to experiment and check back with us!
Try some IC Diamond , Shin Etsu or MX-4. Those seem to be top tier. I use IC Diamond myself. It dropped my GTX 460 temps 4C idle and 7C load over the stock EVGA paste.
You said you have a 300 Illusion case right? Great case with good airflow. You may want to go with an aftermarket cooler like the Hyper 212+ ($30) or even better Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B ( $40 ). What RAM do you have?
I use the "pea" method recommended by IC.
My Mugen 2 keeps my 2600K in the low 30s C at idle and high 60S C under Prime 95 load. Overclocked to 4.5 with Hyperthreading on.
I have the Hyper 212+. Someone once recommended the "crop" method (that;s what I call it). In the grooves on the bottom of the heatsink, I put enough in the grooves (the middle ones) so it protrudes enough that it looks like crop lines.
It is true, whatever works best for you. I used the sandwich bag, credit card, and pea sized method. For myself, I like the crop method