Which method is the best to apply thermal paste? I keep hearing pea size method, but every video I watch just makes a big circle of compound. Isn't it suppose to cover the entire chip or is it just the center that's important?
The best method depends on the processor (shape and size) if I remember right. I typically use the 3 thin lines method myself. The BB works well on small size cpu's line the old athlons. I havent see the circle method yet. LoL - i guess its time to check it out.
It partially depends on the cooler and the paste, if its a heatsink with grooves between the heat pipes multiple thin lines can work better, for square based ones with no visible heatpipes you can get similar results with different techniques. Ideally you want the thermal paste to get into every air gap between the CPU and the heatsink.
I disagree with using the pea size method of applying thermal paste. I prefer to apply a very thin covering of thermal paste over the entire die. That way you can be sure that the whole die is covered and any excess is squeezed out. Using the pea size method gives the possibility that some parts of the die are not covered. Why don't you try both methods several times and see what way gives the most reliable consistent coverage of thermal paste. (I have) In practice if done with care both methods give similar results but I feel more confidence with the total coverage of the die method.