Building my first PC was a nerve racking experience. I about died when I realized how much force and had to use on the lever to get my i5 2500k cpu down. The crackling noises didnt help either.
Anyways, first boot up was successful as well as 2nd boot once everything was in the case. I installed windows and put all my drivers in. I left the computer running for about 45 minutes with no problems.
My only concern is the thermal paste. I used the hyper 212+ fan and it wasnt easy to install. I put 3 small lines of paste on the heatsink between the copper cores. I put the smallest dab in the middle and put it on. The fan moved around a bit because I had such a hard time with the harness on the fan. Everything got screwed down tight.
Whats the best way to test to see if the thermal paste was applied correctly? What should I expect if it wasnt done correctly and can any major damage be done? The idle temp was 29 degrees.
The 29C idle temp is an indicator you did a good job. You can confirm that by doing some stress testing (gaming is a decent way to do that).
Or you can go the Prime95 / OCCT maximum stress testing to check your full load temps.
Based on the idle temps you should get pretty good load temps too.
I'm no expert but this is what I did. My Nehalem CPU when I first turn it on was about 26*C and if my system is on for more than a few hours it stays around 31-33*C but then drops to 29*C. I have the Xigamtek Dark Knight and put the thermal paste on the processor doing lines, then gently patted it down to make sure there is no air. I added a minute amount on the pipes of my Dark Knight (direct contact) and used my finger to spread it out so when the heatsink goes on, the thermal paste is covering the CPU and where it contacts the pipe. It's one spot you dont want to mess with and make sure it's good!