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Thermal Paste Removal/Installation Guide

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a c 110 ) Power supply
May 7, 2012 2:55:45 AM

Today I will be teaching you how to remove thermal paste from your heatsink and processor. Usually people will replace their paste 6-12 months, as paste dries out and temperatures rise!

What you will need:

Isopropyl Alcohol:
At least 70% is needed, 90% if possible. This can be purchased from almost every pharmacy and supermarket, mine is from Walgreens.

This is used to remove the paste from the processor and cooler, be careful not to spill any!

Paper Towels:
These are dabbed in the Alcohol and rubbed on the cooler/processor to remove the Old Paste!


Thermal Paste:
This is to increase the thermal conductivity between the processor and heatsink by filling in microscopic holes between that are on the heatsink and processor.

Whenever a cooler is removed from a processor, new paste needs to be applied. I will be using Arcrtic Silver 5 for todays cooler installation.

Heatsink:
This can be your previous one, or a new one! I will be using the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO


Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Review/Performance: http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/cm_hyper212_evo...
For those of you wondering, I am using an Aerocool Shark 120mm Fan on the 212 EVO with the stock Fan that comes with the EVO as well in a push pull configuration!

Aerocool Shark 120mm Fan Performance Compared to Other 120mm Fans:
The review uses an AMD Black Edition 965 overclocked to 3.9ghz with a Noctua NH-D14.
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 7, 2012 2:55:58 AM

Step One: Removing The Paste From The Heatsink.

Once you have removed your heatsink from your system, open up your alcohol and place a paper towel on top like so:


Then, quickly flip the bottle of alcohol over (paper on top) to get some alcohol onto your paper towel like so:


Now we can begin by placing the part of the paper towel where alcohol is on to the base of the heatsink, and start rubbing back in forth like so:


After you rub for a few seconds, you will notice that your paper towels have taken off some of the paste:


Repeat this process until your heatsink is nice and shiny with no traces of paste on it!:

a c 110 ) Power supply
May 7, 2012 2:56:07 AM

Step Two: Removing Paste from the Processor.

Once you have finished cleaning the heatsink, you are ready to clean the processor!

Apply some rubbing alcohol onto some paper towels, such as in step one:


Then begin rubbing like you did for the heatsink:


As you can see, the thermal paste is completely removed from our i7-2600k and everything is looking good for the next step:

Related resources
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 7, 2012 3:06:13 AM

Step Three: Application of New paste.

Once you have removed the old paste from both your processor and heatsink, you are ready to apply your new thermal paste!

Since we are using Arctic Silver 5, the application will be slightly different. Unlike other pastes, Arctic Silver 5 requires us to apply the paste in a vertical line method on specific processors, in this case we are using the Intel Core i7-2600k.

For a list of processors Arctic Silver specifies, click these links:
Intel: http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.ht...
AMD: http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...



Arctic Silver 5 Performance Compared to Other Compounds
:

Line Method:


Right after applying paste you should install your new cooler! Personally, I use the weight of my cooler to spread the paste. However, you can spread it around to a thin layer with things such as an old credit card.

Step Four: Installation of New/Old Cooler.
Now we have installed the Hyper 212 EVO, we are good to go!


Thermal paste and cooling fan temperature results belong to 4ryan6.

FAQ

How long can I run my system before I need to reapply thermal paste?



May 10, 2012 12:13:54 PM

This was really helpful! I'm surprised more people haven't commented
a b ) Power supply
May 10, 2012 12:17:31 PM

A few of your pictures are not fixed, they're huge.

They were in the stock Intel heat sink area.
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 10, 2012 2:57:24 PM

I'll fix that...in about 5-8 hours.
May 11, 2012 12:40:48 AM

Thanks for the guide!

What is the reasoning between applying Arctic Silver 5 in a line? Should I remove my Hyper 212+ and re-apply my Arctic Silver 5? I used the dot method.
May 11, 2012 1:07:15 AM

In a line, I think that it fits in more with the "lines" of the 212+ copper pipes. However, if you're fine with the temperatures you're getting, you don't need to reapply. I don't think it'll make more than a 1C difference... if that.
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 11, 2012 4:06:11 AM

According to AS5's website, they want you to apply it in a line method. But I don't think you need to re-apply.
May 11, 2012 6:13:49 AM

A few of your pictures are not fixed, they're huge.
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 11, 2012 6:21:44 AM

I could swear I fixed them all by now...which ones if possible? :/ 
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 11, 2012 3:25:44 PM

Images RESIZED! :D 
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 15, 2012 2:33:59 PM

These guys are getting too good...
a c 259 ) Power supply
May 19, 2012 6:08:06 AM

It's a good guide but it's kind of incomplete as Arctic Silver only recommends the line method for some CPUs.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.ht...

http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...

You also have to take in account that is ONLY correct for Arctic Silver as well. Different pastes have different viscosities and spread differently. What works for Arctic Silver will not be correct for the very thick IC Diamond.

http://www.innovationcooling.com/applicationinstruction...
May 19, 2012 6:16:27 AM

Quote:
personally I think you used too much paste...

but very good 'stickie'.
well deserving.


I agree with mal, here.

That's a lot of paste, amuffin.

I apply just a "mid siezed" drop in the middle then start spreading the paste with something like a ruler (straight side, sturdy) over the CPU plate (looking for no dirt or something that might fall over it) leaving the paste as thin as possible and then put the HSF on top.

By far, that's the best method I found to keep the temps low (and save AS5 for future builds, lol).

Cheers!
May 19, 2012 3:32:39 PM

Can I use paper towels that have lint? I'm not sure if my Downy (I think) towels have lint.
Or, should I just use Q-Tips?
May 19, 2012 5:23:14 PM

Any towel or something that don't leave residues on top of the CPU once the liquid is cleared out is fine.

I use Q-Tips to apply the alcohol and then clear it with a towel that leaves no residues.

Cheers!
May 19, 2012 5:45:15 PM

It seems cotton swabs/Q-Tips have more lint than paper towels.
My Bounty Paper Towels are supposed to be fine, so I'll use those if I don't have any coffee filters.
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 19, 2012 6:29:52 PM

Yuka said:
Any towel or something that don't leave residues on top of the CPU once the liquid is cleared out is fine.

I use Q-Tips to apply the alcohol and then clear it with a towel that leaves no residues.

Cheers!

It was my first time applying AS5 so I didn't really know :whistle: 
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 19, 2012 10:46:10 PM

I looked at the photo and tried to put that amount :l
May 22, 2012 4:11:58 AM

Really nice sticky!
Planing on getting a 212+ soon (first non-stock cooler), so i'll keep this in mind :) 
May 26, 2012 8:21:52 AM

Worked brilliantly for me (cheated + used the 'homebrew' method of Vodka
a b ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 2:18:26 PM

anort3 said:
It's a good guide but it's kind of incomplete as Arctic Silver only recommends the line method for some CPUs.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.ht...

http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...

You also have to take in account that is ONLY correct for Arctic Silver as well. Different pastes have different viscosities and spread differently. What works for Arctic Silver will not be correct for the very thick IC Diamond.

http://www.innovationcooling.com/applicationinstruction...


Affirmative!

amuffin said:
It was my first time applying AS5 so I didn't really know :whistle: 


I suggest to make this guide thorough you need to do extensive trial and error test fitting to see how each type of TIM, is going to spread, if it's your first time applying something do it numerous times, inspecting the footprint to see exactly what's going on with the application method you're using.

The original CMH212+ actually needed some pre-application TIM filling on the heat sinks base to fill in between the pipes and aluminum base plate, various different types of coolers with different base finishes require different types of applications and pressures, some are finished to a mirror finish and they're in a class by themselves.

What makes a great sticky is use the advice and criticism to edit it and make it better, do not get discouraged by the criticism, and regarding some of it consider the source and what they may have added to THGF themselves, or are they just sitting on the sidelines doing nothing.

I personally take great pride in your efforts to step up and do something here to help others, and even this can be a stepping stone to a masterful sticky, you take what you learn and use it for your own purposes, you will never please everyone!


a c 110 ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 2:48:03 PM

Will be back in 11-12 hrs to edit ;) 
a c 110 ) Power supply
May 29, 2012 11:10:52 PM

Edited, sort of..
May 31, 2012 5:08:02 PM

Can I use any kind of thermal paste or there's an specific type for each processor?

amuffin said:
Step Three: Application of New paste.

Once you have removed the old paste from both your processor and heatsink, you are ready to apply your new thermal paste!

Since we are using Arctic Silver 5, the application will be slightly different. Unlike other pastes, Arctic Silver 5 requires us to apply the paste in a vertical line method on specific processors, in this case we are using the Intel Core i7-2600k.

For a list of processors Arctic Silver specifies, click these links:
Intel: http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.ht...
AMD: http://www.arcticsilver.com/amd_application_method.html...
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/4406/59010998.jpg


Arctic Silver 5 Performance Compared to Other Compounds
:
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p250/4ryan6/TRAC2.png
Line Method:
http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/5923/29567930.jpg

Right after applying paste you should install your new cooler! Personally, I use the weight of my cooler to spread the paste. However, you can spread it around to a thin layer with things such as an old credit card.

Step Four: Installation of New/Old Cooler.
Now we have installed the Hyper 212 EVO, we are good to go!
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/5995/27468507.jpg

Thermal paste and cooling fan temperature results belong to 4ryan6.

a c 110 ) Power supply
June 1, 2012 5:10:00 AM

Any, I just listed the processors Arctic Silver specifies for their AS5 paste.

Every thermal paste is different in it's own way, make sure to read the instructions before using it!
a b ) Power supply
June 1, 2012 6:53:29 AM

Great guide but paper towels? No. Coffee filters are the way to go.

Galego said:
Can I use any kind of thermal paste or there's an specific type for each processor?

Anything but liquid metal TIM would work. Liquid metal will just destroy your aluminum HSF and the top of your CPU (along with its warranty)
June 2, 2012 12:32:49 PM

I use kitchen wipes myself. They don't leave fibres and are big enough to have plenty of surface area for several iterations of the cleaning process. I usually go over each surface with a new application of alcohol three times (possibly more for IC Diamond because it's so thick). It's surprising how much residual paste can cover each surface even though it looks clean.
a c 110 ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 12:16:40 AM

I wonder how well alcohol wipes would perform.
a c 110 ) Power supply
June 8, 2012 5:02:30 AM

Q/A Section anyone?
June 11, 2012 4:02:46 PM

Quote:
For how much time we have to replace it ?


What do you mean by that?

Once you apply the paste, you have time until dirt gets on the paste or something like that. And once applied, it should last a good 10 years before even worrying, if not more. It really depends on the compound used, but most should last a long time.

Cheers!
a c 110 ) Power supply
June 12, 2012 7:50:05 PM

Quote:
For how much time we have to replace it ?

It really shouldn't have to be replaced, unless you are getting intense temperatures. If not, paste can last a VERY long time before drying up. As well, it depends on the quality of the paste.
a c 110 ) Power supply
June 12, 2012 7:57:15 PM

Guys, help me come up with some common questions and some answers for them. :) 
June 12, 2012 9:06:45 PM

Common questions (from an actual dummy ;)  ):

1) Why replace TIM?
2) How often should you replace TIM?
3) What's some good TIM?
4) What are some other types of TIM? (There's paste and like... a liquid metal)
5) Is there any difference on the application methods? (Lines vs one big glob)
6) What are some common mistakes?

That should get you started! :) 
June 16, 2012 3:47:07 AM

Maybe some pastes dry out in 6 -12 months but I've pulled coolers off of my CPU's after years of usage and found the stuff still sticky, still working. Seems to me if the paste is such poor quality that it dries out that quickly, I'd quit using it.

Then again, there's a company that's selling some sort of plastic/metal type material that needs to be 'burned in', that is to say melted into the interface after it's installed and is supposed to be better than any paste and permanent to boot. I plan to use it on my next build.

I won't name it, don't want to be accused of spamming, but I will say it has a colorful name. Don't want anybody to get the 'blues' over me promoting a product here.
June 16, 2012 1:37:40 PM

Ah... Ladamyre? This entire forum is built on recommending products ;) 

For example, recommending an i5-2500k is perfectly fine... and many people recommend AC5 for TIM. I think you'd only risk getting banned if you did something like nonstop promote an irrelevant product.
June 20, 2012 3:44:26 PM

some questions to the section of "common mistakes"
1. what happens if you put too much paste and it comes out the sides? what are the risks?
2. what happens if you put too little and it doesn't cover the whole surface of cpu case /HS
June 21, 2012 5:50:31 AM

ddan49 said:
Ah... Ladamyre? This entire forum is built on recommending products ;) 

For example, recommending an i5-2500k is perfectly fine... and many people recommend AC5 for TIM. I think you'd only risk getting banned if you did something like nonstop promote an irrelevant product.
OK. It's called Indigo Extreme. (Get it? 'Colorful'? 'Blues'? :lol:  )

Don't hold them to any claim on my part, but the more I think about the stuff and how it's applied the more sense it makes. Then again, I'm one of those overclocking cowboys that'll spend $20 just to get two degrees cooler and thus get 20 more MHZ out of the CPU. When you think about it, that's less than a penny per KHZ! Whoopee!

:pt1cable: 

June 22, 2012 12:49:59 AM

That is pretty awesome. I'm surprised no one did it before (I've thought of it), and even more surprised it actually has benefits. It takes more power to move that thing than a fan.
June 22, 2012 3:18:35 AM

nice find, the only problem i find with it, it has to be mounted without thermal paste at 1/1000th of an inch above surface. Practically that's impossible to achieve in non-lab environment.

Also, it will collect dust and that monstrosity spinning at 2k rpm will make noise, looking at the form it will chop the air so much
June 22, 2012 12:43:21 PM

I'm not following..?
June 22, 2012 6:50:11 PM

I'll believe it when Tom does a review.

Oh, I get the idea about the 'air bearing' and no, it won't take a lab environment to make that reliable, your cars engine does that using oil.

What I don't believe is the claim "X times more efficient than some air coolers".

Hell my 6 year old Zalman is 30 times more efficient than some air coolers too.

That claim is what we used to call 'dooky', don't mean sh... uh... cra... can we say crap?
a c 122 ) Power supply
July 1, 2012 7:07:53 AM

Great job amuffin ;)  i do the size of a pea it works that way fine as well though i know some disagree which is fine to each their own my way works fine for me lol.
a c 110 ) Power supply
July 1, 2012 7:22:10 PM

bigcyco1 said:
Great job amuffin ;)  i do the size of a pea it works that way fine as well though i know some disagree which is fine to each their own my way works fine for me lol.

That would depend on the paste and processor [:lutfij:4]
a c 122 ) Power supply
July 3, 2012 6:46:18 AM

amuffin said:
That would depend on the paste and processor [:lutfij:4]
Very true
July 3, 2012 8:38:53 PM



I wonder if that red stuff can be used as TIM? :kaola: 




Anyway, even with systems with heat spreaders, wouldn't there still be an advantage to spreading the thermal paste over the simple line method? It seems like no matter the TIM, the line method would still place too much in the middle, and not take advantage of all that extra real-estate for transfer. I figure, if you go ahead and spread it out, you only have as much TIM as you need in the center, but also allow better heat "bandwidth" so-to-speak. I say this, because I'm about to get a direct touch heatpipe cooler, and if I only use the line method, I'm making decent contact with only one of the three pipes. But in spreading it, I take advantage of every square-inch of the cooler and IHS.
!