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Thermal Paste applied wrong!

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February 3, 2012 3:22:06 PM

Hello,
I built my first computer about three weeks ago and everything went fine. However today when i turned it on the cpu temperature was to high, and i was getting errors etc. So i opened it up to have a look and probably resit the cpu fan.
I took off the cpu fan and the thermal paste wasnt applied correctly. My processor is the intel i3 2100 and i have the stock cpu fan, which has pre applied thermal paste so i didnt think i had to do anything.

So should i spread the thermal paste, or take it off and apply new thermal paste?

Any help appreciated :) 

I can take a photo of the cpu and fan if it would help.
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 3:31:35 PM

Should always remove 'stock' thermal paste. Its garbage 9 times out of 10. Use an alcohol swab and clean it well and re-apply something good.
a c 131 à CPUs
February 3, 2012 3:32:58 PM

You never want to reuse thermal paste.

Clean it all up and apply some fresh stuff.

With the stock cooler, it should just be a matter of installing the heatsink, the pre-applied thermal past should have been fine at that point.

Once removed, new paste is needed.

It is important to ensure that the heatsink is installed correctly. All 4 pins have to make it all the way to the back of the board and grab. This is a common cause of overheating(on or more pins not grabbing right).
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February 3, 2012 3:33:45 PM

okay dokay thanks! :) 

Is the stock fan ok?
February 3, 2012 3:35:15 PM

All you should need is about a pea size of thermal paste placed on the center of your cpu fan.

The purpose of the thermal paste is to fill in the imperfections of the cpu surface. The pressure between the cpu fan and the cpu itself will spread the paste out uniformly.

a c 148 à CPUs
February 3, 2012 3:37:05 PM

myfirstbuild said:
okay dokay thanks! :) 

Is the stock fan ok?

They are okay as long as you don't overclock your CPU and you actually mount it correctly.
February 3, 2012 3:38:18 PM

Thank you again :) 

Is their a particular brand of thermal paste i should get, or is it all good?
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 4:00:29 PM

Artic Silver. So for your situation some simple 5-8$ paste will do fine. I don't take it your gonna try to drown your CPU in power and OC
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 4:03:40 PM

vrumor said:
Should always remove 'stock' thermal paste. Its garbage 9 times out of 10. Use an alcohol swab and clean it well and re-apply something good.


9 out of ten people who say stock thermal pastes are no good have never considered the MILLIONS of computers that use it perfectly well .

OP , Im not sure why you think the stock paste was not applied correctly .
Yes you now have to replace it .
ONE drop in the middle of the processor , spread as thinly as you can . Ideally you'd have perfect metal to metal contact . The tiny bit of paste is only to fill microscopic imperfections and not to form a layer between the parts .

It makes very little difference which paste you use . [ though some people claim they get a degree or two lower with expensive brands ]
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 4:07:50 PM

Outlander_04 said:
9 out of ten people who say stock thermal pastes are no good have never considered the MILLIONS of computers that use it perfectly well .

OP , Im not sure why you think the stock paste was not applied correctly .
Yes you now have to replace it .
ONE drop in the middle of the processor , spread as thinly as you can . Ideally you'd have perfect metal to metal contact . The tiny bit of paste is only to fill microscopic imperfections and not to form a layer between the parts .

It makes very little difference which paste you use . [ though some people claim they get a degree or two lower with expensive brands ]


Really you just don't want air bubbles in the layer between the heatsink and the chip.
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 4:14:08 PM

if the paste layer is thin enough then an air bubble would be impossible
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2012 4:17:11 PM

If you put a spec of paste in the center of your CPU heat spreader (as has been suggested) that spec of paste will extrude into a circular pattern over the square heat spreader omitting the corners. Further, the diameter of the extruded paste pattern will depend on how much paste you use. Any way you look at it this is a VERY imprecise method to do something so important. It's also easy to do correctly. Use the edge of a credit card to spread it evenly over the entire square heat spreader as uniformly as possible. Thinner is better as the intent is only to fill in the microscopic irregularities on both surfaces. It's a lot like buttering toast only smaller.
a c 131 à CPUs
February 3, 2012 5:38:16 PM

Just gonna toss in my 2 cents.

Many users will disagree with the BEST way to apply thermal paste(not sure that a BEST way exists). To be honest, i have used all the methods(and more) without any negative effects. Most of the time, it comes out very close.

What I have seen is in general...

Bare Die(video cards/laptop chips/older cpus)....credit card method(I fine it to waste more paste,but works well for this application)

IHS(Like the OP's cpu).... the line method works well as listed on the AS5 page.
http://www.arcticsilver.com/intel_application_method.ht...

Thinner is generally better, but the heatsink will thin the compound and as long as you do use too much(you dont want it ozzing out all over), the dot method also works just fine(but don't use too much).

On some video cards, thicker(just a bit thicker) ends up working better since the stock heatsink do not seem to fit tight(Some older ATI cards).

They also have methods for exposed heatpipe bases, but that is not needed for the stock cooler.
!