How to apply thermal paste?

forgive me if this has been gone over many times, i am at the beginning of my plan tobuild my own pc, not too keep costs down, or to have the ebst spec around, really just to have a go at building a better pc then we currnetly have.

I am thinking of the thermal paste appliance - i currnetly replace the thermal compound on xbox consoles with some artic silver, i apply a small dap to the chip and spread it about thinly using a childs glue spreader (these are really great btw for consoles at least, they are soft and flexible) is this suitable for pcs? or i have read somewhere of a small pea size in the middle then attach the cpu / gpu and when its on itll heat up and spread? (doesnt sound to safe, but if its the correct way then so be it) :)
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More about apply thermal paste
  1. You apply it by following the directions on the package.

    They are all different and require different amounts.
  2. Go to the arctic silver web site, and they have detailed instructions with photos on how to apply the paste correctly.

    The drop in the middle works. Try it, then take the cooler off and you will satisfy yourself. Then do it again.

    The big mistake is to use too much, which acts as an insulator. The only purpose of paste is to fill in microscopic air pits in the mating surfaces.
  3. If you apply only a dab in the middle and allow it to spread out by applying pressure to the HS you will end up with a circular transfer pattern ignoring the corners of the CPU. Personally, I think this is a dumb thing to do however others would argue the point. I use a credit card to spread a thin layer evenly over the entire surface of the CPU. IMHO this allows for the maximum heat transfer possible.
  4. You could try looking up a video on YouTube, they are very informative. Just make sure to watch several videos.

    Failing that, a small rice-grain sized drop in the centre of the IHS will almost always yield good results.
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