1.2Ghz 266 Retail, Thermal Pad or Compound?


I just purchased a retail 1.2Ghz 266Mhz Thunderbird (AXIA, came with the L1 bridges uncut).

My question is regarding the HSF that comes with it. The heat sink has what appears to be a thermal pad already attached, with a piece of tape over it. I had purchased some thermal compound to use with the HSF though.

Am I better off using the thermal pad which comes with the HSF or removing it and applying the thermal compound?

If I do remove it, how do I get all the gunk off without damaging the HSF? I thought about using some rubbing alcohol, but really don't want to take chances on ruining my athalon.

Thanks folks.

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  1. What thermal compound did you get?

    Here's a bit of a FAQ for you:
    <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=faq&notfound=1&code=1" target="_new">click here</A>

    Intel Components, AMD Components... all made in Taiwan!
  2. Same here, 1.2gh, AXIA, installed two days ago with Artic Silver II and Alpha cooler. The chip overclocks like a dream currently at 1.33gh at 1.78v with 41c-45c temperature range. Right now system temp is 27c and cpu is 40c.
  3. I would say if you are good at it, scratch off the pad and apply good thermal compound. But if not done well, this may actually increase the temp. The pad is not as bad as it looks. It's pretty effective at circulating heat. When I used it with my GlobalWin FOP32, it was able to keep the CPU temp only 8 degrees above the motherboard temp.
  4. Thermal pad? You sure it is not just tap with thermal grease on the other side. I have a friend who left the tape on his T-Bird HSF in which the temperatures kept on going into the high 60's before his machine would crash. Upon inspection we discovered the tape on the HSF, oops, no damage was done to his cpu afterwards he could overclock with much lower temps in the 40's.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by noko on 05/27/01 00:02 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  5. In my opinion ... it's no contest. Thermal compound is a heck of a lot better than a pad.

    I prepare the heatsink by removing the pad with finger-nail polish remover (acetone) and 600 grit waterproof sandpaper. The trick is to place the sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface, and gently rub the heatsink on it with firm, straight strokes, following the "grain". Taking the pad off won't do any good if the surface is not absolutely level afterwards, as Crashman might tell you. This is why you don't rub the sandpaper on the heatsink with your hand.

    As I work, I begin using progressively finer grits of sandpaper, finishing up with 1500grit. At this point, the pad is completely gone, and the heatsink has a relatively flat, smooth surface. Not completely smooth, but close.

    This kills two birds with one stone. Because the surface of the heatsink has been polished, less thermal compound is needed to fill in the space between the die and the heatsink. In this situation ... less is more, if you catch my drift. A very thin coat of the compound will do a better job of helping to transfer the heat from the die than a thick coat. A heatsink that hasn't been sanded has grooves on the bottom that will cause you to use more thermal compound than necessary.

    Crashman likes to sand down the surface of the die ... but I think that is overkill ... and might damage the processor. But it's your money! What a guy! <GRIN>

    I've got a big sheet of Plexiglass that is perfect for the sandpaper. To make the sandpaper stick to the glass, I use a small amount of water.

    When I'm done, I clean the heatsink thoroughly with alcohol to remove any grit, acetone, or oil from my hands. When it is dry, I apply the thermal compound with a razor blade to the middle of the heatsink in the shape of the die. Use only a tiny amount, and create a smooth, ripple-free area. I try to move as little as possible when settling the heatsink on the die. It's a good idea to have someone give you a hand ... one person to hold the processor very still, and another to fasten the clips. Only use enough pressure to get the clips latched ... and no more. Don't lean on the heatsink when you install it, or push down.

    **Note: If you get the heatsink TOO smooth, the thermal compound won't stick. Once the thermal pad is completely gone ... stop sanding.

    **Second Note: Get the finer grits of sandpaper from an auto parts store ... the kind that is used to sand primer. That will work the best.

    The last heatsink I installed, on a 800MHz Duron, idles at 91 to 93F, and never goes higher than 98 to 99F, even when under a full load ... with just air-cooling. And the guy who owns it doesn't have air-conditioning ... the ambient room temp is usually in the 80's.

    He sure loves how well his games play!

    You gotta admit, those are pretty good temps for a Duron. My Pentium IV is running at 86.4F, right now ... I did the very same thing when I installed it.


    <font color=purple>If there was a reason for everything, having faith would be redundant.</font color=purple>
  6. It may well be thermal grease under the tape after all. Whatever comes with the boxed athalon heatsinks. As for what I have, there's no brand name, just in a small clear tube.

    While I appreciate all the advice on sanding, and it is no doubt a good idea, I don't think I am up to attempting it.

    I figure that whatever comes with the retail box will do, it's under warranty for 3 years after all.

    Thanks all.

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