This is a relatively quick and simple question that I should know the answer to, but wanted to verify with all of the much more experienced visitors to tom's world. I recently purchased a P3-850 boxed retail version CPU and it came with heat sink and fan. My question has to do with the assembling of the two.
No thermal grease was included, but instead I found a white square of an almost tacky substance on the back of the heatsink/fan combo. Does this white stuff obviate use of the thermal grease or do I need to purchase my own and apply that as well??
The reason why I ask is that I bought the Plip3 powerleap slocket adaptor as well to accommodate the lower voltage of the coppermine that my MB would not otherwise be able to support. After the upgrade, I have had stability issues at times in the form of random restarts, even periods of infinite restart loops, whereas other times the computer will operate better than ever for days at a time. I have not been able to come up with an explaination for this, but I thought that possible overheating of the P3 because I didn't apply thermal grease if necessary might be a good place to start.
You can use the pad or you can remove it and use thermal paste. Pentium chips run cool enough that you don't have to have thermal paste, but for all the cost that it is, you might as well.
I scrape off the thermal pad with a soft tool (plastic or something). Then clean it thoroughly, until there is no residue of thermal substance or cleaning fluid. I usually just use tissues then give it a wet and dry wipe (Yes we're still talking computers guys).
Apply a very small amount of paste to the die of the processor. About the size of a small ball bearing. Spread it around the die gently (again I use a piece of flexible plastic as a spatula). You only need enough to fill the machined grooves in the heatsink, so a 'true' flat surface is achieved.
The paste doesn't dry out, so take your time and don't be afraid to wipe away excess or start again.
That done, you're ready to attach the heatsink to the socket. Just be careful to make sure you keep the heatsink level as you attach it. This ensures less chance of excessive pressure on any corner of the die. After that, attach the HSF power cable to "Fan 1" on your mobo, and presto! tis done.