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Which is the proper way to apply thermal paste for a Quad core?

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#2
I use evenly across the entire surface for all applications.
 
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#3
Both methods are good but personally I always use the spread thin and evenly method
 
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#4
Well some people just do a thin layer across the whole surface (not me though; what a pain) but I remember at least one prominent manufacturer had directions showing to use a thin line of paste but from right to left as opposed to from up to down depending on whether or not you had a dual or quad (based on the physical placement of the cores inside the chip). I'll see if I can find it.

But honestly the difference you will see if any will probably be nominal. Though certainly can't hurt to try and do it the best way possible, of course. Ideally you should trial and error test but that's a major PITA.

Edit: First 2 Links
 
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#5
I do thin spread with AS5, but "line" style with MX-2.
 

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#6
Put a small spot in the middle and put the heatsink on. If you are putting enough thermal paste on to allow you to spread a thin layer on the entire IHS, you are using way too much TIM and are likely hurting performance.
 
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#7
Well some people just do a thin layer across the whole surface (not me though; what a pain) but I remember at least one prominent manufacturer had directions saying use a thin line but from right to left as opposed to from up to down depending on whether or not you had a dual or quad based on the physical placement of the cores inside the chip. I'll see if I can find it.
See that is silly to me because it implies only the cores need to be cooled off. There is a lot of components in a chip and they all need to be cooled even if they are the primary source of the heat. Second, thermal paste is there to fill in any small imperfection that you can't see with the naked eye on the surface of the chip and cooler plate. Thus the ultimate goal is to get a even, thin layer covering the entire surface of the chip.

the least messy is the sandwich bag trick. You put a small amount in the center of the chip, cover it with a sandwich bag, and spread it evenly using either your finger or a razor blade. Trust me, the crap is hard to get off your fingers.
 

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#8
See that is silly to me because it implies only the cores need to be cooled off. There is a lot of components in a chip and they all need to be cooled even if they are the primary source of the heat. Second, thermal paste is there to fill in any small imperfection that you can't see with the naked eye on the surface of the chip and cooler plate. Thus the ultimate goal is to get a even, thin layer covering the entire surface of the chip.

the least messy is the sandwich bag trick. You put a small amount in the center of the chip, cover it with a sandwich bag, and spread it evenly using either your finger or a razor blade. Trust me, the crap is hard to get off your fingers.
The pressure from the heatsink spreads out the TIM. And the only parts of the CPU that touch the IHS, and hence the only parts of the CPU that recieve any cooling from the heatsink are the cores. None of the other components touch the IHS, so they aren't coolers, no matter how you apply the TIM.
 
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#9
Put a small spot in the middle and put the heatsink on. If you are putting enough thermal paste on to allow you to spread a thin layer on the entire IHS, you are using way too much TIM and are likely hurting performance.
This is what I end up doing these days. Its easy to use too much still as well even just trying to do a "dot". The cores on a quad are essentially right there in the general center anyway. LaughingMan makes a great point too though, especially as those instructions are for Core 2.

Again, trial and error testing would be best. In other words, try every method and see which if any gives lowest load temps.
 
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#10
Put a small spot in the middle and put the heatsink on. If you are putting enough thermal paste on to allow you to spread a thin layer on the entire IHS, you are using way too much TIM and are likely hurting performance.
That's exactly how I do ;)

Also, I remember reading this article a while ago after having the same doubt:

linky

Another one from www.overclockers.com:



 
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#11
if you do the pea size dot in the middle it spreads as you put on heatsink pushing air out and therfore removing air bubles
 
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#12
The dot will work well if you wriggle and press, but on occasion it can end up lopsided so I switched to the X method. Remember with HDT heatsinks it's totally different. You apply to the heatsink along the center dividers between the heatpipes for roughly half the length of the divider.
 
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#13
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#14
First tin it with a small amount, then a horizontal line for a quad. Works very well.
 
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#15
The pressure from the heatsink spreads out the TIM. And the only parts of the CPU that touch the IHS, and hence the only parts of the CPU that recieve any cooling from the heatsink are the cores. None of the other components touch the IHS, so they aren't coolers, no matter how you apply the TIM.
While true. The entire ihs is going to get really hot.
 

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#16
I spread the TIM evenly over the whole surface of the CPU heatspreader.
 
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#17
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#18
Put a small spot in the middle and put the heatsink on. If you are putting enough thermal paste on to allow you to spread a thin layer on the entire IHS, you are using way too much TIM and are likely hurting performance.
yap small drop on the center of processor
but if you use direct touch hsf i usually put the paste on it on line pattern across the heatpipe
 
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#19
From a physics point of view it's all about surface area contact. If the heatsink surface covers the entire CPU plate then you should apply enough TIM to cover the entire plate. This way heat is being transferred and dissipated from CPU to heatsink over a greater surface area. To me a thin even layer on the CPU makes more sense than a pea dot or a line. Don't forget that our arms, hands and fingers aren't precision robotic machines so it's more likely that you won't rest the heatsink onto the CPU evenly thereby screwing up the proper spread of the paste.

I'd go thin even layer FTW
 
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#20
this will create air bubbles.
I don't understand. When you purchase a heatsink with thermal paste pre applied it is a thin layer, evenly applied (no bubbles).

They don't put a dot in the middle.
 
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#21
I don't understand. When you purchase a heatsink with thermal paste pre applied it is a thin layer, evenly applied (no bubbles).

They don't put a dot in the middle.
herm...... who are you buying from that gives you a THIN layer of TIM? have you seen under the heat sink of Nvidia / AMD GPU's?

often they will use Thermal Pads not paste. the last 2 CPU's i bought, a 1055T and 1090T had a thick layer of TIM on the Heat Sink.





i have also never seen a higher end heat sink come with thermal paste pre applied.
 
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#22
Small drop, then let to force do its job by putting heatsink on.
 

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#23
While true. The entire ihs is going to get really hot.
Not it isn't, the small dot spreads out to cover almost the entire IHS, or actually does cover the entire IHS. If it doesn't then your mounting system isn't applying enough pressure. And the IHS isn't going to get any hotter than the CPU cores themselves, so as long as your cores are cool, the IHS isn't going to get super hot. If the cores are getting hot, then you've applied the thermal paste wrong or your cooling solution isn't good enough.
 
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#24
Not it isn't, the small dot spreads out to cover almost the entire IHS, or actually does cover the entire IHS. If it doesn't then your mounting system isn't applying enough pressure. And the IHS isn't going to get any hotter than the CPU cores themselves, so as long as your cores are cool, the IHS isn't going to get super hot. If the cores are getting hot, then you've applied the thermal paste wrong or your cooling solution isn't good enough.
Wow. What I said had nothing to do with any particular technique or cooling solution.

If you do not put any form of thermal control on the CPU, the nature of metal and heat transference dictates more than the spot where the cores touch will get hot. Heat does not move in strait ....nevermind.

Dude, follow the instructions provided with your TIM. If you didn't get any, follow the ones with the cooler.

I am using pre-made pads of cooling solution from now on.
 
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#25
For me it depends on the situation. If it's directly on the die, a small dot (pea-like, whatever) of TIM in the center. If it still has the heat-spreader, I spread the TIM, covering all the surface with a thin layer, using a plastic card. I do that on the cooler too. My cooler is a HDT type and temps don't go over 40ºC (65W CPU, stock clocks, room temp ~18ºC), feels right.