Question Applying thermal paste

NadeMagnet69

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Jul 20, 2020
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My Arctic 240 liquid freezer II thermal paste came in a flat bag like container. Was much harder to squish it out and apply a good pea size than the Cooler Master hyper evo 212 that I installed on my old PC, which came in a nice small syringe. The, lol, can't even call it a pea, more like a blob, ended up slightly off center. I tried to use the bag it came in to spread it a bit more to the center but it just made the blob worse. The arctic AIO mount is also huge so I can't see if any squished out. Do you have to clean and reapply if I pop it off and check the coverage and see if I made a mess? There is absolutely no way to look around the CPU with it mounted. Or should I just wait and finish building and then check my temp and compare it to what others are reporting with their installs?
 
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Karadjgne

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What cpu?
If it's Intel or Ryzen 2000 or prior, just using a blob is sufficient, but not for a Ryzen 3000.



This is a Ryzen 3600. Intel and prior Ryzen used a monolithic die under the IHS, just a single, centered chip. With the Ryzen 3000 they use 2-3 chips for the cores for thermal control of adjacent cores. This puts the chips right at the edges/corners of the IHS (see the proximity to the lines surrounding the chips, that's the IHS area). Pea blob isn't recommended because it's invariably circular and stands a good chance of not being present at the edges/corners.

Instead, use the 'spreader' method, same pea but manually spread the paste using a plastic spatula or credit card etc, making sure to get a nice, uniform coverage of the entire cpu.

To answer, pull the cooler and check. If it's a lopsided install you may not have the coverage you need. It's new paste, but should still be replaced, you should have plenty left. Yes, that means scraping off the old paste and a quick wipe off, you shouldn't need to get it spotless. It doesn't dry out That fast.
 
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NadeMagnet69

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Sorry, it's an intel I7. And I don't have plenty left. The AIO only comes with a single use packet. I do have some left over from my EVO 212 that I installed a few years ago. But it's cheap stuff, I mean it has to be. The whole cooler was like 30 bucks so they aren't exactly sending the best paste. Should I order some better paste and start over or just wait and see what temps I get?
 

Gam3r01

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Sorry, it's an intel I7. And I don't have plenty left. The AIO only comes with a single use packet. I do have some left over from my EVO 212 that I installed a few years ago. But it's cheap stuff, I mean it has to be. The whole cooler was like 30 bucks so they aren't exactly sending the best paste. Should I order some better paste and start over or just wait and see what temps I get?
Youd be surprised at how decent stock paste can be, since most of these companies dont make a "worse" paste just for cooler sales.
Even then, a "good" paste only has a few C advantage over a cheaper paste.
 

NadeMagnet69

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Jul 20, 2020
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True but some have a shelf life a lot different than others. Like Noctua's is 3 years. MX-4 is 8 years. I don't know what the Cooler master gel's life is, which doesn't help me anyways because I can't for the life of me remember exactly when I bought the EVO 212 or how long it was sitting on a shelf before I bought it. I just ordered arctic mx-4 to be on the safe side.
What do you recommend when applying? Like what style? Many say pea or grain of rice in the middle and then install. Many say spread it out like Karadjgne here said to do. The MX-4 I ordered comes with a spatula so I'm assuming the spread method is better. But doing it that way how do people stop it from squishing out the sides? Spread method seems more dangerous.
 

Phaaze88

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Shelf life? Pfft!
With how often I like to get my hands in my PC, that means nothing to me. I'll have gone through an entire tube of 10g well before the 3 years storage time on the NT-H2 I currently use.
[I might have a little OCD when it comes to my PC...]

The purpose of paste is not cooling, but a bridge. If that bridge is set up correctly, then the heatsink and fans can do their work correctly, since they're the ones doing the bulk of the work anyway.
The small temperature difference between brands is just sprinkles on the cake, and does nothing when the paste isn't applied correctly, or has dried up; thermals then 'run away'.

Application depends on the cpu and the paste being used. I use the 5 point method around the 7820X's die. NT-H2 does not appear to spread as easily as the old one did, as I found the traditional center application to not get complete coverage over the die.
 
Opinions vary as to application method.
Results differ only minimally.

My advice is to go ahead and see how you do.
If you got things on adequately, your idle temperatures should be 10-15c. over ambient.

If you need to remount, yes, clean off the cooler and the processor.
Alcohol will do it.
I use a paper coffee filter for lint free removal.

The purpose of paste is to fill in microscopic irregularities in the mating surfaces.
Air is a poor conductor of heat, paste is better.
But, paste is not as good as metal to metal contact.
That is why one should not use too much paste.
Usually a small rice sized drop in the center will spread out under heat and pressure, leaving no air bubbles.
 
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