How much Thermal compound need?


Jan 22, 2009
How much do i need to put thermal compound on my I7 920 cpu?

A very thin layer?
a drop like a nickle?
a drop like a quarter?



Jun 5, 2007
It's best to apply it as evenly as possible with either a gloved finger or something like a credit card.

Thermal paste is cheap, so use a small pea size since it's your first time, but wipe off the excess. You dont want too little, because it will still leave air pockets between the CPU and HSK. But you dont want too much because it will insulate the heat.

Like a said, a thin even coat. Use a surgical glove or a thin card.
I used to test how much was enough. Put a line on, spread it a bit by attaching (and slightly twisting) the heat sink. Remove the heat sink. Look at what resulted. Clean it off, adjust the size of the line, rinse and repeat until what I saw was the heat sink mostly covered with a layer of paste. Then clean and apply one more time.

Then I noticed some coolers are delivered with paste pre-applied, always (in my experience) covering the entire heat sink, and figured that couldn't be the perfect amount for every application, but it works.

So now I put a gob on and scrape/spread it with an appropriate straight-edge, like a credit card. That seems to work for me, too.


Oct 23, 2008
This is my rule of thumb:

Put about a grain of rice sized bit on there.

I wouldn't use a credit card or something like that. They are too inflexible and don't make it as easy. If you can find one, get a pack of matches that has a glossy exterior cover and use that side to do it. Or, find something made of a thinner, more-flexible plastic than a credit card. It will let you more easily drag a flat surface that will allow it to spread more evenly.

Get as thin of a layer as possible of thermal paste across the entire surface of the CPU. Thermal paste, as has been said by others, is made to fill in the microgaps between the CPU heatshields and the cooler where there are micro scratches. Air is the WORST thermal conductor. Hence, you want a layer of thermal paste that completely covers the surface of the CPU while being as thin as possible so that the CPU and heatsink make as much direct contact as possible.

I also will use whatever spreading tool I have to drag the paste across the CPU both left and right. As soon as I have it covered one direction, I then go up and down with it.

If you can't cover the entire CPU with what you applied, put a very small amount on (just a small dot) and spread that to the open spots on the CPU. Do that until you cover the CPU with the minimum possible.

I used to apply thermal paste in somewhat more quantity, and it made my temps higher. Now doing this, my temps have dropped about 5-8C. So, it can make a big difference.

Good luck.


Nov 28, 2008
I apply a little dot. Then get a firm plastic card and spread it out, so that the thermal paste is a thin as possible. If I need to a little more to a spot, I do, but just enough to cover all the surface area. But remember as thin of layer as possible.


Jul 1, 2007
About the thickness of a cigarette paper,the purpose of the TIM is to fill the microholes between the 2 pieces of metal,which ,by the way,is the best way to conduct heat..:)


May 19, 2008
I bought some "nano grease" I think the shop called it just because it came with an thin flexible plastic applicator. Havent used the grease but applicator is great when I apply AS5 makes it much easier than credit card etc.