How to correctly apply thermal paste


May 8, 2007
How do you correctly apply thermal paste to a intel 775 chip (E6700)?
I have heard differing things..

1. Should you place only a vertical stripe of paste down the middle (see page 4 on artic silver TIM instructions - link below)

2. Should you spread the paste with a credit card to cover the entire intel heatspreader before applying the heatsink/fan?

3. How much paste do you use? Do you ultimately want all of the 775 heatspreader covered? If so, the "grain of rice" suggestions that many advocate seems too small a quantity ?

Artic silver thermal paste instructions (Intel 775)


May 27, 2007
Yes, the thin line in 2/3rd large of IHS, near the middle is the best way.

With CPUs having an IHS, the grain of rise is a bad idea
I tried putting more paste, it didn't change temperatures, but it could increase them if too much I believe
So, yes, page 4 photo is the way to go
Yes, use arctic silver's instructions on the Web. Too much thermal grease will cause higher temperatures and can cause it go where it can interefere with other components, like the CPU.


May 20, 2006
For a dual core processor, the line is the best way. For a single core, the grain of rice is correct. The reason for this is that for the single core, the core is in the middle of the chip, but for a dual core the cores are stacked above / next to each other.

Remember that the heat spreader that you can see is much larger than the processor itself underneath it.


Aug 5, 2006
I used a baggy and put a thin layer of AS5 on my E6600. Haven't had any problems and temps are rock solid. I'm running her at 3.6 with a Tuniq Tower.


Apr 10, 2007
I dont know anybody who actually does a stripe or whatever. Everybody i know just does the plain ole' smear it all over method. The consistency of AS5 is really hard to get right, if you put too much your CPU will BURN UP, make sure you check your temps when you first apply it. Personally i take a small little bit, and a plastic bag, put my finger in the bag, and smear a thin layer across the top of the IHS.


Jan 22, 2006
ethel is right about different amount for different chips. Just follow AS's instructions.

Here is a shot of my q6600 installed in the MB with AS5 right before I added the HS. It shows the right amount FOR MY SYSTEM given a lapped HS and CPU . You may have to experiment with is several times to get it right. Before I url=]lapped my CPU[/url] and heat sink, I used way less AS5. When I tried that same small amount I used before lapping on the lapped hardware, my temps were very high. I used a bit more (see pic below) and they're great now.

The red triangle I drew shows where that tag is on the CPU, remember that on quad core chips, the dies are placed in a different located relative to a dual core, see the instructions on AS5's website for more on this.



I typically use a small pea-sized blob in the center of the heat sink--regardless of how many cores--and leave it like that. I then seat the heatsink and with firm pressure twist it one way then the other repeatedly until I start to feel resistance. Once resistance is felt, you know the paste is thoroughly spread and there are no bubbles. You can now tighten the screws or push in the pins. Using this method has produced the best results for me. My idle temp is at 37c on average with the temp only going up to 52c under full load, even after several hours of gaming. The paste I use is Dynex, which comes in a rather large tube (5g instead of .5g) at Best Buy--$9.99. Used properly, you can get around 15-20 uses out of it.

Simply put, there is no special trick or method, just make sure the heat spreader is thoroughly covered and that there are no air bubbles. You will be surprised how much your performance will increase if your CPU is nice and cool. With the stock heat compound on my C2D, I was getting maybe 25 FPS (even with 2 9500GTs in SLI mode) in Assassin's Creed II. After re-applying this good paste, the cooler CPU was able to pump out around 38 FPS, which is just fine.



Sep 5, 2013
I'm new to the computer tech side of things but have some background in heat transfer applications.

The thermal paste acts as a conductive layer between the processor and heat sink to help transfer the heat between the two surfaces. Areas that do not have the paste have a very small gap of air. Air is a gas and a insulator (think double pane glass in houses), It is not as effective at transferring heat as liquids and solids. Too much paste can also prevent good heat transfer since more material is between the heat sink and processor than what is necessary to get rid of the air space.

So your best bet, a thin layer of paste that is just enough to get rid of the air space between the two surfaces.

Personally, i would cover the whole surface of the computer chip with a thin layer and not follow the rice and pea conventions. Although the heat may be centralized around certain locations in the computer chip, it is a good idea to allow it a path to conduct through liquid and metal in all directions rather than inhibiting it slightly with pockets of air between the processor and heat sink.
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