Some notes on applying thermal paste to the Xigmatek

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Good discussion and good information! The single edged razor blade approach is good; so is the ziploc wrapping approach. I will look at the microinch finish of the CPU and heat sink, and then decide which method to use. A sandwich bag (0.5 mil) might give me a better feel when using fingers.

What I would have liked to see from the manufacturers (CPU, heat sink) would have been the relative heat transfer coefficients (quantified). Without that, checking temps would only yield approximate (ball park) numbers.

Some day we may see thermal compounds on a small evaporative non-shedding patch which will leave a micro thin residue of the thermal compound. The amount of this layer can be controlled by the viscosity of the thermal paste as well as the carrier. An environmentally friendly product(s) can be developed for this purpose. This will surely reduce the amount of guesswork and expertise required for the proper application of thermal paste. (Computer manufacturers can use robotic spray dispensing equipment to meter out the right amount). Analogous to automotive fuel injection. Vapor deposition is also a viable alternative.

I guess, the chip guys and the CPU cooler guys are too busy with the nano chips technology, to think of ways to cost reduce and simplify computer building.


Nov 25, 2007
i have the Xiggy hdt-s1283 on a amd phenom ii x3 720 (unlocked 4th core, OC'd to 3.6 at 1.45v, idle ~30C, full load 51C)

I used Dynex TIM, spread it on the Xiggy using a plastic card, filling in all the cracks between the tubes and leaving a very thin layer.

I've been told by a few people to change to MX2 or equiv and to get a different cooler (Hyper 212+) so I can turn the cooler to point the fan out towards the case exhaust fan.

I'm reluctant to spend more money on another cooler, when I think between either re-applying the Dynex differently, or maybe some MX2 and maybe spending a few dollars on a better fan might yield the same results.

Any thoughts?

How are you guys lapping these top-heavy tower HDT coolers?

I'd like to try and acheive the best cooling bang for the buck with what I have or minimal modification.


Installing the other fan in the front of your case would be the higher priority....

Having said that, this thread is actually referenced in several current guides, so I would prefer that you not put unrelated photos in. Starting a new thread and sending PMs to the folks you would like to respond works wonders.

There were some guides to lapping heatsinks here, but perhaps they were unstickied.



Well, the whole idea here is to avoid air bubbles in the grooves in HDT coolers. I think OCZ freeze is a bit thinner... but if it will stay in the grooves well enough to finish installation I would say yes. That's the key. Will it survive inverting the cooler and applying it to the CPU? You'll have to tell me.
The best route to take is test fitting the Xiggy and inspecting the contact footprint, you should see the picket fence effect on the CPUs heat spreader, that means you've properly filled the grooves.

Note in the pictures there is no squish out around the sides, the coverage is even and very thin and that is what you want, no matter how many different suggestions to apply thermal compound you encounter, the end result needs to be whats shown here, for your best cooling results.

I do not want to think?, I may have properly applied the thermal compound, I want to know its properly applied, and that takes a little more effort on your part of the installation.



There ya go.

Although I favor not having wall-to-wall coverage like that because then it's harder to say if you have too much or not. If the TIM spread out as far as it could but didn't quite make it to all the edges, I still have everything covered but know that it's as thin as it can be.
Some additional information:
During the 4th. week of Feb 2010, I upgraded my EVGA E758 motherboard to EVGA's 760 Classified board. Since I had to re-install the CPU, heatsink, etc., I decided to try out 'lapping'. The heatsink base had enough mass to prevent it from bowing under thermal stresses; therefore, lapping (or polishing as I would like to call it) was an easy decision. I lapped/polished the CM V8 base to a flatness of approx. 4 microinches in 1 1/2 inches, and obtained a surface finish of approx. 4 microinches.

Now the CPU. The heat spreader of the CPU is a shallow drawn component made in a progressive die. There is no way of predicting the mode of expansion, other than by elaborate lab experiments, or by actual 'before and after' temperature measurements. Therefore, I decided to leave the CPU alone. (It might be a good idea to polish off the high spots at the corners of the heat spreader).

To apply AS5 thermal compound to these surfaces, I wrapped my finger with plastic wrap, and applied the compound. I did need to level off the compound using a single edged razor blade. After a thin layer of compound was applied to both surfaces, I re-assembled the system and checked the temps.

I observed a consistent 5 to 8 degrees C drop in the CPU temps under identical before and after conditions. This drop in temps can be attributed to the slight concavity in the base of my V8 heatsink before I polished the base flat. CPU unchanged.

An interesting point. After changing the motherboard, I had to call Microsoft to get Windows 7 to be activated. Must be done again should I need to re-install Win 7. The activation code on the original OEM package does not work when the motherboard is changed.

Cooler Master HAF 932 - EVGA 141-BL-E760-A1 Classified - Intel i7-920 DO @ 2.66 GHz (OC to 3.0 GHz) - CM V8 - Corsair CMPSU-850HX 850W RT - EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR - GTX 275 R (GeForce) - Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 – (6x2GB) 12GB Model CMD12GX3M6A1600C8 - Windows 7 – 64-bit - Seagate 1TB x3 (2 of these are in RAID1 for data) - ST31000528AS - Two R/W DVD - Scythe Fans Controller - Logisys Multi card reader - Dell 2208WFP 22” LCD Monitor - Bose Companion II Speakers - External backup: Seagate 1TB


Feb 7, 2010
The Ziploc bag or equivalent is much better than directly on your finger like I did, AS5 is extremely stubborn to remove from your skin, even with numerous alcohol pads, traces are still left behind on the skin but Lava soap finishes the cleaning, however it would be best overall to avoid the direct skin contact.
This is just another reason that I prefer Tuniq TX-2 grease over AS5. It spreads like butter, wipes right off, and from what I've seen, has about a 1-2 degree performance lead over AS5. Oh, and it's cheaper, too...
This might just be my system, though... has anyone done any tests comparing these two?

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