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Thermal Interface Material

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Thermal Interface Material

Hi, I have posted here a lot recently as I am building a computer and have had some good advice.

I have got all my bits and I am reading all the documents that came with each component at the moment to make sure I don't make any serious mistakes.

I have a A8N-SLI Asus Motherboard and it says I don't need to apply thermal interface material but in the Athlon 64 3000 Processor book it says I should. What do you people say about this?

I will probably be asking a few more dumb questions over the next couple of weeks if you don't mind answering. :roll: Shockedops:

Thanks
10 REPLIES
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Thermal Interface Material

Its all ways worth puting the paste on as it cant do any harm. It does ensure the heat sink and cpu have full thermal contact. Without it if the heatsink is not the right design there may not be full contact
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,305
Thanks: 971
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Thermal Interface Material

A thermal interface material is absolutely essential. If you don't use it you will void your CPU warranty and even worse you could fry your cpu although the automatic switch off may save you
The confusion may have arisen because some processor heat sinks come with a thermal interface pad already attached.
If yours didn't then you must ensure you apply some.
Personally I would recommend Arctic Silver and apply using their instructions
I use Arctic Silver 5 although the Ceramique is supposed to be as good. Note they have different application instructions.

Edited to correct unclear statement
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Thermal Interface Material

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A thermal interface material is absolutely essential.


Very much 2nded. It was wrong for the mobo manual to state you should not use thermal paste/pads (although I hate pads).

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The confusion may have arisen because some processors come with a thermal interface pad already attached.

I think you mean the heaksink supplied with some processors (and also often when sold separately) have a thermal pad attached.
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If yours didn't then you must ensure you apply some.
Personally I would recommend Arctic Silver and apply using their instructions

To be exact it's Arctic Silver 3 or ceremique you need - note don't buy artic silver as it's a very poor copy and is often mistaken for the real stuff.
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I use Actic Silver 5 although the Ceramique is supposed to be as good. Note they have different application instructions.

5 can be difficult to apply if you are not familiar with using it.
I would recommend you use 3 or ceremique as it's much easier to apply.

Note:
A thermal pad only lasts once, if you have to remove the heatsink after the system has been on you need to remove any remaining thermal pad with turps/white spirit then apply proper thermal paste to the processor before you fit the heatsink again.

When applying the paste, you need a VERY THIN layer on the processor core cover then fit the heatsink ontop. The way I do this is put your hand inside a plastic sandwich bag, put a small drop of paste on the center of the processor die cover and spread it evenly with your finger making sure the whole die is covered.

The paste should be replaced each time you remove the heatsink after cleaning off the old stuff.

AS3/ceramique takes a few days to bed in and harden before it gives maximum results.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,229
Thanks: 1
Registered: 12-04-2007

Thermal Interface Material

I don't agree that it is essential tbh. However I think it is by far the wisest route.

The reason I say not essential, is that a ways back I had a 1400 athlon and bought a new HS/f which had one of those pads. I had lock-ups, which were due to overheating. I tried re-seating it a few times without any appreciable success.
I decided - seeing as it was late evening - that I would strip it out and "lap" the HS. I got it perfectly flat on a plate of glass and wet&dry, then polishing paste.
This got me a massive reduction of 17 degrees C. Smiley
I ran that rig without issue for 4 years.

Anyhow..........................just get some paste on it, it is fool proof and a lot less hassle than lapping in. Tongue
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Thermal Interface Material

If your happy with the pre-applied thermal pad that comes with the A64 stock heat sink then use it, or if your after something a little better i would recommend Arctic Silver 5.

Application instructions HERE Very good quality paste, ive been using it for a long time.

Remember - only put a small amount on the cpu, spread it out until its almost transparent. Good luck Wink
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,305
Thanks: 971
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Thermal Interface Material

Sorry to correct the above statement but with the AMD64 processor and AS5 the recommendation is to put a small bead at the centre of the processor and not spread it as stated in the instruction you linked.
Peter, I have corrected my post to sort out the typo's you kindly pointed out. As regards AS5/AS3 I haven't used either of them with a small surface processor but with the AMD64 AS5 is very easy to apply indeed as described in the Arctic Silver instructions linked to above.
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Thermal Interface Material

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Sorry to correct the above statement but with the AMD64 processor and AS5 the recommendation is to put a small bead at the centre of the processor and not spread it as stated in the instruction you linked.


Yep......but its better to spread it out yourself.

@ vocation - if you can wade through the waffle :roll: , use some AS5 and follow Mr Vaughans instructions also follow the link i gave to give yourself a better picture of the process and you should be ok .

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Note:
A thermal pad only lasts once, if you have to remove the heatsink after the system has been on you need to remove any remaining thermal pad with turps/white spirit then apply proper thermal paste to the processor before you fit the heatsink again.

When applying the paste, you need a VERY THIN layer on the processor core cover then fit the heatsink ontop. The way I do this is put your hand inside a plastic sandwich bag, put a small drop of paste on the center of the processor die cover and spread it evenly with your finger making sure the whole die is covered.
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Thermal Interface Material

Thanks for the tips. just ordered some arctic silver 5. Thanks for the link paco2k5, very useful.

More basic questions to follow if you all don't mind. Have to admit though I'm like an excited kid on christnmas morning at the moment. :lol: Probably won't be if it all goes wrong. :roll:
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Thermal Interface Material

My athlon 300 came with the processor and heatsink. The heatsink has a pad on it do i remove this if I am just using the arctic silver 5.
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Thermal Interface Material

Yes remove it, you will need an alcoholic based solution to get the pad off.