+++UPDATE 09.12.11, Proceed to Post #84, Page 4+++ BEGIN OP (From Months Ago) Well then, straight to it. I've build my last 4 computers and always been fortunate to seat the heatsink without issue... until now. I started assembly of my new system today and unfortunately the CPU idle temp is hovering around 40 degrees C. System Specs are as follows: GPU 2x MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition CPU Intel Core i7-2600K HEATSINK Thermalright Archon CPU Heatsink THERMAL PASTE Shin-Etsu X23-7783D MOBO ASUS Sabertooth P67 B3 RAM 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 V1.5 PSU Corsair 850HX power supply SSD Intel X25-M 160GB SSD HDD Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA 6.0Gb/s AUDIO HT Omega eClaro 7.1 PCIe MEDIA Pioneer BDR-206 CASE Fractal Design Define XL (Black) FANS 2x Thermalright TY-140 - mounted to cpu heatsink (push-pull) 3x Thermalright Silent-X 140mm - (2) intake at front of case, (1) rear case exhaust 1x Thermalright Silent-X 120mm - intake at front of case 1x Fractal Design 180mm - diagonally mounted rear case exhaust It is my assumption that the high idle temps result from an incorrect application of Shin-Etsu thermal compound. I have yet to come across the one, sure, absolute, undeniable, totally obvious way to apply thermal compound. Mixed reviews, and mixed guides only further my confusion on the subject. In the past i've simply put a small dollup of paste in the center of the die, tightened the heatsink... and done. Too bad i didn't do that this time. After reading a few reviews on the thickness of X23-7783D i opted to attempt the "X" line application. I would estimate i placed 1.5 times the paste that i normally would have using the single dollup (dot) technique. Nonetheless, my CPU idle temps hover around 40C... which is unfortunate considering it is my intention to push the 2600k towards 5ghz. [the 40C temperature reading was measured in both the ASUS bios and using CoreTemp once loading Windows 7. And just to clarify, thats 40C without any overclock - default bios settings] Also, it should be noted that with the heatsink securely tightened to the mounting plate i am still able to slight twist/rotate it if i apply force (the heatsink does not move at all on its own). I estimate i can rotate it 2 or 3 degrees off of center. Is this normal? I have yet to stress the system to see what load temps are considering i figured it best to go ahead and get some advice on the issue. It seems i need to remove the heatsink, clean the existing thermal compound, reapply, and reset the heatsink. This is unknown waters for me; i've never removed a heatsink or cleaned paste from the die. I've look a few guides and youtube videos on the subject... but then again, i also watched a few of those when i attempted the "X" line paste application. With that in mind, i would really appreciate any advice or info on how best to clean thermal compound from the cpu... as well as advice on how to reapply the compound. The Thermalright instructions stated that thermal compound should be applied to both the cpu and the bottom of the heatsink. I neglected to do this considering it seemed excessive. Perhaps i am mistaken. I've also read a fair amount on spreading the compound across the cpu prior to installing the heatsink... is this the way to go? Tomorrow after work (Tuesday 7pm EST) i will begin the process of stress testing the cpu to observe load temperatures. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. Heartbreak aside, the rest of the build has been quite rewarding. -The Intel X25-M 160GB (my first SSD) is pretty amazing. I've never had a system boot so quickly -The dual MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III's currently idle between 38 and 40C. I have yet to push them, but i hope heat is not an issue. I feel pretty confident, the layout and fan configuration should keep temps reasonable. -The Fractal Design case is solid, with everything installed the assembly weighs quite a bit, which i like. More importantly, the case in conjuction with the fans is quite. Unless i crank GPU fan speed over 50% i hear nothing. As illustrated in the picture above, there is certainly adequate cable management. -The Sabertooth bios is unlike anything i've used. Granted, i'm graduating from a e6600 conroe system... but still, bios have come a long way. One last thing: I've propped up the lower GPU using a 1/4" cube of rigid foam, however; the higher GPU is unsupported. Should i be worried about the GPU sag? Thanks in advance .