What thermal paste do you use, and how do you spread it?

cheesehead

Lifer
Aug 11, 2000
10,079
0
0
I've been wondering what thermal paste people use. Due to extreme incompetence, I've never seemed to have much luck applying thermal paste (the "apply grain of rice and spread with credit card" method always seems to need repeated touch-ups for an even distribution) and, because I regularly swap CPUs on old PCs, seem to go through quite a bit of it. I'd also like to try my hand at overclocking, and rumor has it that some newer thermal pastes will give a small drop in temperature over their predecessors.


There are also some "brush-on" thermal pastes on the market. Has anyone had any experience with these?
 

ZzZGuy

Golden Member
Nov 15, 2006
1,855
0
0
I've used both Arctic Silver 5 and zalman thermal grease ZM-STG1, but haven't tested them head to head with same the HS and CPU.

With AS5 I tried the credit card trick but it wouldn't spread properly so I got some clear plastic wrap, wrapped my finger in it and spread it around until it was a even coat and switched to a clean spot on the plastic when spreading it to remove any excess. Seems to work good with a max of 39c (without over clocking).

The zalman thermal grease spreads like grease. ZM-STG1 also comes with a brush applicator so there is nothing overly complicated about it, just make sure you don't put too much on. Where it is more liquid then the AS5 it doesn't have the one month break in period to see a extra drop in temp up to 5c.

From what I've read, ZM-STG1 is pretty damn near to AS5 (after 1 month break in) with a difference of 1 to 3 degrees C. As long as you are only doing mild OCing, ZM-SGT1 might be the best solution if you have problems with applying thermal paste but still want quality. Also one good way to see just how much you need, spread the bare minimum of thermal grease/paste on the CPU (even if you think it's not enough), place the HS on and screw down. Then remove and examine the HS base to see if there is any area's that are still clean, apply extra to those areas (only).
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,981
3,318
126
Originally posted by: mpilchfamily
Bottom line use what you like and follow the manufactures instructions.

Exactly@!!!! The differences between the top brands are not worth arguing over!!

Peace and Merry Christmas!!
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
37,760
18,039
146
I use some Shin-Etsu that I have a bunch of. it works great, I spread it using the Arctic Silver method for Dual Core CPU's. I put the line down the middle and let the HS do the work :)
 

chizow

Diamond Member
Jun 26, 2001
9,537
2
0
I still use AS5 exactly because of the OP title, I find it much easier to apply. I've tried a few of the others but find them either too viscuous/liquidy or too dry. Every review I've seen shows AS5 within 1-2C of the competition as I believe MadScientist's links also show, and that's usually with no cure time.

 

I4AT

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2006
2,630
2
81
I've had a 12g tube of Arctic Ceramique that I've used forever. It's probably gone beyond its shelf life by now, but I'm still using it. I just put a rice grain sized blob on the CPU and let the heatsink flatten it out, then the heat from the CPU does the rest.
 

Arcanedeath

Platinum Member
Jan 29, 2000
2,822
1
76
Originally posted by: I4AT
I've had a 12g tube of Arctic Ceramique that I've used forever. It's probably gone beyond it's shelf life by now, but I'm still using it. I just put a rice grain sized blob on the CPU and let the heatsink flatten it out, then the heat from the CPU does the rest.

ditto here still use the Ceramique as I have a giant tube I got from SVC a long time ago.
 

Old Hippie

Diamond Member
Oct 8, 2005
6,361
1
0
I tried that diamond stuff....one time.

When they talk about diamonds being one of the hardest substances ever known, that applies to this stuff too.

Talk about some resistance to being spread...kinda like cruncy peanut butter that's been sitting in the cold.

I gave the rest away.
 

tracerbullet

Golden Member
Feb 22, 2001
1,661
19
81
Still Arctic Silver for me. Bought a decent sized tube of it way back when and since I only swap CPU's out about once a year now, it's lasted quite some time.
 

aigomorla

CPU, Cases&Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
20,841
3,189
126
Originally posted by: Old Hippie
I tried that diamond stuff....one time.

When they talk about diamonds being one of the hardest substances ever known, that applies to this stuff too.

Talk about some resistance to being spread...kinda like cruncy peanut butter that's been sitting in the cold.

I gave the rest away.

ahahahahahaha

i told people this so many times...

i even asked the guys for a real method... they said they impoved the forumla so its like a v2 to make it easier to apply.. also you dont need to let it sit out for 5 min.

Im with everyone else on this... you get what you yourself like and not what the person next to you like.

I personally love

TIM-Consulatants
MX-2
IC Diamond <if im bored>
Shin Etsu.
Ceramic if im going sub zero.
 

Dicko

Member
Feb 21, 2003
37
0
0
I use IC Diamond and found it to be the best I have ever used.
When it comes to the application, try warming it up in some hot water first this makes the application process much much easier.
 

zerocool84

Lifer
Nov 11, 2004
36,041
472
126
Originally posted by: Gillbot
AS Ceramique and i use the grain of rice method.

I'm using this also as my local Fry's was out of AS5 but I did what the website says and do a little line going with the cores.
 

viivo

Diamond Member
May 4, 2002
3,344
32
91
I had always used Ceramique, and occasionally AS, but I tried some cheapo ($2) Radio Shack stuff the other day. It spread on differently than I'm used to (like half melted crisco), but so far I haven't noticed any difference between it and the more expensive stuff. Keeps an e7200 at ~23C in a 70F room.
 

Gillbot

Lifer
Jan 11, 2001
28,830
17
81
Originally posted by: zerocool84
Originally posted by: Gillbot
AS Ceramique and i use the grain of rice method.

I'm using this also as my local Fry's was out of AS5 but I did what the website says and do a little line going with the cores.

Line/Grain of rice, it's basically the same method.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
7
76
Originally posted by: viivo
I had always used Ceramique, and occasionally AS, but I tried some cheapo ($2) Radio Shack stuff the other day. It spread on differently than I'm used to (like half melted crisco), but so far I haven't noticed any difference between it and the more expensive stuff. Keeps an e7200 at ~23C in a 70F room.

I've used silicon based compound quite a bit over the years, from transistors to cpu. I still recommend it for first time cpu installers. It is the easiest to apply and not screw up and it gets the job done :)
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,377
2
81
Arctic Alumina for me. Really cheap, easy to apply and clean up. For the most part I'm not going to miss a couple degrees.
 

garritynet

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
416
0
0
Originally posted by: Old Hippie
I tried that diamond stuff....one time.

When they talk about diamonds being one of the hardest substances ever known, that applies to this stuff too.

Talk about some resistance to being spread...kinda like cruncy peanut butter that's been sitting in the cold.

I gave the rest away.

Not only is it a huge pain in the butt to apply but if you screw it up its a ***** to clean as well. That said I find that it works as well as anything else. They suggest a pea sized amount. I remember not using enough and having the clean and reapply several times. Peas are bigger than you think.
 

ExcaliburMM

Senior member
Jan 24, 2009
613
5
81
www.Staredit.net
I used Arctic MX-2 on my E2140 and A7FP. I applied a dot about the size of a rice grain to the center, no spreading. Due to my 100% OC never seeing a temp above 65C in stress testing and never above 50C in use of games/apps, I'd say it's quite effective