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Windsurf48

Applying thermal paste

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I've been using thermal paste for over 20 years, but in the past month I've run into problems applying two different ones, Thermalright TFX and Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut.  Both come with applicators and instructions to spread a thin, even layer of thermal paste over the heat spreader.  The problem is that neither paste wants to spread evenly, or I haven't been able to figure out the technique needed to do this.  Both want to clump and both want to stick to the applicator more than the heat spreader.  In both cases, the heat spreader had been cleaned thoroughly using ArctiCleaner Thermal Material Remover and Surface Purifier, which I've been using for 10 years or so.

 

Most of the thermal pastes I've used in the past had instructions to put a pea-sized drop of paste in the center of the heat spreader or a thin down the middle, but a few have recommended spreading a  thin layer of paste and that hasn't been a problem previously.  Have thermal pastes become harder to spread evenly? Has anyone used either the Thermalright TFX or Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut successfully?

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I've never used either of those, I strictly use MX-4 and use the pea sized dob application method and haven't had a problem one. 

 

Ymmv,

Tx 

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The pea-sized blob method won't work with the big AMD Threadripper rectangular heat spreaders, although a line down the middle might.  Noctua recommended a pattern of nine small blobs and four larger blobs, but that ended up with way too much thermal paste.  I may have to try a line down the center, take it off immediately to verify the results, and then try an adjusted amount.

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I always use Akassa; small blob each corner, small blob in the middle  and spread.

 

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I'll experiment with the corner and center blob approach.

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I haven't applied thermal paste very often... but I was always told that multiple spots put you at risk for trapping an air bubble.  I've always used one spot no bigger than a grain of rice or a bb in the center (except for once when it had pre-applied thermal "pad" that seemed to work fine.  At least I know it worked for over 5 years without problem).  I've seen pea sized spots used and it was to much.  Maybe we have bigger peas than elsewhere.

 

Again, I'm not an expert.  I've done this less than 20 times.  It's been awhile and I've used at least 3 different brands.  Honestly, I am on friendly terms with a guy who owns a computer shop, and I have always "borrowed" paste from him.

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@Tomk_ on his particular application, the cpu is at least 2x the size of a "normal" cpu and requires more than a typical one.

 

Here's a pic of a similar cpu to his, in my hand. Mind you, I can palm a basketball, so you get an idea of how large this is. 

 

This is a first gen Threadripper 1950x and it's used in a malware analysis sandbox, running as many as 30vms. 

20180329_160446.jpg

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Yeah...I'd say it's a large one.  It looks closer to 3 times what I'm used to.

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That's why I've been struggling.  I've had a feel for the right amount of paste for the standard-size CPUs, but it's taking some trial and error to get it right with one that big.  Because of the shape, a single blob in the center would leave part of the ends without coverage.  Spreading an even layer of thermal paste on an area that size is harder, too.  I used four small blobs near the corner and one pea-size blob in the center, and that's giving better results than my previous attempts.

 

I'm also not sure what the expected idle temperature is, so it's harder to know whether the paste isn't applied optimally or whether I'm just up against the heat from 24 cores.  The best I've been able to achieve so far is 32-35c with either a Noctua U14S TR4-SP3 or Corsair Hydro H150I Pro.  It looks as though the Noctua heatsink has slightly better idle temperatures, but the Corsair Hydro AiO may work better at load.  However, its circular contact surface leaves a good deal of the CPU heat spreader uncovered.

Edited by Windsurf48

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On 1/26/2020 at 4:49 PM, Windsurf48 said:

I've been using thermal paste for over 20 years, but in the past month I've run into problems applying two different ones, Thermalright TFX and Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut.  Both come with applicators and instructions to spread a thin, even layer of thermal paste over the heat spreader.  The problem is that neither paste wants to spread evenly, or I haven't been able to figure out the technique needed to do this.  Both want to clump and both want to stick to the applicator more than the heat spreader.  In both cases, the heat spreader had been cleaned thoroughly using ArctiCleaner Thermal Material Remover and Surface Purifier, which I've been using for 10 years or so.

 

Most of the thermal pastes I've used in the past had instructions to put a pea-sized drop of paste in the center of the heat spreader or a thin down the middle, but a few have recommended spreading a  thin layer of paste and that hasn't been a problem previously.  Have thermal pastes become harder to spread evenly? Has anyone used either the Thermalright TFX or Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut successfully?

I Have never used either!

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