Processor Heat Sink Paste?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Boris, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Boris

    Boris Guest


    I've got an E510 Core 2D 2.8 gHz desktop (2005) that I just cleaned out.
    I lifted the processor cooling tower, which separated the heat sink from
    the top of the processor. I noticed that the paste on the top of the
    processor was a light grey, but completely dry.

    Question: Should it be dry? If not, what type of paste should I use, and
    how do I apply it?

    The reason I cleaned out the machine was because I'm running Alliance of
    Valiant Arms, on Win 7 HP, with 2GB RAM, and a ATI Radeon (Sapphire) HD
    3650 512MB memory. It runs fine for a short while, at 64 fps, and soon
    drops down to the 20's. Sometimes the frame rate stays in the 50's, but
    the game still stutters (however it's not lag from high latency or high
    ping). I've tried running the game through Aeria client as well as

    The game specs. indicate that I've got plenty of processing power, video
    power, and RAM. Others have similar hardware, with no problems, but
    others with more hardware also report the same problem.

    Time for an Alienware? $$$$$$
    Boris, Aug 31, 2012
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  2. Boris

    Ghostrider Guest

    For thermal paste, consider using Arctic Silver 5.

    For the second issue, consider upgrading to 4 GB of ram,
    if using 32-bit Windows 7.

    Ghostrider, Aug 31, 2012
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  3. I'm not a hardware expert, but it sounds like there may be CPU or GPU
    overheating going on. A thorough cleaning of the heatsinks and cooling
    fans would be in order. A narrow vacuum cleaner "snorkel" helps to suck
    away the big chunks of lint and dust. Blowing compressed air onto the
    heatsinks while sucking up the loosened dust with the vacuum cleaner hose
    helps, too. Then going in with cotton swabs moistened with Formula409 or
    Windex can get the surfaces even cleaner. If the fan bearings sound a little
    raspy or "shooshy" when you spin the fan, pulling back the label at the hub
    and putting *one* drop of light machine oil or WD40 on the bearings will
    help to keep them spinning easily. I've never taken a graphics card apart
    to clean the air channels or to re-mount the GPU, so I can't comment on the
    practicality of that.

    For application of thermal paste on the CPU, a *thin* even layer of paste is
    best - no concavities to catch a bubble when putting the heatsink in contact
    with the CPU, and no globs to make the layer thicker than microscopic.
    Remember that the paste is just to make a heat-conductive layer that fills in
    the tiny microscopic gaps between the 2 metal masses, and anything thicker
    than microscopic just puts unnecessary thermal resistance between them. I
    first clean off both surfaces with a paper towel moistened with alcohol or paint
    thinner. Then I put the paste on the flat CPU surface, using about the volume
    of paste equal to a raisin. Then I level it out with the edge of a credit card,
    making it very thin - even translucent - with no grooves or lines and with just
    a little more thickness in the center to avoid concavity that could catch an air
    bubble when I mate the heatsink surface to the CPU body. The paste must
    cover the entire area where the 2 metal bodies meet, and most of the paste
    ends up on the edge of the credit card, not between the CPU and the heatsink.
    I then try to squirm the 2 bodies around to flatten out the central part of the paste.
    (The paste is usually too thin to allow any movement.) If paste skooshes out from
    between the CPU and the heatsink when you press them together, you've used
    too much paste. Doing it this way takes time and care, but the resultant cooling
    is better than that done by the crude thermal pad that gets slapped there by
    machinery during automated manufacturing.

    As for type of thermal paste, one of the hardware websites did a test a few
    years ago using about half a dozen popular brands, including Arctic Silver, and
    they found that just about any brand, including peanut butter, did about the
    same job. As I recall, Arctic Silver did score near the highest, but the difference
    in performance between the brands was negligible. I happen to like Arctic Silver
    because it's easy to judge uniformity of layer thickness by its translucency when
    it gets really thin.

    Timothy Daniels, Sep 1, 2012
  4. Boris

    Ben Myers Guest

    Peanut butter is tastier, though! They really did test with peanut butter? Not chunky... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Sep 1, 2012
  5. Boris

    Boris Guest

    Peanut butter, mayonnaise, ketchup, cola, bacon dip, and butter. I saw
    it on youtube.
    Boris, Sep 1, 2012
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