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How TIM Works & How To Apply It Correctly

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BioSniper 16th February 2009, 08:59 Quote
Interesting method there and not one I've seen before.
I still use the old razor blade/credit card spreading method myself. Next time the CPU is pulled from my system or I upgrade I may give that one a go though :)
NysoO 16th February 2009, 09:14 Quote
A whole article and we come down to a faulthy method of applying TIM. After you've applied the TIM with the size of a ricegrain in the middle, the only thing you have to do is to clamp down the heatsink and the TIM will automatically spread perfectly in all the grooves. The TIM will be pushed out in the middle and press away all the air creating a nice contact.
If you use the "spread before clamp down"-method you'll have a high risk of trapping air between the CPU and heatsink.
Clesm 16th February 2009, 09:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NysoO
... After you've applied the TIM with the size of a ricegrain in the middle, the only thing you have to do is to clamp down the heatsink and the TIM will automatically spread perfectly in all the grooves. The TIM will be pushed out in the middle and press away all the air creating a nice contact....

Yeah right try that with a burger and some Tommy K think you'll find you wont get an even distrubution and may be wear a red stained shirt.
Jipa 16th February 2009, 09:49 Quote
Woah :D And it's not even April first yet...

Seriously just w t f did I just see? I'd love to see some temperature testing, this finger-stuff against the widely applauded rise grain-method...
harveypooka 16th February 2009, 10:11 Quote
I thought it was a great article!
talladega 16th February 2009, 10:36 Quote
boy did i not apply my TIM correctly on my waterblocks! lol oh well i cant be bothered to take them off.
Gremlin 16th February 2009, 10:45 Quote
this is also the wrong method really for anyone using a direct touch heatpipe based heatsink because it wont spread evenly you need to use a little bit of TIM to fill in the gaps between the copper heatpipes and aluminimum block etc for best results

This isnt your typically high quality Bit-Tech article tbh its pretty piss poor and in its current state not worth publishing and the way it ends is almost as if theres more pages missing *shakes head* since the move to dennis bit is really slipping and it makes me sad :(
Pookeyhead 16th February 2009, 10:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jipa
Woah :D And it's not even April first yet...

Seriously just w t f did I just see? I'd love to see some temperature testing, this finger-stuff against the widely applauded rise grain-method...


I've ALWAYS done it this way. This put a small blob in the middle and then apply the HSF is a stupid way of doing it. Whenever I've done that, then removed the heatsink, there are vast areas of the chip without thermal paste on it.

Grain of rice sized amount... spread to an even, thin film with finger. Works everytime.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NysoO
A whole article and we come down to a faulthy method of applying TIM. After you've applied the TIM with the size of a ricegrain in the middle, the only thing you have to do is to clamp down the heatsink and the TIM will automatically spread perfectly in all the grooves. The TIM will be pushed out in the middle and press away all the air creating a nice contact.
If you use the "spread before clamp down"-method you'll have a high risk of trapping air between the CPU and heatsink.

Rubbish.


Prove it.


Whenever I've used the "accepted" method as you state, after removing the HSF, even after months, there are huge areas of the chip uncovered.

How the hell can spreading it with your finger "trap" air under the compound? LOL

Say what you like, but while that article may not win a pulitzer any time soon, it's spot on technically. If you're putting a grain of rice size blob down, then just clamping the HSF on, you're an idiot :)
proxess 16th February 2009, 11:01 Quote
I use the card method myself as well. Or one of those ice cream plastic spoons with a square straight end.
-Blue- 16th February 2009, 11:07 Quote
i use a movie theater ticket to spread it :) works great.. but i do use a little bit more than a rice grain
Sebbo 16th February 2009, 11:09 Quote
the "clamp down the HSF" method is the method generally cited by TIM manufacturers, hence why most people stand by it. though, generally when I hear/see it the size of TIM applied is more like a pea rather than a grain of rice. i guess ultimately the desired aim/effect is the same - to spread the TIM evenly over the surface of the heatspreader. the main difference i can see is that one has the applicant doing it manually, where the other uses the pressure of the retention clips pulling the heatsink down onto the heatspreader to force the TIM away from the middle towards the edges. I usually use the clamp-down method, but then take off the heatsink to make sure it has indeed spread completely
Any chance of a comparison between application methods in the form of delta temps etc?
Kode 16th February 2009, 11:14 Quote
the problem with applying a rice grain amount then just clamping it down is that if you dont do it perfectly the application of the paste wont be right, though im not sure the whole surface needs to be covered though, personally i think its a great article, perhaps the different methods people use and state the pros and cons for them, but applying TIM is always an area newbies are unsure of, so well done bit-tech :)
Xtrafresh 16th February 2009, 11:17 Quote
Nice idea there with the plastic bag. I had to do a rebuild this weekend, and I had no thermal grease on hand, so what i did was just rub the old and the new heatsink against eachother to get some goo on the new one... then just applied

I'll obviously have to rebuild, but it works for now, and temps actually improved because i use a better block now :D
Jipa 16th February 2009, 11:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
I've ALWAYS done it this way. This put a small blob in the middle and then apply the HSF is a stupid way of doing it. Whenever I've done that, then removed the heatsink, there are vast areas of the chip without thermal paste on it.

Grain of rice sized amount... spread to an even, thin film with finger. Works everytime.

As I said, I ain't swallowing any of this before seeing temperature tests. The tests, btw, would have made the article so much better...

Ofc one can use which ever method you ever wish, but without testing the temperatures there's no point calling one "the right way of doing it" especially not, when it's more work than the generally used method :(
Pookeyhead 16th February 2009, 11:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kode
the problem with applying a rice grain amount then just clamping it down is that if you dont do it perfectly the application of the paste wont be right, though im not sure the whole surface needs to be covered though, personally i think its a great article, perhaps the different methods people use and state the pros and cons for them, but applying TIM is always an area newbies are unsure of, so well done bit-tech :)


Of course it all has to be covered. The larger the area in contact with the heatsink, the greater the thermal transfer from the chip to the HSF. Any areas uncovered are therefore not in good contact with the HSF. The fact that there is no compound on those areas is mute evidence that there is little or no contact between them and the heatsink, therefore reducing the ability to transfer heat from one object (CPU) to another (HSF).

Rudimentary stuff really.


Just ignore the bollox you read on the internet and use your common sense.
kenco_uk 16th February 2009, 11:25 Quote
Nice article. I've always applied thermal goo by spreading it with a flat card. What I try and end up with is a thin layer that covers the core/ihs on the cpu but also put a very thin layer on the heatsink itself and rub it in with a cellophane-covered finger. It ensures (for me) that the gaps on the bottom of the heatsink are filled in and that hopefully any I've missed are compensated by the thin layer on the cpu.

I forgot to rub it into the heatsink on my current setup and have noticed that each pair of cores on my C2Q have different temperatures (5c difference at idle!) but I haven't been too bothered to redo it as they are fairly low (28/33c at idle in RealTemp). So it is definitely noticeable if you don't get the coverage quite right.
Jipa 16th February 2009, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
Of course it all has to be covered. The larger the area in contact with the heatsink, the greater the thermal transfer from the chip to the HSF. Any areas uncovered are therefore not in good contact with the HSF. The fact that there is no compound on those areas is mute evidence that there is little or no contact between them and the heatsink, therefore reducing the ability to transfer heat from one object (CPU) to another (HSF).

Rudimentary stuff really.


Just ignore the bollox you read on the internet and use your common sense.

Provocative way of discussion is always called for in the internets :o

You can also use your common sense to think how thin the IHS is, how small the die is under it AND how much heat the IHS conducts to the edges of it? Again something worth testing, maybe...
Sifter3000 16th February 2009, 11:43 Quote
Thermally testing TIM is actually really, really difficult. To make the test fair, you have to use the same CPU and the same HSF. The problem is, they're only pristine - i.e., 100% clean - *once*, which is when you first get them out of the box. Having talked to engineers at HSF and TIM manufacturers (Akasa and Zalman) while researching the article, we were told that although TIM clean gets most of a layer of TIM off, it doesn't remove it all - this is because TIM is really designed to be applied once, not constantly applied and removed.

As a result, as the test goes on, you're going to get a build up of TIM on the CPU and the HSF and this will therefore compromise the results. Then you've got to contend with the fact some TIM needs time to "cure" - and this can be days and/or weeks. It's tricky, and we'd rather not present test results just for the purposes of having some numbers in the article - if results are being used, we want to be sure they're 100% accurate.
SiG 16th February 2009, 11:59 Quote
Funny, I was just thinking about something along these lines earlier today. While it may not relate to the 'usual' way of allowing better (and more effective) contact between the CPU and heatsink, I am curious to find out if a more 'permanent' thermal interface will yield greater results.
Basically, if one were to create a permanent bond between the heatsink and CPU with a 'thermally acceptable substance' if they would be much better off. I was thinking of something along the lines to something akin to 'copper-solder' in that you would apply the said substance and bond the two surfaces together. Obviously heat could be a potential issue since you could exceed the suggested temperatures for the CPU before you even turn it on (I'm not too sure on the validity of this, it's just personal conjecture).
While this solution/option is very much going to completely remove any chance of swapping heatsinks or processors independently of each other, it will solve various long-term issues that regular TIMs have (the aforementioned issues with drying/cracking, 'leakage' and so forth as mentioned in the article).

... I've probably ended up rambling and seeming rather incoherent and I apologise in advance if I do, I just wanted to be able to regurgitate my 'thermally-related-ponderings' before they left my mind completely.
mclintox 16th February 2009, 12:20 Quote
"A whole article and we come down to a faulthy method of applying TIM" Faulthy????
djDEATH 16th February 2009, 12:28 Quote
lmao, nice work SIG

I actually see what you're saying though, that IF we know that a CPU and heatsink are gonna be there permanently, is it in fact more beneficial to bond them together permanently? I like this idea, only thing stopping me tryng it myself is that i don't know that my CPU won't be upgraded again, or used in a newer system in the future.

I am however, going to take delivery of a new tri-core 8750 black edition today or tomorrow, and have ordered some arctic silver 5 to apply to it, so i will give this method of finger in bag a try. Last time i used a piece of cardboard (may even have been a cinema ricket as mentioned above, particular type of shiny sturdy card those - good for roaches too).

I'm pretty sure that inadequate contact with my Scythe Mine is what has prevented my Athlon X2 from going any higher than it did on the stock cooler. I'm hoping that the same HSF will be enough to take my 8750X3 to 3.0Ghz, fingers crossed. Will pay more attention to the silver compound this time.
[PUNK] crompers 16th February 2009, 12:31 Quote
nice athlon FX there!!
Jipa 16th February 2009, 12:34 Quote
nvrmind.
cpemma 16th February 2009, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
This put a small blob in the middle and then apply the HSF is a stupid way of doing it...
Those idiots at Arctic Silver are doing it all wrong then? I'd sooner listen to them than some stupid kid writing a magazine article. ;)

I've tried the 'buttered' v 'line & press' methods on my fairly heavily overclocked E2180, 'line' wins by a small margin. There's another tech site that showed the coverage after various application methods; letting the sink pressure spread the compound worked fine.
mystvearn 16th February 2009, 13:07 Quote
Nice article.

You forgot lapping the heatsink, or is that in another feature? Lapping till you get mirror shine. That will take you hours compared to putting the TIM.
A plastic is suggested to cover the finger. But I read an article more than 5 years back, says that I should use a Credit card or some flat surface and nicely spread the material. Imagine making flat surface with cement :P
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