Casey Bralla on 1 Mar 2014 03:45:45 -0800

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[PLUG] Thermal Grease [was:] no frills computer advise

On Friday 2014-02-28 8:45:14 PM Michael Lazin wrote:
> Seating a processor and applying thermal paste is not that bad.  I have an
> old dell that I've upgraded the hell out of.  It had a single core 2 ghz
> amd64 processor when I got it.  I wanted a dual core a few years ago so I
> bought a 3ghz AMD64 x2 and put it in it.  Applying the thermal paste and
> seating the processor was pretty straightforward, but in hindsight I wish I
> had applied more thermal paste because it does run a little hot.  Sometimes
> when playing games (steam for linux) the fan goes kinda crazy.

Actually, I think the best wisdom on grease is to apply the least amount 
possible.   The best thermal contact is metal-to-metal.  The grease simply 
fills whatever micro-voids there may be due to sanding and surface 
irregularities.   Grease is a better conductor than the air gap that it 
replaces, but whenever possible, you want to have direct contact between the 
processor and the heat sink.

The  real trick is to spread the grease as evenly and thinly as possible, 
which is not always easy due to the high viscosity of the grease.  I've found 
this  tricky, but not especially difficult for a guy like me who can't even 
paint a bedroom wall without getting drips everywhere.

Also, remember the grease is usually electrically conductive, so you don't 
want it anywhere else than the processor.


Casey Bralla

Chief Nerd in Residence
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