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Hardware How TIM Works & How To Apply It Correctly

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 16 Feb 2009.

  1. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    I tend to apply a bit more than you did. Then I place the cooler on top to spread out the TIM slightly. I then wipe the transfered TIM off the cooler base and spread the remaining TIM on the chip evenly. Works great for me.

    I use AS5 and always tend to put just a little bit extra on just in case, especially if you are OCing.
     
  2. Bluefan

    Bluefan test 123

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    I have an AMD athlon without heatspreader, so I was a little generous with TIM, as all the force of the clamps of the heatsink applies to a small surface, and pushing any excess of TIM away. I applied it over the complete surface so nothing was left without TIM.

    What I'd do in the future is not only apply a very thin layer to the cpu, but also the heatsink. This way, on BOTH surfaces all the gaps and scratches are filled. Then I'd mount the heatsink not completely top down but let it touch it with a very small angle and then put it flat. This way no air can be trapped as the TIM of both surfaces will not meet all at once, but slowly from top to bottom, always leaving one side open for the air to escape. Then some pressure and slight movement will push out any excess of TIM.

    This way, there is no possibility of air getting trapped or an oneven spread of TIM.

    (Tim, you're populair these days :p )
     
  3. unrealhippie

    unrealhippie What's a Dremel?

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    I'd like to see this article revised with some testing of different methods, I saw a thread on XS regarding this and I believe the pressure from the headspeader was sufficient... Currently feels a bit like 'this is the best method' without any sort of testing.
     
  4. hyperion

    hyperion Minimodder

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    My brother bought a second hand pc a few years back. He had it for a couple of years when I decided to upgrade the cpu (1.8ghz northwood) for him. My bro never opened the case sinse he isn't particularly interested in pc's so it was in the same condition as he bought it in. I was quite shocked when I opened the case, because the heatsink was only clamped on one side. I became even more shocked when I saw how much tim was used, like he (the previous owner) was spreading jam on a slice of bread. After I cleaned off the tim my blood started boiling and my face turned red as I was approaching the brink of nerdrage at what I saw... The clear sticker was still on the heatsink base, under the tim I had just cleaned. Despite all the above the system had been running perfectly stable for two years in that state.

    Compared to the stupidity of the person who put that system together, I find this argument of "spread vs clamp" pretty funny... The point being that any difference between the two methods will likely be small if not unnoticable in terms of real world temps, regardles of what spread pattern each method leaves.
     
  5. GeorgeSap

    GeorgeSap What's a Dremel?

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    The only way to prevent these air bubbles between the HSf and the CPU is to apply the thermal compound in a vacuum :) lol.

    Anyway, the rivalry between which method is better still continues to this day. Now many people favor the Clamp method, others favor the Spread Method. Now to my opinion. One of the users here posted a video showing the difference between the blob/clamp method vs the Spread Method. It was obvious from the video that the blob method won due to the fact that there were no visible air bubbles between the glass and the CPU. But now going more into detail. As i watched the video, I noticed that the person was exerting a decent amount of pressure due to the fact that the tips of his fingers were turning white. Now this happens when you apply a very decent amount of pressure. I am not 100 percent sure but it could be more than 600Grams. Now, most coolers these days weigh more than 400 Grams and are able to exert a decent mount of pressure. It might be true that they will be able to exert a good amount of pressure to spread the compound evenly and flatly. But here come's another factor: Gravity. YES! The thing that Newton was puzzled over for so long. But you might ask how does this affect anything. Well, here how it works. Most computers are positioned vertically these days. Thus the coolers are being pulled down by gravity. The mounting clips hold the coolers in place, but they exert more pressure on the motherboard than on the CPU. When i removed my heatsink from my CPU, the motherboard was slightly bent due to the coolers sheer weight and gravity having affected it. Since gravity will be pulling down on the cooler, less pressure is put on the CPU and TIM. I may be utterly wrong about this, but this is just my opinion. But wait, I am not finished yet ;)

    Take in consideration the surface of the cooler. Not every cooler is as smooth as glass. Metal is never going to be flat. Every object has grooves and holes in it that are not seen by the eye. There are some places on the surface of the cooler that have larger grooves and holes that in other spots. But there is a possibility that either the CPU or the Heatsink has larger grooves and holes in certain spots. Now if you are using the Clamp method, you place a blob of TIM on the CPU and place the heatsink on it. . When the pressure from the Heatsink spreads the TIM, there is a chance that the larger holes and grooves might not be filled completely and thus contain air pockets. Of course you can apply some TIM on the HSF, but no one is truly certain if any air bubbles will be completely removed, unless they take the CPU and Heatsink with the TIM and observer it under a microscope. The only way to be sure of which method works better, is to create two identical setups that both have exactly the same CPU's, HSF, Motherboards, TIM, Fans, and ETC. Everything has to be exactly the same, even the case and HDD and CDROM and fans and etc. Since different parts and release different temperatures and affect the overall temperature. Then you can compare the temperatures of the two methods and become a hero among this world :) Believe me, some may look at what I said as utter trash, but no one is right or wrong unless they create a real test(with no glass and all that other crap) and post some legit and cool looking charts. We all love charts :)

    In the end, as Pookey mentioned before, "The absolute worse that can happen is there will be no difference whatsoever... the best that can happen is you will get better heat transfer."
     
  6. O O 7

    O O 7 What's a Dremel?

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    CLAMP METHOD

    Pros:
    - No air bubbles trapped (thanks for the video NYC84), ensuring BETTER heat transfer

    Cons:
    - May not cover the border areas of the heat spreader, especially the corners.

    SPREAD METHOD:

    Pros:
    - Will cover 100% of the heat spreader, ensuring more surface area contact for MORE heat transfer.

    Cons:
    - May trap air bubbles.


    THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS:

    1 - Apply a very very small amount of TIM around the border areas of the heat spreader, but make sure to leave a small gap at least on one side.
    2 - Use the clamp method.

    Pros:
    - Full coverage of heat spreader - as the small amount of spreaded TIM will cover the border area, and the clamped TIM will fill the centre.This ensures that we use all the surface area available for MORE heat transfer
    - No trapped air bubbles in the centre of the heat spreader (where it counts), as there is room for the air to escape (tanks to the TIM gap we left in step 1). This ensures BETTER heat transfer.

    Cons:
    - May trap air bubbles in the border area where we spread the TIM. But that's not significant because: the centre has no trapped air (and that's the most important area), and it's better to have TIM (with some air bubbles) in the border area than no TIM at all in the border area (clamp method).

    Conclusion:
    MORE and BETTER heat transfer.
     
  7. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

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    I used to use artic silver 5.. but I switched to mx-2.. it gets good temps without the cure time- I also use your method to apply it but also lap the surfaces.. I've done video cards the same way also (8800gtxm 9800gtx, 260gtx) with aftermarket coolers too.. you wouldn't believe how horrible a job they do with the tim on those cards

    trick is like he explained.. put a very thin layer on the cpu (preferably lapped) and rub in with your finger a bit on the (preferably) copper cooler so you get a cloudy look- just enough to fill in any groves left from the lap job- you will get awesome temperatures this way

    the bead method was made to save newbies from themselves :D
     
  8. ciff1

    ciff1 What's a Dremel?

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    Just replaced my artic cooler freezer 64 pro to a zalman 9700 led using the supplied bottle paste which have used on both coolers
    using there methods brush onto both surfaces, always given low temps.Have artic silver 5 and artic ceramic also found zalman paste to be very good.
     
  9. nia-desu

    nia-desu goddess of the clocks

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  10. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    makes sense, would like to see some testing put behind it to see if there is a noticeable difference but ya I would agree with what AS said.
     
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