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#3453633 - 08/12/14 02:59 PM Thermal compound / pad question
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Hi guys, probably an easy question, but I'm replacing my first motherboard and I'm wondering if I need to use thermal compound or are these (in picture below) thermal pads? If those are thermal pads, than I don't need paste too, right? Or is it better to remove the pads and use paste? I cleaned what seemed to be old paste off of part of it, so I'm confused.. thanks!

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#3453640 - 08/12/14 03:06 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
Smcatub Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 258
Loc: Western NY
Looks like old, gummed-up paste to me.

If it were mine I would only use a good aftermarket thermal paste.

What I do is scrape what I can away, then use 91% iso alcohol on a Q-Tip to clean it down. Follow with a wipe from a paper town to pull off any cotton fibers and put on new paste.

I use Arctic Silver just because I have a bunch of it, but there's better stuff out there now.
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#3453643 - 08/12/14 03:12 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Hmm, it is kind of thick and seems to be a pad, but I'm not sure. So I should just remove that and apply new paste to both spots? I have a tube of Arctic Silver 5. Thanks!
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#3453655 - 08/12/14 03:20 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
bornconfuzd Offline


Registered: 03/24/10
Posts: 412
Loc: Houston
They look like pads. Recommend removing them and replacing with thermal paste of your choice.

Pads can be scraped with something soft like an old credit card before cleaning and then cleaned with something like Arctic Silver Arcticlean Thermal material Remover & Surface Purifier. Newegg has it on sale right now here.

Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste can be found at Newegg here.

Directions for applying Arctic Silver can be found here.

You can also use something like a drop or two of Goof Off & then Isopropyl alcohol to finish up and the thermal paste of your choice. There are several good choices out there, and some would argue better choices than Arctic Silver 5. I like to use white coffee filters for the cleaning process.

Unless you're doing some serious overclocking though, I don't think you'll notice much difference other than break in period. Arctic Silver 5 won't reach it's optimum effectiveness until after a couple hundred on/off cycles.
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#3453656 - 08/12/14 03:21 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
Smcatub Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 258
Loc: Western NY
Originally Posted By: ClutchDisc
Hmm, it is kind of thick and seems to be a pad, but I'm not sure. So I should just remove that and apply new paste to both spots? I have a tube of Arctic Silver 5. Thanks!


If that's what I think it is, it's thermal compound that's aged and thickened up. When it gets like that it's almost like a thick layer of latex paint.

What component is this on? CPU? Northbridge / other IC?
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#3453657 - 08/12/14 03:23 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
They don't list my CPU.. its a Intel Atom.. should I spread the paste? Also, how close to the edge do you go.. all the way? Thanks!
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#3453658 - 08/12/14 03:24 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: Smcatub]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Originally Posted By: Smcatub
If that's what I think it is, it's thermal compound that's aged and thickened up. When it gets like that it's almost like a thick layer of latex paint.

What component is this on? CPU? Northbridge / other IC?

CPU and whatever that is right next to the CPU in the picture. Not exactly sure what that second one is.
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#3453663 - 08/12/14 03:30 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
Smcatub Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 258
Loc: Western NY
Check this out:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Thermal-Paste-Application-Techniques-170/

The difference between application methods is tiny.

It seems like just a small grain-of-rice size dab in the middle of the cpu's heatspreader works as well as any other method.

My personal, idiosyncratic method is to cover the heatspreader and bottom of the heatsink and the scrape off everything bu a light haze, then add a rice size dab. The haze probably does nothing at all, but it's how I've been doing it for 17ish years.
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#3453668 - 08/12/14 03:36 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Thanks! Anything different that I should do with applying the paste on whatever is next to the CPU? Should I go out to the edge on that one? I think you are right.. I cleaned whatever old stuff was on there and it looks like old paste to me..
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#3453670 - 08/12/14 03:38 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
bepperb Offline


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
I've never seen paste have four perfect 90 degree corners.

They look to me like pads, and IF it's the exact same motherboard then I would re-use them. If not there's a chance for an air gap and you should scrape them and use another or paste.

It's great people like arctic silver or whatever overmarketed product they were sold. I have a huge tube of maybe HP brand I got a decade ago I'm still using, probably for two dollars. There is little difference in high power dissipation environments, on a low power Atom I would argue there is no difference.
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#3453674 - 08/12/14 03:43 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: Smcatub]
bornconfuzd Offline


Registered: 03/24/10
Posts: 412
Loc: Houston
Originally Posted By: Smcatub
Check this out:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Thermal-Paste-Application-Techniques-170/

The difference between application methods is tiny.

It seems like just a small grain-of-rice size dab in the middle of the cpu's heatspreader works as well as any other method.

My personal, idiosyncratic method is to cover the heatspreader and bottom of the heatsink and the scrape off everything bu a light haze, then add a rice size dab. The haze probably does nothing at all, but it's how I've been doing it for 17ish years.


Called "tinting" or "shadowing", I do the same thing. I think it helps to fill in those microscopic holes but I'm not sure if there's any scientific proof.

Still, makes me feel better! grin
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#3453675 - 08/12/14 03:44 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Whatever was on there was looking like it was deteriorating, so I cleaned it off.
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The box said: "Requires Windows XP or better."
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#3453702 - 08/12/14 04:18 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
ClutchDisc Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Detroit area
Ok, thanks for all the help guys! I applied the paste.. seems to have worked well. thanks.
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2005 Ford Focus 5-speed manual 67k

The box said: "Requires Windows XP or better."
So I installed Linux.

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#3454093 - 08/12/14 10:20 PM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
redhat Offline


Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 1634
Loc: Anywhere, USA
WD40 and rubbing alcohol.
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#3454192 - 08/13/14 03:42 AM Re: Thermal compound / pad question [Re: ClutchDisc]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 13774
Loc: Silicon Valley
I'd not worry about buying exotic paste like Artic Silver, just any generic paste should be sufficient unless you are over clocking or increase the voltage by a lot.
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