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Applying TIM to direct heatpipe coolers

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm confused an bewildered on applying TIM to direct heatpipe coolers so I decided to make a once and for-all list of the different ways to apply TIM and find out from all of you, and myself, which works best.


Problem: Direct heatpipe coolers have grooves between the copper pipes and the aluminum base. You can resolve this by trying to 'lap' the base with either sand paper or a stone that's perfectly flat. The issue with this is the heatpipes are thin, you can destroy the cooler by doing this. Try at your own risk
The second problem is the gaps cause poor heat transfer. They require more TIM applied than normal coolers.

Here is a list of the different ways to apply thermal paste to direct heatpipe coolers:

Method 1:
After you have put TIM in the grooves of the heatsink, by applying a small amount, then using a credit card to wipe the TIM into the grooves, apply 4 small dots on the corners:
6283326566_afa565cb63_z.jpg
Method 2:
Apply either 3 or 4 lines of TIM on the heatsink without lapping the TIM before into the grooves.
6282809505_069fededc9_z.jpg
6283326596_b4606e8ab1_z.jpg
6283326574_0ae881f0b8.jpg
6283326642_f3513991d3_b.jpg
6282809587_f80516c327_b.jpg

Method 3:
Apply a small amount of TIM to the heatsink, then use the debit card again to work the TIM into the grooves of the heatsink. Then remove the excess, and apply the 3 or 4 small lines of TIM. This method uses the most TIM but in my belief, proves to give the best results.
6283326612_365040d052_z.jpg

Method 4:
Apply TIM to the base, work the TIM into the grooves, then apply a even layer of TIM on the entire base. This uses a TON of thermal paste and most likely the paste will ooze out the side of the chip. (probably not the best method but might be good if the base is really uneven)
6283326752_495816c670_b.jpg

Method 5:
I was told that this method is a X method of applying the paste on the heatsink. Obviously it was too little and the grooves in the heatpipes are not even close to being covered. It may look good but this would be a good method if the grooves between the heatpipes were prelapped with paste.
6286102591_d5d25de311.jpg


Arctic Silver PDF regarding direct heatpipe heatsinks
http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/hp/hphs_method.pdf
Quote:
Heat-Pipe and Ridged Heatsinks Only: Use an expired plastic card or razor blade to
apply thermal compound to the bottom of the heatsink. Start with some thermal
compound at the edge of each heat-pipe and work it into spaces between the heat-pipe
and metal that surrounds it. Work the tool back and forth in all directions. Use enough
thermal compound to fill all voids and ridges. Do NOT remove any thermal compound
from the voids you just filled. If there is any excessive thermal compound on the heatpipes or metal surfaces, just smooth it out until you achieve a translucent layer where the
heatsink comes into contact with the CPU. If you have any extra thermal compound
remaining on the plastic card or razor blade, just set it aside until you are ready to tint
your CPU surface. When ready, return to the application method you were linked here
by and follow the instructions for your particular CPU. Remember, you may have to do
more than one heatsink mount in order to achieve maximum performance from your CPU
and Heatsink combination.

I did some of my own tests to figure out what these methods looked like for cooling purposes.
Here's what I've found.

This is my stock heatsink. The ridges between the heatpipes are terrible!
6287628046_5511990f4b_b.jpg

So I decided to lap the grooves, thinking that it has to be the best method.
6287629698_ed8315485a_b.jpg

First test was with the 5 dot method:
6287628372_58cbb97355_b.jpg

After applying a clear plastic cover I pressed down on the heatsink with an absolutely flat surface, pressed hard for a minute and then looked at the surface contact.
6287110011_e7fef5c0c1_b.jpg
This method looked ok but not idealm considering there were gaps in the heatsink where TIM didn't get to.

Next method was the 3 lines of paste.
6287110299_7c274a2d87_b.jpg

This method proved to be the best method. We'll see how it performs.
6287629202_308791c45f_b.jpg
Edited by Cakewalk_S - 10/27/11 at 5:08pm
post #2 of 4
I have tried many different ways and I have found that the way I do it is for me the easy and best way. I use very little(about the size of a small pea) and I spread it with my finger evenly on the cpu. Then i do the same with the heat pipe to get it in the groves and it works quit well. It does not take very much. Very thin on the cpu and fill in the spaces on the heatsink.

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 4
It also makes a difference on the Type of TIM used.

Easy to spread tim I fill the voids and do the lines between the heatpipes (for Xigy)

Thick tim like ICDiamond I just put lines on the heatpipes.
I tried also doing a surface layer by spreading a tiny tiny amount over the CPU as well first, but the temps difference was less than a degree.

So for me the line method everytime, then just using the right amount, and a good seat, check temps, is the best way. You should not spend all day applying tim.
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post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knika;15460213 
I have tried many different ways and I have found that the way I do it is for me the easy and best way. I use very little(about the size of a small pea) and I spread it with my finger evenly on the cpu. Then i do the same with the heat pipe to get it in the groves and it works quit well. It does not take very much. Very thin on the cpu and fill in the spaces on the heatsink.

Hope this helps.

You shouldn't spread it with your finger, it may cause dirt and oil build-up (unless you have really clean hands). I typically spread the stuff with an old credit card or empty gift card.
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