After doing some fiddling, and replacing the stock paste with a dab of Thermal Fusion 400 Compound (RG-TF4-TGU1-GP), I'm pretty pleased with the results. I did have some MX-3 on there before but figured why not try the new stuff and it looks to have been a good choice.
Prime95 run for 9 hours overnight:
LinX test after over an hour today:
After spending all day Saturday with this I learned the following:
1. Shin-etsu paste is the most fustrating paste I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with. Has the consistency of peanut butter, even after heating in a cup for 20 minutes, and spreads like crap. If you decide to try this beware of this and plan accordingly.
2. The best method for applying thermal compound is the "bb size dab on CPU and affix heatsink" method. I got the best results from this for the least amount of fustration.
3. Using either MX-3 or Cooler Master Thermal Fusion 400 Compound (RG-TF4-TGU1-GP) gave good results with the nod towards the Thermal Fusion 400.
4. If you are using an AMD system run, do not walk, to FrozenCPU and get the newer AM3 mounting kit. It's an all-metal fixture, using a much better quality plastic ring than the flimsy metal one, and no plastic backplate BS. The screws are even pre-configured so that you can't overtighten them unless you are the Hulk and have no fine motor control; just screw in and snug to fit.
5. The push/pull fan configuration also gives the best results with the exaust pointing out of the case which helped drop the interior temps down to aid in cooling the video card.
I've attached some pics of my setup and the test results as well. Overall, I'm just happy that I finally seem to have gotten this dialed in to where I can start enjoying my system rather than stressing over it.