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Fanfold Paper
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-10-2008
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Message 1 of 4 (2,214 Views)

How Should My Heat Sink Gel Look?

Hey all,


Is this enough heat sink gel for my fan fixture to board connection? 


I was having problems with overheating while gaming, so I took my fan fixture out and cleaned it out real well. Doing this required me to pull it away from the board, and I'm not sure if I should have cleaned the heat sink gel off and re-applied some new.


Here are some photos of how the physical connection looks. I simply put it back and place, and here I am typing to you now:






P.S., my warrenty already expired (I'm aware that I would have voided it). 

Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-24-2009
Location: USA
Message 2 of 4 (2,198 Views)

Re: How Should My Heat Sink Gel Look?

[ Edited ]

Hi Ross,



The pics are a tad confusing to me but to answer your question-(so-to-speak), anytime you apply or re-apply heat-sink compound it should be applied as a "reasonably thin even coat" such that it doesn't squeeze out major excessive amounts on the surrounding area (with very rare exception). The key to proper application is even-coating by putting enough on to cover the area needed, but not so much you can't get the screws back in to button everything back up if-you-will.


In other words, don't be shy about it. Put as much as needed to provide an even layer covering the area in question, but not so much that your waisting it by wipeing off half-a-tubes-worth on a rag when you only need so much to accomplish the task. You want an even layer between the two surfaces all-said-and-done without excess oozing out all over the place. Think of it as a gasket if that helps (allthough that's the furthest from the truth).


Hope this helps.......








PS - Your going to have excess to wipe off once you reassemble the parts. That's a given. Don't allow for any gaps or uncovered area where needed. Remember, the key is an even coating across the board. Like iceing on a cake!

Message Edited by Visible_Spirit on 05-28-2009 12:20 PM
Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Message 3 of 4 (2,173 Views)

Re: How Should My Heat Sink Gel Look?

Clean everything off, then reapply a consistent thin layer using something like a plastic credit card to get a really thing layer. 

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-24-2009
Location: USA
Message 4 of 4 (2,162 Views)

Re: How Should My Heat Sink Gel Look?

lead_org's idea of useing a credit-card or similar tool to spread the compound is a good idea.


My idea of iceing on a cake was a bit vague I suppose. The point was an even thin layer, liberally applied to fill the neccesary imperfections, yet thin enough to not be wasteful.




This excerpt from the Wikipedia artical on "Thermal Grease" may enlighten things a bit for all in question. There's more for those technically interested on the Wikipedia web site; referrenced via the link above, but I think the notes below should suffice enough info for the average person.




Thermal grease is primarily used in the electronics and computer industries to assist a heatsink to draw heat away from a semiconductor component such as an integrated circuit or transistor.

Thermally conductive paste improves the efficiency of a heatsink by filling air gaps that occur when the irregular surface of a heat generating component is pressed against the irregular surface of a heatsink, air being approximately 8000 times less efficient at conducting heat (see Thermal conductivity) than, for example, aluminium, a common heatsink material.[2] Surface imperfections inherently arise from limitations in manufacturing technology and range in size from visible and tactile flaws such as machining marks or casting irregularities to sub-microscopic ones not visible to the naked eye.

As such, both the thermal conductivity and the "conformability" (i.e., the ability of the material to conform to irregular surfaces) are the important characteristics of thermal grease.

Both high power handling transistors, like those in a conventional audio amplifier, and high speed integrated circuits, such as the central processing unit (CPU) of a personal computer, generate sufficient heat to require the use of thermal grease in addition to the heatsink. High temperatures cause semiconductors to change their switching properties to the point of failure while CPU power dissipation overheating causes logic errors as heat raises electrical resistance on the multi-nanometer wide circuits of the CPU core.[3]



Applying and removing

Computer processor heatsinks utilize a variety of designs to promote better thermal transfer between components. Flat and smooth surfaces may use a small line method to apply material, and exposed heat-pipe surfaces will be best prepared with multiple lines.[4]

Because thermal grease's thermal conductivity is poorer than the metals they couple, it is important to use no more than is necessary to exclude air gaps. Excess grease separating the metal surfaces further will only degrade conductivity, increasing the chances of overheating. It should also be noted that silver-based thermal grease can also be slightly electrically conductive. If excess were to flow onto the circuits, it could cause a short circuit.

The preferred way to remove typical silicone oil-based thermal grease from a component or heat sink is by using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). If none is available, pure acetone is also a valid method of removal. There are also purpose made cleaners for removing and purifying the surfaces of the contacts.



HTH..... Smiley Wink