R. P. Weaver:
"In reviewing your personal PC specifications, I noticed that you were using a heat sink compound
(Radio Shack). This concept of using a compound is overlooked by many of the individuals that build their own systems, and by most
My tip is to use a thermal compound
such as ThreadEasy or its equal, commonly used in the transfer of heat generated by disk brake assemblies, which will
transfer heat from your CPU to its heat sink with greater effiency and as a side benefit, it will not dry out in the same
manner that the Radio Shack compound does."
Alan C. Fang:
"Incidentally, I read this
one guy's comments on your heat sink grease. I believe heat sink compound does NOT dry out. The best way to get good thermal contact (that I
know of) is to have a very thin but complete layer of grease. You can check for a complete layer by spreading a very thin
layer on the CPU, and then putting on the heat sink and wiggling it around a bit. Then take off the heat sink and check
where you need more grease. To get a thin layer, put the heat sink on the CPU and press down moderately hard and wriggle it
around a little bit, until you hear the "tss tss" sound of metal on ceramic."
is just a little note about the guy who said that the thermal grease from good old Radio Shack would dry out. Oh my God so untrue... I
applied some of this miracle compound on a 286 a few years ago, then took the heat sink off yesterday and it was still
I guess people should use something before they comment on it."
"I am a TV engineer and have worked on a LOT of electronic equipment.
I have found that
regardless of the maker of heatsink compound it will all "dry out" if subjected to *enough* heat. TO-220 devices
(a common case style) are very prone to this,
aggravated by running the device/heatsink at elevated temperatures. The hotter the device the faster the grease will bake out. But this
is not something to worry about, as the grease is only there to allow the compound to be spread on the device and heatsink
The white stuff is Zinc Oxide (ZnO) and the effectiveness does not seam to decrease with the grease gone.
several occasions I cleaned and reapplied new compound after changing one device on a heatsink and found that the new
compound did not improve cooling. Unless the junction is disturbed, drying out does not look to be a major problem. It
might be an indication that more air flow is needed to keep the CPU/heatsink cooler.
There are other heatsink compounds
that are much better at moving heat: see this Overclockers.com
page. These guys are serious about cooling! Unless one is overclocking or using an early Cyrix CPU, exotic cooling should
not be an issue.
After all, most of us are not going to keep a CPU for (more than) 5 or 10 years.
I like to move lots
of air through my PC case. I worry more about heat effecting hard drive life then CPU life. Most cases do not move nearly
enough air across the HD/CD/DVD area. And modern video boards can also benefit from better air flow.
I found that by
gutting a fan, removing the blade, armature and support arms, and using this to space a fan away from the small inlet vent
holes, will reduce fan noise (in my case checked with a Radio Shack Sound Meter) by about 9 dB. That is a big improvement in
overall noise level. I am using a large (4.5") fan that was just too noisy for comfort. I sacrificed a dead fan for the
project. Smaller fans will experience a similar level of improvement."