Heatsink compounds

Rodney Peters rpeters at pcug.org.au
Fri Jun 28 16:36:11 EST 2002

> I recognize that this discussion thread was nominally closed off, but as an
> aspiring Athlon owner I'd like to explore a couple of points:
> The heatsink compound which I use on Socket 7 type CPU is cheapo white
> stuff, which, I believe, contains Zinc Oxide (non electrically conductive).
>  I'd be wary of using conductive (silver) compound on Duron/Athlon, since
> the latter CPU have accessible bridging points on the surface of the
> package.  I believe that overclockers deliberately apply conductive pastes
> to selected bridges to alter clock multipliers etc.

>If electrical conductivity was a problem for something touching the core, 
>then the heatsink itself (which is mostly metal) would surely be a problem.  
>Since it is not, then I don't think the heatsink compound will be.  That 
>being said, I was careful to put the compound on the core only, and not the 
>rest of the CPU.

Not so.  The conductive bridge points are flush with the packaging of the 
CPU, whereas the heatsink sits on the actual core and some other small metal 
bits which raise it half a mm or so above the packaging.

> The purpose of heatsink compound is to eliminate a thin film of air between
> the CPU & heatsink.  That was an issue with the large (not perfectly) flat
> CPU packages & heatsinks, but the Athlon/Duron have a relatively small,
> raised contact patch.
> Maybe AMD have a point - that heatsink compound is not needed - what
> practice do other Athlon/Duron owners follow ?

>Well, after my review of what I could find on the web, I went with the 
>'smear' technique - putting a thin layer of heatsink compond on the core.  I 
>cut up the lid of a takeaway container to use as a spatula.  So far 
>everything seems just fine.

Agree that is a sound approach.  The key appears to be not to smother it all 
over the top of the package, as that gave one of the other guys problems.


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