First ground up PC build

9 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 112

I'm about to embark on building my first PC from TOTALLY NEW PARTS!! (instead of trying to kludge together hand me down stuff). I had a question about thermal paste and thermal grease. What's the difference between the two and do I need it? Can I just get away with attaching the heat sink and fan the the processor or is it of major importance to have that stuff?

__________________

A thin face and a new bra are all you need to get by in this world. -- Mom

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Ex-parrot's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 6835
Adding some form of thermal p

Adding some form of thermal paste or thermal grease (they're really just different names for the same thing as far as I know) is important for modern CPUs as it helps to fill in the microscopic flaws in the heatsink or CPU surface. These would otherwise just be pockets of insulating air.

Note however that you only need a very thin layer of paste, any more and you'll actually impede the heat transfer process, not help it.

edit: typo.

__________________

Michael

pmjett's picture
Offline
Joined: Sep 5 2005
Posts: 181
yep

Congrats on getting to build one from virgin parts. I haven't had that privilege in a while. I pretty much do that kludge thing.

Anyway, I was thinking that thermal grease might be a term for something that is mostly silicone grease, and paste a term for some of the more exotic compounds you see these days. I don't know either if there is a real difference between the two. I do know that using thermal paste is like changing your oil at 3000 miles (as opposed to say, 7k). It's cheap, good, insurance. Check the wikipedia entry for thermal paste. It pretty much gives you the run down.

Thermal compound fills voids, be they divots in the heatsink, or larger areas of non-contact that might come from tiny bumps on the heatsink. You can visualize what would happen if an area an 1/8 inch in diameter wasn't in good contact between the CPU (or GPU, or southbridge, etc) and the heatsink. You'd end up with a hotspot, which you know ain't good. Fill that tiny gap with a better thermal conductor, and said hotspot should be reduced. If you have enough of those tiny gaps over the surface of the core, it adds up.

Some folks like to lap, or carefully flatten the surface of a heatsink (or even the CPU- but I think that is nuts). While I imagine a good percentage of those folks probably grind in more irregularities, lappers STILL use thermal compound in a situation where theoretically the two parts will marry almost perfectly.

So, to summarize my blather, use the thermal paste/grease/compound- be it the fancy stuff with x,y, and z exotic additives, or Radio Shack's old fashioned silicone grease. Have fun with the new box!

Mike

__________________

128K, 512K, Mac Plus, Classic, SE/30, Indigo iMac, B&W, Sawtooth, iBook G4, Mini. Numerous SGI and Sun boxen.

eeun's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1891
The two terms mean the same t

The two terms mean the same thing.

If the processor you're going to buy comes with a heat sink, it will have a thermal paste, or a small container of thermal grease included (at least, it really should. Never yet seen one that hasn't).

The thermal pads aren't as good as careful application of paste, but it'll work. Never put thermal paste on a pad. Smile

Tons of information:
Linky

__________________

"Give a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life."
(Terry Pratchett)

jman's picture
Offline
Joined: Nov 30 2005
Posts: 147
I remember my first time

you never forget your first build mine did not go so well 1.I had no case (just like apple crops Smile ) 2 I had no idea what I was doing.the
jman box stared life as a load of old useless parts and I put them all together and I did not work right (no os) it could not find the hard disk master and slave not set (that is a noob mistake) but i com got better and my dad asked me to make his and it still runs to this day!!
just a few weeks ago I bulit my 3th computer for my site www.awns.co.nr but I am have networking card issues so it is
still a work in progress (you can read more at www.awns.co.nr if you like) but I still think back to the first jman box

__________________

5500,pmG3,pbG3,pbG4,G5, Mac pro, and MacBook Pro forever
Enjoy the Intel age, but remember the time of the Power PC.
Eight Year Member of Applefrtter

Offline
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 112
I know what you mean...

Yeah, I'm still a big fan of mashing together a pile of hand me down parts and making it work. But this is my fist with all new stuff. When I'm using stuff given to me I usually don't fret to much about being rough with it...lay it out on the table...dropped a harddrive...no grounding wrist strap. But as the new parts come in (I just got most of them today) I'm treating them like eggs. I WILL NOT take them out of the packaging untill it's time to install them. I WILLL wear a grounding strap. It's a bit stressful...I kind of like working with junk.

__________________

A thin face and a new bra are all you need to get by in this world. -- Mom

Offline
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 112
Ummmm....poop

So everything is going great. Figured I'd start by just making the thing work. Got it all functioning, XP installed and service packed and updated. Then I started adding the goodies (it's going to be a HTPC). I got this great 300GB HD. Well for some reason I can only see 127 GB of it. I partitioned it and formatted it....Help...how do I find all 300GB of it.

__________________

A thin face and a new bra are all you need to get by in this world. -- Mom

Offline
Joined: Sep 16 2004
Posts: 274
If its ide, then the card mig

If its ide, then the card might not be able to handle big drives, or you're using FAT32, ntfs can handle bigger drives.

eeun's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1891
seems a common problem

Not meaning to nag at all, but there's a lot of info on this by Googling "127 GB limit"

One link: Here

__________________

"Give a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life."
(Terry Pratchett)

Offline
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 112
Sorry...

Yeah I know...google is your friend. I tend to just come here first because I know I'll get good advice quickly. I'll try to mend my ways.

__________________

A thin face and a new bra are all you need to get by in this world. -- Mom