How to Apply Thermal Interface Material (TIM)

Last Reviewed: 22-Nov-2017
Article ID: 000005576

Thermal interface material (TIM) provides efficient thermal exchange between the processor Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) and the fan-heatsink. Proper installation of the TIM is crucial to the success of the processor and fan-heatsink integration process.

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Do I need more TIM?

Most thermal solutions for Intel® Boxed Desktop Processors ship with the TIM already applied to the bottom of the fan-heatsink in a 3-bar application. If your fan-heatsink has pre-applied TIM, there is no need to apply extra TIM.

Note Do not touch the TIM. Introducing any foreign substances to the TIM can reduce effectiveness of the thermal contact.


Fan heat sinkDo not touch the Thermal interface material

When do I need to reapply TIM?

A good guideline is to replace the TIM if you reinstall the processor or fan-heatsink. Proper application of the TIM is crucial to the success of the thermal solution. Failure to apply TIM can cause the processor to:

  • Shut down
  • Operate inefficiently
  • Overheat
Where can I purchase TIM?

You can order TIM replacement kits through:

  • Intel Customer Support, part number G15816-001 for the pillow pack
  • Retail sites like Newegg* or other online retailers
How to apply TIM
Step 1 Do not to touch the gold contacts at the bottom of the CPU Clean and install the processor

Be careful not to touch the gold contacts at the bottom of the CPU.

step 1a Using a soft and dry cloth or tissue, completely remove previously applied TIM. Make sure the integrated heat spreader is free from oil, dust, and any other debris.
Note Always replace the TIM. Never add new TIM on top of used TIM.
Step 1b Install the processor in the socket. See the related topics below if you have questions about installing the processor.
Step 2 step 2a Prepare the TIM

If you are using a syringe, open the tip by twisting off the cap.

Step 2b Inject the TIM from the syringe to the center of the processor IHS surface.
Step 3 step 3a If you are using a pillow pack, cut the package on the dotted black line.
step 3b Dispense the TIM from the pillow pack to the center of the processor surface.
step 3c

This image shows the approximate amount to apply to the processor topside. If using a pillow pack, you might leave some residual TIM in the package.

When the processor is operating, the heat spreads the TIM across the top of the processor IHS and the bottom of the fan-heatsink.

Step 4 step 4 Install the heatsink

See the related topics below if you have questions about installing the heatsink.

How to remove TIM
Step 1 Step 1 Use both:
  1. A delicate task wiper that is anti-stat polyshield
  2. Isopropyl alcohol
The picture shows an example of a wiper that has the anti-stat polyshield property.
Step 2 Step 2 Dip the wiper in the isopropyl alcohol and gently remove the TIM from the surface of the processor integrated heat spreader (IHS).
Related topics
Processor Installation for the LGA1156, LGA1155, and LGA1150 Sockets (Video)
Installation and Integration of LGA1150 Socket Processors
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