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How to Apply Thermal Interface Material (TIM)


Last Reviewed: 03-Aug-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.

Visit Intel® Processor Installation Center for more information on integrating desktop processors.

Click on the questions to expand the content:

When is additional TIM not required?

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.

Note If your fan-heatsink has pre-applied TIM, there is no need to apply additional TIM. 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 is reapplication of TIM required?

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 or operate inefficiently.
  • Failure to properly install TIM can cause the processor to overheat.
Where can I purchase TIM?

You can order TIM replacement kits through Intel Customer Support:

  • Part number G15816-001 for the pillow pack.
You can also order TIM from 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, dry cloth or tissue, completely remove previously applied thermal interface material. 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 videos under Related topics if you have questions about how to install 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 integrated heat spreader 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, some residual TIM is left in the package.

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

Step 4 step 4 Install the heat sink

See videos under Related topics if you have questions about how to install the heatsink.

 

Related topics
Processor Installation video for the LGA1156, LGA1155, and LGA1150 sockets
Installation and integration of LGA1150 socket processors
Processor Installation Center
Installation and integration of LGA2011 socket processors