I need Grease for PC?       
           A.K.A: (TIM thermal interface material) or in a shop HEAT SINK GREASE !
Yes you do,  or the chip /processor will overheat.

The processor
(main CPU and GPU) need to not overheat. (if it does? it slows down and at 90c temperature it shuts off "HALTS", the PC is dead until it cools down)
CPU  wattages very from 6watts to 150watts or more if overclocked. (if you run hot processors avoid the consumer greases and use commercial grade greases or phase change pads)

The designer knows that, and addressed this issue in all PCs made on earth.
Learn that heat is the number one killer of electronics, (if not dropped 6 feet to concrete)
Most PC's have 2 fans  inside to carry the heat out of the box to the room you reside.
The job of the heat sink on those chips is to extract all that heat and remove it to the room you reside (not to be held inside any PC)
I will cover this 2 ways, one bar stool  simple and , then what tech. guys need to know to survive all  problems.
There are many materials used here, the grease works best (skipping better thermal epoxy adhesives, that can not be  removed later)
The strip pads are used in fast production usage or are pre-married to the bottom of the heat sink, and do not work as good as SHIN ETSU hand laid.
No lie the pads work great on 15watt Notebook CPUs, (but this topic is about hot desktops or worse gaming desktop PCs.
There are materials used the defies rework (glues) or phase change materials , I avoid all those products.
My hit list of rules (personal)
  • Lowest possible resistance (highest thermal conductivity)  A goal of 5.5 W/mK (Laird 780 is this and only a tiny bit better than SHIN G751) Laird sell these  TPCM FSF-52 sheets cheap.
  • Can be reworked easy laster with IPA, cleaners. (alcohol 91% or better) (Silicon grease is easy, as are some phase-change products)
  • Does not pump out  (use SHIN ETSU)
  • Does not get hard and turn to a glue like substance, as many do.
  • Does not conduct electrons, and short out mobo pins, etc. (electrical resistance super high in spec)
  • Non Toxic. (in California all things on earth are toxic, so go figure)
  • Traceable lab tested performance 3rd party, (most of what you see on fleabay fails this mark of quality and spec)  (means not the Hype masters self testing jive!)
  • Price? who cares?, if good grease is (mine was 6 tubes of Shin for $9) $1.50 for 0.5grams of grease,  you spent $1000+ on a Gaming box and a buck-fifty is too much? (really)?

Long Play way (LP) 33RPM record style.  Jump to bar stool answers below.

On some modern laptops with a 15 watt processor ,even tooth paste passes tests, (but not for long term) 
The new INTEL™ Skylake-x 8168 CPU burns TDP as much as 205Watt (that is wasted power called HEAT)  the chip costs $6000  !(2018) way out of my league.
My hp laptop INTEL I-7 burns 50watts,  so does its GPU, for 100w total, and must expel all this heat some way and does. (fan+heatpipe+radiator+ vents)
These are the ways to cure the most hard cases of overheating. (after the PC is cleaned of all lint inside)
50 years old today we still have DOW Chemical grease:  (this is the best base line grease in the world, they invented it and still sell 340 ! All lab tests should always use this 340 grease as the base test.
"Dow 340" grease the oldest and most common, in the business, (seen in 1970 to now, and used by me that whole time span) costs only 20 cents per gram. max. per use  (as a  price refr)
Has  a spec.  Thermal conductivity of  k=  0.67 W/mK  (square meters) or r = 1.49 ( 3-4 times worse than SHIN below) Some of the china clone greases are 10x worse!
Dow is made of Silicon grease and Zinc OXIDE. (alumina is also very good) Simple and cheap and effective on all lower powered chips.
Really the trick is not conducting electrons, but heat yes very well,  lasts long time yes, does not dry out, is consistent from turn off  and on 1000s of times.
(and the grease over time say 10 years, does not turn hard or turn to very thin oil and run out)
r = resistance  and k = conductance.
r =/= k ( r is not equal to k) but are reciprocals. r=1/k 

Thermal conductivity "k"   is measured in watts per meter-kelvin (W/(mK)) (below is Square mm (millimeters) The large K = Kelvin, 50c = 323K temperatures.
Shin is rated at k= W/mK = 4.5k seen below ( . about  3 times better than  the old DOW 340 and costs 30 times more money to buy. (20 cents a gram,, versus 6 bucks/gm) but is worth every penny. (if your have a hot processor)
Or on par with DOW TC-5022
But if your processor (chip) expels 100watts of energy (wasted heat) (at full tilt load) then what choices do you have?, (answer TINY)
This link here, is one of the best documents on this topic, read about the 16,000 thermal cycles here by: GREG BECKER,et al.

The heat sink has four 12 pound springs for 50 lbs force on top  of the CPU. This causes my BB sized SHIN grease to flatten out to .001" think, 1 thou.! thick. This works best of all.
That means the heat sink must not be cocked or at an angle to the CPU.
Many noobs, do not install the intel FAN/HS correctly and do not know the 4 legs must be locked last.(or the HS never lands on the CPU with 50 lbs of force)

Enter SHIN:
The best heat sink grease in my opinion and my own personal testing , is SHIN Etsu and G-751 tops my list. (does not dry out ever !, it does not turn hard later, then crack the thermal bond !)
I get my grease here (best prices in USA  5 tubes 0.5gram for $16 or 2 for $10)
The best prices are on AMAZON.com (due to makers wishes, they only sell directly there (sadly) and keep in mind  the fleabay sales, many are fake SHIN greases sold out of someones garage or moms basement.....  I find not one source selling the 100gram bottle of shin seen below)
Some fleabay sellers do buy 1000 tubes of SHIN direct sales (wholesale) for a buck a tube and sell the from  $6 to $9 each,  what I call scalping.
Less is more do not use  too much grease. (if it oozes out  the sides of the HS , you used way too much grease)
One BB (gun pellet) sized applied  (aka. one grain of dry rice) is put in the center of the CPU top surface, (no need to play with silly credit cards at all, let the Heatsink springs do there job, ok?)
This is all you need to know about the G751 .  The  1mils =  0.001 " 
or for the real world not USA,  this, 0.0254 Millimeters
You have no control of this, as the Heat sink goes to 50c hot (typical) the compound thins out from this and the 4 springs on the HS and lands at 1.2mils. (the grease binder prevents pump out failures)
Top brand greases have the OXides powders inside , of many sizes to allow for different chip top surface smoothness or not so smooth. ( a very important feature)
The hotter running processors like my (100w)
Nvidia have mirror polished tops so very thin layers of TIM work best there.  below data is r = 1 / k  ( thermal resistance conversion math)  so 10 =  .1 k.  (therefore DOW is .67k or  1.49r)  and Shin is 4.5r or .22k)
The below is R, thermal resistance,  so 10r below left is equal to 0.1k. (called Reciprocals in math) This graph shows as the grease gets soft, and the springs squeeze down the 10r is a goal. (it goes near 1 thousands of and inch thin)
Lower is better for "r". (vertical axis) r = 1/K   (higher is better for "K")  4.5K  = 0.22r 
Here is the line up of good greases by  Shin, (they make a huge array of products not just processor grease) A.K.A, heat sink (HS) greases, used for many chips, and transistors (power types) (the best of all are thermal epoxies)

No lie some folks have the 1kg (1000gram jug)  of SHin and then load 0.5g syringes (makes 2000 syringes) and sell them , and retire early on fleabay.
The SHin grease contents are mostly secret but  the toxic Zinc Oxide, is MSDS listed.
My guess is it contains many top preforming oxides, aluminum for one.

This graph below is very cool, see that air stinks,  for thermal conductivity{"k"} (thus the huge fan and huge 100w rated heatsink)  and that Diamonds is the best (common)  10 power is equal  to 1, 10 (1st power ) is 10.
Shin is 4.5k on this scale.! It land below on the "e" of grease , very very good. This graph is found at wiki.com  Really nice graph of common materials.  (ever wonder why some heat sinks can not be removed?, bingo, for thermal epoxy)
This is "k'"

More , sure, Dow does make  newer grease. TC-5022 is good ,this is commercial grade grease . (not fleabay schlock) Finding it is not easy.
...TC5026 (7 times more product than shin 3.5gm
Here is nice chart below  showing just how well each work , when at different thicknesses.  0.025mm is .001 inch and near .001 is a goal. (it is hard to see but  SHIN and DOW match up) Low vertical is good. (r factor)
All data to right of .05  too think applied. (this is lab test data below; not theory)
.....see more here on the nREL.gov, lab report. (one of the best reports on record) (USA tax payer paid)
See how BRETT  finds errors here, Not sure it is valid, but is a good read on grease hype 101.

  • I am 100% SHIN user today, on the hot devices.
  • I'd buy the DOW TC5022 too, if off the shelf (data sheet)
  • I use DOW 340 still on low powered device,  its dirt cheap an overkill on all low power devices, like transistor or anything say below 25watt max.
  •  See lab tests NRel.gov . (2014 tests , see some top TIM there,  ignore Btech as that is a glue epoxy adhesive)
  • I use a  thermal IR gun to make sure my job was done right after I do the work. (at full CPU/GPU loads , I run PRIME95)

Here is the Laird 780 spec,  (my LGA1151 is about 50psi (springs on HS ) 5.5 W/mK (conductive spec)
lower is best, but if using conductivity charts ,higher is best (they are reciprocals of one another) Thickness is about 0.001"

Bar stool answers, to the guys working in dim light in the basement or worse.
  • The PC makes huge heat inside (many do) Some new laptops are only 15watts now. (very new)
  • The PC has a processor (CPU) that can be very hot, 50watts or even 100watts (same as a light bulb hot , Thomas Edison type) my Z600 work station (WS) burns 200 watts with 2 CPU's inside.
  • The CPU has a heat sink and some grease (magical it seems) that sucks the heat out of the chip fast, (called high conductance grease) or TIM.(thermal interface material)
  • The fan blows the heat out of the case some way (laptops have heat tube and radiator) the desk top just blows it out the case, with fans.(are case fans bad too?)
  • That is it, for heat, short simple and sweet,  but all you do is replace the fans, when bad, replace the grease if bad and clean the case so it can BREATH.
The cure is SHIN ETSU G-751 or near.(it is 2 to 3 times better than 90% of all other products sold or more) By spec and by my personal testing.
  • Put on one drop of SHIN dead center of the CPU. BB sized. we say.
  • Then attach the heatsink and let those natural spring devices there do the job. Do not use a credit card to spread it out, let the natural forces do its job. (that magic spring works perfectly)
  • Run the PC for 1 day not gaming, then the next day forward, game all you want. (this lets the grease even out and lower and work best)
"A little dab will do yah"  on my tiny Nvidia chip, 1/5th of this is is used.
If you read the TIM makers manuals it shows that less is more!,  it even proves this fact in LAB.  Both DOW, SHIN and NREG.gov  shows how to avoid thick TIM.
The goal would be try to get near .001" (.025mm) thick grease after the springs do there magic say in 1 hour time running. (as the grease heats it flattens out)

To rework a dirty top chip?
On old PC's scrape off the old brick hard grease using only a plastic scraper , never us metal tools to scrape $300 processors. ouch. ( use use plastic cell phone case pry tools to scrape here)
If the grease is still grease as SHIN will be, use alcohol on a rag and it is gone. (Shin does not get hard, ok.?)

Kids gone wild?  This is like $30 of Shin grease wasted , wow !  $3x10. I guess this guy used and ice cream scooper to dollop it on? Or is this home glass window caulk?
In the military we'd say this guy could (BEEP) up a Soap sandwich?  (I'd say 100 times too much?) just a drop was needed, BB sized.

Failure modes: (easy no?)

  • Missing grease.
  • the grease Got hard and cracked. (some look like glue not grease)
  • Heat sink fell off, broken parts and spring is not working at all now. (no grease can work like this)
  • Heat sink clocking lugs never set to tight mode, (wow) or screw type never set to max, 50lbs force is Intel LGA115x spec.
  • Wrong grease , say using $1 or less grease sold on fleabay with your 100watt processor, you will fail.
  • Too much grease like above, the books warn you of this , they even show doing it wrong, and how bad it can get, on the makers of grease websites.  (We end up with .001 inches thick TIM, not .020" ever)
  • Not cleaning off all the old grease first;. (fail)
  • Some dirt cheap junk grease uses metal dust in side the grease that gets on pins and shorts them.  (some have real silver metal, not silver oxide , and is bad)
  • Some greases get runny with age and leak out, mostly dirt cheap fleabay grease does this. (SHIN Etsu passes the anti pump out tests)
  • The best grease is that which has independent lab testing, and reports. (most do not, that is why most greases today sold are junk, most don't have a spec. or just flat out lie about the data in their spec.)
It is true , a 10watt CPU (toy grade) will run ok with tooth paste, proven in  lab, but won't LAST.

Links: Very good.
Shins best, is there, X23-7921-5 ( note this parameter "Thermal Conductivity(W/m K), >6.0") a hard number to beat !!!

Even Intel's LGA manual shows using Shin Etsu G751 here.

Here is Altera  (now owned by Intel) shows all pro's can cons of TIM,  a great source of information on hot CPU or Hot 1000 pin gate array's.

If you have time, and money and want the best there is this top grade Phase change product, by Laird  TPcm 780 (tube of grease versions)
The sheet 9"x9" (228mm square) is at Nework for $12 (a life time supply for most folks and cheap) same spec. as 780. In  sheets called TPCM FSF-52

Avoid this grease (fake named I just invented)  "Siberian Carbon/Silver/ heat sink grease" (sold at an auction not so near you, if you get my drift) this is HYPE master grease.
Oddly no Diamond dust based grease sold. (diamonds conduct heat best)

The best heatsinks have copper cores, as copper conducts heat 2 times better than aluminum.

version 1. 7-1-2018