Before applying Arctic Silver 5

Before you apply Arctic Silver 5 on your CPU make sure you clean your heat sink thoroughly. I personally prefer to use ArctiClean because it is the quickest way to get rid of that pesky thermal pad. If you don’t have ArctiClean, you can always pick up some isopropyl alcohol at your local grocery store. ArctiClean

Who will find this useful? You will find this article useful if this is your first time using Arctic Silver 5, or if you finally got around to replacing your good ole’ AMD Thunderbird (1.33mhz) CPU with one of those shiny new Dual Core AMD64 (or Intel Core 2 Duo if you swing that way) processors and you are just looking for a refresher course.

This article will go over the steps you should take prior to applying thermal compound to your CPU like removing the thermal pad which comes with most stock heat sinks, and cleaning and preparing your CPU. If you know how to do this, you can skip ahead to the next step: How to apply Arctic Silver 5 to your CPU

When you buy a new CPU, it usually includes a Stock Heat sink* (Scroll down for note) which has a thermal pad (usually gray or tan) on it. Arctic Silver is a higher quality alternative to a thermal pad so you need to remove the thermal pad. When removing the thermal pad, remember to use Isopropyl Alcohol (90% Alcohol or higher) or preferably something like ArctiClean which is much more efficient at removing thermal compound/pads/grease/gunk/etc. You are supposed to use a lint-free cloth so I typically use an old sunglass cleaning wipe that I got with my sunglasses (tissue or toilet paper would be considered lint-full).

REMEMBER: You MUST remove the thermal pad prior to applying any thermal compound!

Thermal Pad on heatsink Thermal Pad on heatsink angle

*Stock Heat-sink: The heat-sink that comes with your CPU is supposed to provide “Adequate” cooling for your processor. Studies show that computers that are kept cooler tend to perform better and last longer. My suggestion would be to replace the stock heat-sink with a more efficient after-market heat-sink. Even though I build Computers & Servers for a living, I am not psychic and I don’t know the specifics about your computer, so if you would like a heat-sink recommendation, leave me a post and include your computer specs.

Step 2: How to apply Arctic Silver 5 on your CPU


  1. […] Anyways, one day when I wasn’t at the office, I asked him to help me troubleshoot a server. I thought that it might be a CPU that went bad so I asked him to try each one (dual processor motherboard) individually which of course, meant that he would have to remove the processors which in turn leads to cleaning and re-applying the thermal compound (See “How to apply Arctic Silver.”) […]

  2. I have an alienware m5550. My idle temp. is around 80 degrees celcius. They told me they are sending a replacement heasink for some reason. I am buying arctic silver 5. Should I get a new heatsink? If so, what kind?

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