View Full Version : Ceramic processor and thermal paste

August 22nd, 2013, 06:40 AM
Do the old ceramic 166mhz processors require thermal paste between them and the heat sink mine didn't come with any is this a concern

August 22nd, 2013, 06:49 AM
It's best to have some sort of thermal interface material, though early ceramic processors that required heatsinking often used a "thermal pad," which was a small square of rubber-like material, sometimes sticky.

August 22nd, 2013, 07:58 AM
Ill pop some on

August 22nd, 2013, 09:16 AM
It never hurts. It wasn't required but all it does is fill in the microscopic gaps that might exist and improve the surface contact between the processor and heatsink. It provides the best ability to disperse the heat. The only processors it wasn't recommended on was the open top ones where the die was exposed, most of those I think they still used the sticky pad though. They were just concerned about an uneven distribution of the silicon that could cause hot spots if you did it yourself on those already ridiculously hot (i.e. shouldn't be sold) processors.

September 21st, 2013, 06:05 AM
I worked for a computer shop that built computers back in that era...we put heatsink compound on them...I would say for sure a good idea on 166. I did see some (typically slower) though that didn't have any, and they seemed to run just fine. I also seem to recall a server I looked into one time, and found its heatsink/fan laying on the bottom of the case (one of those that friction clipped onto the sides of the CPU)...I think it was a P90...and it was still humming along just fine. Certainly wouldn't recommend that though!! Then there was the time a new guy to the shop built up a PII...I think it was a 233 or 266 and left off the heatsink/fan. I found it on the bench, case open, as he was installing Windows and it was running just fine. All that said...I wouldn't recommend it...but that clearly proves the quality of Intel CPU's of that era! Then there was the video of some later model (PIII? P4?) that would gear itself down to keep from overheating...take off heatsink, frame rate drops, put it back, and it sped up again. Same thing on an AMD meant letting out the magic smoke. Not to mention the fact that I only ever saw one dead Intel chip, and it was DOA. But...I replaced a number of AMD K6's (-II's I think) under warranty in HP machines...


September 21st, 2013, 08:40 AM
When it comes to grease I don't recommend the usual tubes of Arctic Silver or other extremely expensive computer thermal compounds. Go to the car shop and buy a tube of dielectric grease. I have one tube and it works on everything up to the prescott Pentium 4 and only cost $7.

September 21st, 2013, 10:05 AM
I use Permatex anti-seize compound and have for years and years. Works as well (as far as my testing has shown) as some of the fancy stuff. I've got a 16 oz. bottle of the stuff that's probably at least 30 years old. It's got very fine particles of aluminum suspended in a grease; it's electrically non-conductive. There's also a variety that uses small particles of copper.

September 21st, 2013, 10:56 AM
No they don't, in theory, but if you add some it will allow you to increase the voltage and overclock. Like wesleyfurr said I also once had a Pentium 120 MHz (overclocked at 133) where I had forgotten to connect the power to the heatsink fan. It kept running for a very long time before I accidentally discovered it.

Of course this depends on the CPU as well. The early AMD K5 for example was ceramic and was suffering from overheating, thus AMD changed to a gold platted layer in later K5 CPUs. Cyrix had even worse issues and required both a gold platter layer and a quality heatsink/fan. Intel on the other hand had overheating issues with the early Pentium CPUs and had them gold plattered, but once it solved that issue it went back to the cheaper ceramic versions. And when it got the the MMX line of CPUs, there were further improvements and even less cooling was required.

September 24th, 2013, 05:36 PM
Dielectric grease, eh? That's good to know! We used to use the white Radio Shack heatsink compound...

Ahhh...overclocking... :-) Did some of that back in the day too. P150 running at 166...no sweat...and way less. Then there was the SL2W8 stepping PII-300...ran great at 450...for years! It was a great tip-off from the guy that sold us CPU's. The only time I ever owned a top-of-the-line CPU...and that was in the era when 450 was top for a good while. Amazing thing with both of those is that I didn't have anything fancy for a heatsink/fan...just regular like we used on everything else.


September 24th, 2013, 07:40 PM
I have been using a small tube of RadioShack heatsink compound for years, you just need a small drop and squish it around. It gets used for even the old 486 machines. Recently ordered some of this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/140962551298

I don't think there is that much difference in heatsink compounds in performance, anything is better then an air gap (too much compound is BAD). What you need is something that isn't a permanent stick and will not dry out.