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I'm pretty nervous about water cooling and applying thermal paste.

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Feb 2, 2001
Tbird 1Gig socket A
Abit Kt7a or Kt7a Raid (undecided)
300 W PS

Since I have never done this, any explanations would be helpful. My present picture of how this is done is smearing thermal paste over the top of the chip. This doesn't sound right to me because that would both be a pain in the @SS to get off, and if using a conductive paste with silver base could also be a problem with the L7 bridges right?

Clearly a newbie but then everyone was once!

If anyone has taken pictures of this proceedure or knows where I can find them I would be most appreciative.
You only want to cover the core of the cpu- the raised portion in the center. Place a small amount of thermal compound on the cpu core (about the size of a large paper matchhead) and press the heatsink against it and move it around slightly while applying mild pressure to spread the compound. The entire contact point of the core should have a thin uniform layer of compound- not quite transparently thin, but not much beyond that. The idea is to fill microscopic imperfections in the core and heatsink to aid thermal transfer.
If it appears fairly uniform over the core, install the heatsink normally, and the retaining pressure will displace any excessive compound.
Test your watercooler outside of your case for about a week, and if things are all well and good at the end of the week, you should be fine to go. You can save yourself some money buying finding the radiator for your watercooler by just picking up a heater core or transmission oil cooler from a junkyard. I tore mine out of a de-humidifier, along with the fan that was in there with it. Total cost- Free!