Before I begin: CPU is a Core 2 Quad, the original ones, like, the first iteration of the Q6600. Anyway, when I first got this computer, temps idled in the mid 20's and low 30's. Checked a month ago, was around 57c(!) idle. Noting high temps, I took a can of compressed air and cleaned everything out. Dropped by 5c, but was still high. I ordered some thermal paste (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007). Today, I applied it. Noticed temps were higher. Hmm. Took it off, realised I applied way too much (2 rice grains worth). Cleaned it all off using 70% alcohol and cotton swabs. Reapplied it again, spread it carefully using x-acto knife, and this time it was VERY THIN. After turning on my pc, temps were 48c. Better, but still not close. What am I doing wrong? Speedfan also reports a lot of other temps in the mid 20's and low 30's, so I doubt its my case. Pictures: CPU clean right before putting on HS+F HS cleaned before applying new paste... what are those scratches? Thin layer applied. 3/4th of a grain of paste. Any help appreciated. Also I can't afford a new heatsink. though I will start saving for one. I need a medium sized heatsink that would do well to accommodate this Core 2 Quad.