Indigo Xtreme

Installation Notes and Procedures

Indigo Xtreme

Being an entirely different form factor of TIM, it’s not surprising that Indigo Xtreme has a new installation method. Included with every kit is a six page information and instruction guide, within which there are roughly four pages of instructions that you must follow carefully. Every step is there for a reason and it’s crucial that you install it as prescribed. While four pages sounds bad, installation of Indigo Xtreme is actually pretty easy. The first time you do it, it feels a little foreign, but once you do it once, it feels like second nature after that and you’ll be able to do it quickly. In the grand scheme of things, the only difficult thing about it is that it is different.

Here is a quick picture tour of the Indigo Xtreme kit and what’s included.

The box the kit comes in:

First opening the box:

A view of the two kits included (only one includes gloves):

A view of a kit opened up:

Here is my summary of mounting Indigo Xtreme:

    • If switching from another TIM and using watercooling, save your overclock settings (either on a piece of paper or to CMOS) and set your CPU to stock speeds and voltages. If on aircooling, set stock speeds and overvolt slightly.
    • Shutdown, tear down, and orient the PC so that the motherboard is horizontal to the ground. Not sorta horizontal–actually horizontal.
    • Clean the CPU and base of the cooler with the included supplies (wear the gloves!). The clean room cloth and solvent wipe are great! You’ll probably be looking online to find where you can buy the solvent wipe because of how effective it is (though it is a bit smelly).
    • Install the CPU and open the little case the Indigo Xtreme comes in…peel off the plastic layer labeled “bottom.” Place it on the CPU as directed.
    • With your finger and using moderate pressure, tap downward over the entire IHS of the CPU. This step is more important than it initially sounds.
    • Peel off the plastic labeled “top” and remove your gloves and install your cooler with even pressure (like normal). You can leave the gloves on if you want, but thumbscrews are really tough to use while wearing them.
    • Start up your computer and boot into windows. Open SpeedFan and start charting your core temperatures. Your temperatures will be really bad, that’s normal.
    • Start a constant loading program, OCCT, Prime, etc. (Linpack variants might not be that great for this due to the lack of a constant load). Unplug the pump or your fan (pump for watercooled setups, fan for aircooled setups). Yes, it’s okay. As a test, I ran mine under load for approximately five minutes without a pump on; it sounds scary but it works fine.
    • Watching SpeedFan, your core temperatures will max out almost instantly. Again, it’s totally fine. If you’re watercooling, your temperatures will drop from 99-100 to the 80s after roughly 10 seconds, let it run for a bit more and then you can plug your pump back in and then let it run for about a minute to cool down before shutting down. I left my pump unplugged for a minute each time, it worked great for me. For an aircooled setup, this process will take a little longer–roughly 5-10 minutes. Just be patient, it’s worth it.
    • You can turn your computer vertical again, or however you want to run it. You can start your computer at your overclocked settings and run to your heart’s desire. You’re all done installing Indigo Xtreme!


For reference, here’s a picture of Indigo Xtreme mounted on the CPU before removing the “Top” plastic piece.


AS5, MX-2, ICD, and Shin-Etsu

Considering these are all classic pastes, installation of these should be more familiar and therefore a little easier. I’m a fan of a bead in the center, varying its size depending on the consistency of the paste. For AS5, I did a line as instructed. Below are pictures showing how much TIM I typically used for each mount. In all cases, coverage of the IHS could be considered at least “good” after removing the waterblock. Of note, I have found that with an unlapped IHS and bowed waterblocks (such as the Swiftech GTZ I used for these tests) require slightly more TIM than using lapped/flat surfaces.

Arctic Silver 5:


Arctic Cooling MX-2:


IC Diamond:


Shin-Etsu X23-7783D:

Thermal Test Results

Now finally some results! First up, the big graph with all my data presented as conveniently as possible.

Note: “Concluding Temp” is the average of all temperatures once the TIM stays below .1% above final temperature. In the case of Indigo Xtreme, MX-2, and Shin-Etsu X23-7783D, it is indicative of performance once broken-in/cured. AS5 and ICD are still curing at the end of twelve hours and I would expect their eventual temperatures to be lower after a full curing session.

Specific TIM Tests

Now that we have looked at the plotted results, let’s isolate the data into groupings of an individual TIMs and look at the specific mount data.


Arctic Silver 5:

AS5 has a pretty large break-in…in the first hour (especially the first few minutes) it performs horribly and then slowly eases downward into better temperatures. In my opinion, at the end of twelve hours, it is still not fully cured, though it is close. The ‘bump’ at 60 minutes is due to the moving average calculation no longer including the really bad temperatures from the first few minutes of load.


Arctic Cooling MX-2:

MX-2, despite being noted as “non-curing,” definitely has a break-in period. I estimate it at roughly 6 hours.


IC Diamond:

IC Diamond has a nearly linear break-in trend over the first twelve hours of load. It does not appear to be fully cured by the end of the test.


Indigo Xtreme:

Note: only three installations of Indigo Xtreme were provided…due to the extremely close results between mounts, I feel very confident in the data. There was no break-in time.


Shin-Etsu X23-7783D:

X23-7783D has the shortest curing time of any of the pastes; it takes roughly 4 hours.

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