Our Asus GTX480 has served us well with Nvidias stock cooler. But to keep the card in optimal shape it might be a good idea to let it run at cooler operating temperatures. It's time to pop off the reference cooler... After a dozen of screws you should be able to get the card bare naked.
Now look at that amount of thermal paste. The heatsink, which has direct contact heatpipes, get's scorching hot when gaming. For the PWMs and VRMs the Nvidia design uses thermal pads to aid dissipation via the huge black heatsink.
Time to give the old lady a good rince. I mainly use Aceton for the PCB and rams and Arctic Silvers cleaning kit to remove the superfluous goo.
Our card has sustained LN2 abuse and a lot of armaflex was used. Practically impossible to completely clean up. Though after 15mins of scrubbing the end result is pretty good and the card is ready to get it's new improved cooling.
Time to mix the two parts of the glue. Even a child can do it, just take your time. Then use the plastic spoon to evenly distribute the G1 mixture to the RAM ICs and the PWMs as marked in the manual. Center the mounting plate on the GPU, to judge the amount of clearance the ram heatsinks need ( this to not interfere with the copper heatpipes ) Then position the appropriate heatsinks. Always make sure you are not creating any false contacts between some electronic parts. Then your job off the day is done, as the thermal glue needs a 5 hour rest. The components feel pretty loose at first glance, but after the curing time they are firmly fixed.