Thermal paste is a substance that is used in the heating and cooling of computers. It does this by providing a thermally conductive paste that helps to draw heat away from one component, such as a CPU or graphics card, and then spreads it out over a larger surface area.
Thermal paste is also commonly used with heatsinks to improve their heat dissipation properties. Although thermal paste is not an essential part of the computer, it can help keep your computer running smoothly without any interruptions or problems if done correctly. Just follow a few rules when installing it and you’ll be set.
If you’re unsure which type of thermal paste to buy, there are some guidelines we have provided that you can follow that may help you make a better decision. The guidelines below will make it much easier to choose the right paste for your specific application, whether it be a laptop or desktop computer.
Step by step guide
First up is determining which thermal conductivity and viscosity you need for your machine. These two properties work together to determine how quickly heat transfers away from one surface and into another. While you could do the research yourself, it’s likely easier to just ask an employee at a computer store for assistance. If you know what type of CPU or graphics card you have, this would be especially helpful as some types need vastly different conductivities and viscosities than others.
Next up is deciding whether or not to use a past that includes a metal heatsink. Some do, some don’t so it’s important to be sure what you’re buying. If the heatsink is very small and metal, chances are good that you’ll need a past with one so make sure to specify this when purchasing your paste.
Lastly, take into account which type of thermal interface material (TIM) you need. There are many types on the market, but which one is right for your machine? It’s hard to say without knowing exactly what type of TIM your CPU or graphics card uses. If you don’t know this information already, make sure to ask a computer salesperson if they can help.
How to apply thermal paste
There are a few things you should know when applying thermal paste. The first one is less is more. Some people try to use as much as possible thinking that will help them gain performance, but it doesn’t do anything except waste the product and increase costs.
Another thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that optimal temperature is reached after a couple hours of usage. This is the time it takes for all of the air pockets to get out of your pasted surface and allow full, even transfer between one piece and another.
How you apply it also matters so keep these things in mind when spreading your thermal paste on your CPU or GPU:
CPU or GPU
– Use a small amount. Most people use too much, but one small dot of paste is usually enough.
– Remove all tape from your heatsink and CPU or GPU. You won’t want anything to get in the way of a good bond between pieces.
– Spread it evenly across the surface. Don’t go too thin, but don’t make a huge mess either.
– If you are using a metal heatsink, make sure the paste is suitable for it. Some pastes conduct electricity which can cause issues with your computer components.
– Some people recommend wiping the existing TIM off of the CPU before applying any fresh thermal paste. You might want to try this first if you’re having trouble getting good temperatures.
– Before turning on your computer after applying fresh thermal paste, give it a few hours to allow the air pockets in the pasted surface to go away and for the pieces to bond correctly.
The last thing you should know is that most people find that liquid metal TIMs require less time for the air pockets to dissipate and they reach optimal temperatures faster than wet pastes. There are, however, some liquid metals out there that conduct electricity just like some of the water-based pastes do so always double check if you’re unsure before buying or applying.