How to apply thermal paste on a CPU?

1. What is thermal paste and what does it do?

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Thermal paste is a thermal conductive compound

Thermal paste, typically used as an interface between heat sinks and heat sources, can fill irregularities and voids in the surfaces of these devices. It is also known as thermal grease, thermal gel, thermal interface material (TIM), thermal compound, heat sink compound, or CPU grease. The primary purpose of using the thermal paste is to improve the flow of heat between two surfaces

The thermal conductivity of a material is how well it can conduct heat and is measured in W/mK (watts per meter-Kelvin). The lower the number, the worse the thermal conductivity. That means it’s a lousy choice for thermal paste as you want it to dissipate heat as efficiently as possible. The paste’s color can indicate its quality, with darker pastes having better thermal conductivity than lighter pastes.

Thermal paste helps to improve cooling performance

Thermal paste is often made from a silicon-based compound, though other materials like aluminum oxide, beryllium oxide, and diamond are also sometimes used. These materials are suspended in a carrier fluid that helps to spread the compound evenly over the surface of the CPU or GPU. Many thermal pastes also contain additives like zinc oxide that help to improve its thermal conductivity.
When appropriately applied, it can help improve your CPU’s or GPU’s cooling performance by up to 10 degrees Celsius. That’s why thermal paste is an essential component for anyone who wants to get the most out of their computer.

2. How to apply thermal paste on a CPU?

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Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it looks!

When you first open up your CPU cooler box, you might be a little intimidated by the process of applying thermal paste. But don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it looks. Here are the tools you’ll need: a clean work surface, a lint-free cloth, isopropyl alcohol, and a putty knife or some other flat edge, some brands of thermal paste comes with a spreader that you can use. First, clean the surface of the CPU with the alcohol and cloth. Then, using the putty knife, apply a small amount of thermal paste to the center of the CPU. Spread it in a thin, even layer, making sure to cover the entire surface area. Be sure to clean up if the paste gets on to the other areas like the mainboard.
Once you’ve applied the paste, you can then install your CPU cooler according to the manufacturer’s instructions. And that’s it! Applying thermal paste may seem daunting at first, but with a little practice it’s easy to do. Just take your time and be careful not to drop anything on your CPU.

3. The best way to apply thermal paste on a CPU

There is constant debate in the online community about the best way to apply thermal paste.

The debate over the best way to apply thermal paste to a CPU is one that has been going on for years, with no clear consensus. Some say that there is no best way, and that results will vary depending on the specific circumstances. Others swear by a particular method, claiming that it always produces superior results. The truth is likely somewhere in between. There are a number of factors that can affect the results of thermal paste application, such as the type of paste used and the surface area of the CPU. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. experimentation is often necessary to find the best method for a given situation. However, some general tips can be useful. When applying thermal paste, it is important to use a small amount and to spread it evenly over the surface of the CPU. These steps will help to ensure optimal heat transfer and prevent overheating.

Image Credit: Christopher Flannigan, “Best Way to Apply Thermal Paste?”

4. Tips and tricks for applying thermal paste on a CPU

First, choose the right thermal paste for your needs.

Applying thermal paste to a CPU can seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple tips and tricks, it can be surprisingly easy. First, it’s important to choose the right thermal paste for your needs. If you’re not sure which one to use, ask a salesperson or look for online reviews. Once you’ve selected the right thermal paste, the next step is to prepare the processor. For best results, remove any existing thermal paste from the integrated heat spreader (IHS) and clean both the IHS and the processor with isopropyl alcohol. Once they’re clean and dry, you’re ready to apply the thermal paste.

Second, dot method vs. line method.

here are two general methods for applying thermal paste: the dot method and the line method. With the dot method, you simply apply a small dot of thermal paste to the center of the IHS and then spread it evenly with a credit card or similar object. With the line method, you apply a small bead of thermal paste along one edge of the IHS and then spread it out with a credit card or similar object. In general, either method will work fine; however, some prefer the dot method because it’s less likely to result in air bubbles beneath the IHS.

Once you’ve applied thermal paste using either the dot method or the line method, it’s time to install the CPU cooler. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully; otherwise, you may void your warranty or damage your processor. Once the CPU cooler is installed, your computer is ready to boot up and enjoy the improved cooling performance!

5. How many types of thermal paste are there and how to differentiate?

It is important to consider the price, performance level, ease of application and long-term stability.

There are various types of thermal paste, including Silicon-based, Metal Oxides, Liquid metal, ceramic and now Carbon-based pastes. Silicon-based and Metal Oxide thermal pastes are the two most common types of thermal paste. Metal Oxide thermal paste is made of a silicon compound and is typically more expensive than Silicon-base thermal paste. Thermal paste is made of a variety of compounds, with both Silicon-based pastes and Metal Oxide thermal paste including metal oxides. Metal Oxide thermal paste is typically more expensive than silicon-based thermal paste and both types of thermal paste can be effective at cooling CPU cores, but Metal Oxide thermal paste typically offers better heat transfer than Silicon-based thermal paste. There is also Liquid Metal thermal paste, which is often used in higher-performance applications and is much harder to apply due to its less viscous nature. Silicon-based thermal paste is easier to apply but is likely to dry out or cake up over time. When choosing a thermal paste, it is important to consider the price, performance level, ease of application and long-term stability.

6. How do I know which thermal paste is the best and what brands are recommended?

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It is crucial to choose the right thermal paste for the job.

There are many thermal pastes on the market, and they vary in terms of thermal conductivity, grade, and performance. The thermal conductivity rating measure of a material’s ability to conduct heat and is one of the most important factor to consider when choosing thermal paste. It is typically expressed in watts per meter-kelvin (W/m-K). The thermal conductivity rating is important because it will determine how well the thermal paste will be able to transfer heat away from the processor.

There are three main grades of thermal pastes: budget, mainstream, and high performance. The thermal conductivity ratings for mainstream ones are about 8.5 W/m-K and high performance ones range around 70W/m-K. Budget thermal pastes are mostly Silicon-based, easily applied and typically recommended for entry-level builds or systems that will not be overclocked. Mainstream thermal pastes are recommended for most builds and can be used for both air and water cooling setups. High performance thermal pastes are typically only used in extreme cases where every last bit of cooling is needed such as with overclocking or extreme gaming such as Digital Combat Simulator. The intended use of the thermal paste will also play a role in determining which type is best.

For example, some thermal pastes are designed for use with CPUs, while others are designed for use with GPUs. If you need thermal paste for a CPU, you will want to get a product that is specifically designed for that application. Many thermal pastes come with an applicator tip to make it easier to apply the paste to the CPU without making a mess. Some thermal pastes even come with a scraper to help remove any old thermal paste that may be on the CPU before applying the new thermal paste. The using a good thermal compound can improve performance on your set ups, be it a budget pc build, a gaming pc build or a professional workstation. If you are looking for other ways to improve performance without spending some extra cash, do look at our articles on XMP and Overclocking your CPU. A tip for first time custom PC builders, the CPU will not come with the thermal compound applied to it but a small tube will usually be included in the box! When it comes to brands, there are many options available on the market today. Some of the more popular brands include Arctic Silver, Cooler Master, Corsair, Deepcool, Noctua, Thermal Grizzly, and Thermaltake.

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