What is Thermal Paste?
One of the first concepts that those who start to take a closer look at computer hardware will hear is thermal paste. Thermal paste is not computer hardware but a component used to maintain details. You can find a more detailed answer to the question of thermal paste and answers to other questions about thermal paste in the continuation of the article.
What is Thermal Paste? What is the Purpose of Use?
The air between the processor and the heatsink causes the processor to cool down late, a heating problem. Thermal paste is produced to close the air gap and increase thermal conductivity. The question of what thermal paste is can be answered briefly as a conductive substance that contributes to the faster cooling of the processor.
Computer components that work at high temperatures for long periods are scrapped much faster; that is, they lose their functionality. Even if they do not lose their functions, the computer may experience loss of efficiency, freezing, stuttering, sudden shutdown, etc., problems can be seen. Almost all components must be cooled and not exceed a certain temperature value. Therefore, thermal paste is used in processors.
Does Thermal Paste Really Work?
The effect level of thermal pastes generally varies according to the material used during the production phase. It is a known fact that the effect level of unbranded thermal pastes, whose production is unknown, is almost non-existent. There may be exceptions, but in general, they have no effect. For this reason, it is useful to choose products from well-known brands and for which you can access test results from the internet.
There are no significant differences in branded thermal pastes. If the conductivity values of thermal pastes are high, the maximum temperature values of the hardware may be slightly lower. For example, 85 degrees can be seen in a high conductivity paste, and 89 degrees can be seen in a low conductivity thermal paste produced by a well-known brand and using quality materials. If such small differences are very important to you, you should research brand awareness, conductivity value, and product quality and choose the best product.
How to Apply Thermal Paste Correctly?
We have learned the basics of what is thermal paste and its effectiveness levels. It’s time to use it after purchasing. To use the thermal paste correctly and to get the best efficiency, apply the following items in the order and carefully.
- After making sure that the plate on the processor is free of old thermal paste, squeeze the thermal paste into the middle of the plate as much as a pea or roasted chickpea.
- If you are worried that the thermal paste may overflow from the sides when reinstalling the heatsink, you can spread the thermal paste with a thin plastic card-like material.
- Carefully reinstall the CPU heatsink.
- If the thermal paste has overflowed to the edges of the processor or to a different spot despite all precautions, you should definitely clean it.
- If the heatsink is moving, it means you have too much thermal paste. In this case, you need to remove the thermal paste and repeat the process.
We answered the question of how to apply thermal paste. Some people are confused about how to apply thermal paste. In general, I am asked whether I should apply the paste by spreading or not. Since thermal paste aims to close the air gaps, it would be more logical to spread it. However, if you did not apply enough when you spread, there will still be too much air space. It will be more accurate to squeeze the right amount and spread it in this case. If you do not have enough equipment, a thermal paste can be applied without spreading. In this case, as we mentioned above, you should slowly seat the block without overflowing to the edges.
When to Replace Thermal Paste?
Thermal pastes may not lose their function for years after being applied. However, it is useful to replace it once a year, as there may be a loss of efficiency due to drying. When you check the processor temperature, if the thermal paste is in worse condition than when you first applied it, you should replace it again.
If you think that you cannot answer the questions of what thermal paste is and how to apply it, or if you hesitate to apply it yourself, it is recommended that you go to a competent technical service and have the necessary maintenance procedures done.