What is CPU Thermal Paste?
Thermal Paste – A silvery-gray substance that you apply to a processor before installing a cooling solution.
It allows for an efficient transfer of heat from the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) of the processor to the base plate or water block of the CPU cooler that is designed to dissipate that heat.
Why do you need CPU Thermal Paste?
Even though the metal base of the CPU cooler and the IHS of the CPU look smooth to the naked eye, these metal plates have microscopic imperfections that can result in poor heat transfer.
The two surfaces aren’t in full contact due to those imperfections, so thermal paste fills in those air gaps, allowing for a more efficient transfer of heat.
Simply put, thermal paste helps your CPU cooler do its job, and a cooler CPU means less potential performance issues, such as throttling.
A few things to keep in mind before starting:
- Make sure that the CPU is clean, and that there isn’t any old thermal paste on it. If there is, carefully remove the old paste from the lid of the CPU with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth or paper towel that doesn’t shed, and let it dry before continuing.
- Before you start applying the thermal paste, make sure the rest of your CPU cooler is ready to install. Consult the instructions, ensure that every step has been completed up to attaching the CPU cooler, and make sure you have any necessary tools close at hand.