How Much Thermal Paste Should I Apply to My CPU

By Louis Cook

How Much Thermal Paste Should I Apply

How Much Thermal Paste Should I Apply?

People are asking the same question again and again…

In this post, I will tell you how much thermal paste you should apply to CPU.

Nowadays many people want to build their desktops on their own. The process is quite simple. However, applying thermal paste is a rather difficult one. If not done correctly, it can harm your CPU.

If you are wondering how to do it right, you are at the right place. In this article, I will share with you the exact process including the exact amount you need, and some insights. Let’s begin.

What is A Thermal Paste:

The Thermal Paste is a semi-fluid compound that is applied to the CPU metal housing. It is also known as the Thermal gel, Thermal grease, or Thermal Interface Material. The main role of thermal paste is to eliminate air spaces or gaps from the interface area so as to maximize heat transfer. It acts as a thermal insulator.

Where and When Should You Apply It:


Image Source: Howtogeek

First of all, let’s talk about where on CPU should you apply the thermal paste.

To answer this question, I would say, you should apply the compound on top of the CPU. Apply it to the metal plate that is smooth. A good way to distinguish it is to find where the manufacturer name and model number of the product is printed.

Do not apply it on the bottom. To make it easier for you, it is the place where numerous pins or squares are placed. In addition, keep in mind that you should never apply it on the CPU socket of the motherboard as well. This would result in a ruined CPU.

Now, the question that comes to mind is when to apply the thermal paste? 

It is not necessary to apply every time. Such as when you use a cooler that came with your CPU, chances are it already has thermal paste put on.

To make sure, check the heat transfer plate. It is situated beneath the heatsink and fan assembly and is copper in color. Look for grey patches on the plate. If you spot them, rest assured, the thermal paste is present.

In case you are swapping out a new CPU, you need to put it on. To do that, first, remove any excess old paste and then apply a new coat. Isopropyl alcohol is a great choice to remove old and excess paste.

How Much Thermal Paste Should I Apply:

The point where many get confused is how much paste should they apply. The answer is, just a small amount. All the prominent CPU manufacturers such as Intel recommend only a pea-sized amount. Also, we have made a list of best thermal paste for you, do check out now.

Take the paste out of the tube, and place it in the center of the CPU. Then place the cooler on top of it and fix it with the mounting hardware. The tube is often included with the CPU and cooler. If not, you can always buy it separately.

After you have put it, just leave it there. Do not spread it out across the metal plate. The paste will spread out on its own as the cooler mounts onto the CPU. You do not need to worry about that.

[alert-announce]Also, keep in mind that lower amount of paste is always better than higher amounts.

If you put on little thermal paste and the CPU heats up, you can easily remove it and apply a new coat of paste. However, if you apply it to much, it will seep through the plate and chip. It will make its way into the CPU socket. This, in turn, will result in too much heat transfer to the electrical contacts and surrounding places. It is bad for the CPU, and it can do some damage.

Also, removing the thermal paste from the CPU socket is a complicated and daunting task.[/alert-announce]

So, these are all the information you need to know. If you have any questions in your mind, or if you want me to discuss something else with you, let me know in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.