How to Apply CPU Thermal Paste


CPU thermal paste, sometimes referred to as TIM, helps facilitate heat transfer between the CPU and the cooler. This is important for preventing overheating and sudden shutdowns.

Paste is usually applied by placing a dot the size of a grain of rice on the center of the heat spreader. This method is favored by many because it eliminates potential mistakes and allows cooler pressure to spread the paste evenly.
How to apply thermal paste

Before installing your CPU cooler (and especially before applying thermal paste), make sure that the computer is completely off. Any electricity still flowing into the motherboard could damage the CPU or the heat sink.

Before applying any thermal paste, carefully clean the surface of the IHS with alcohol or a cloth. This removes any oils that may interfere with the transfer of heat.

Avoid touching the thermal paste with bare fingers, even after cleaning with alcohol. Your fingers have natural oils that will transfer to the paste and reduce its effectiveness.

Ideally, you want to apply a pea-sized dot of thermal paste in the center of the CPU. This dot will be compressed by the heat sink, and the pressure will spread the thermal paste evenly over time. Using different methods of dispersing the paste has been shown to produce different results, but none of them are likely to affect the CPU’s performance. However, the amount of paste applied is important, so be careful not to use too much.
The dot method

It’s important that you use a small amount of thermal paste and that it is spread evenly. Too much can reduce the effectiveness of the paste as it increases the distance between the metal surfaces and creates a thick layer that reduces heat conduction. A thin layer, on the other hand, will allow the heat sink to effectively transfer heat across the surface.

This method involves applying a dot of thermal paste, roughly pea sized, directly onto the center of the CPU. When you lower the heatsink, it will spread the paste out by applying pressure on the edges.

This method works well with most coolers and can be used for both smaller and larger CPUs. However, it’s important to not apply too much as this will cause air bubbles which will reduce the effectiveness of the paste. This is the main reason why some people recommend using the line or spiral methods. Both will spread out more evenly, and avoid the formation of air bubbles.
The line method

The line method involves applying an adequate amount of thermal paste in a straight line across the CPU. The pressure from the heat sink as it is installed will spread the paste evenly over time. This method works well for most types of paste, but the syringe-style applicator can make it hard to judge how much is needed.

While aluminium and copper are excellent conductors, air is a poor one, which is why it’s so important to fill the gap between the processor and the heatsink with the right amount of thermal paste. Otherwise, you could run into overheating issues.

Manhattan CPU thermal paste is an effective gap-filler that helps create maximum surface-to-surface conductivity between a processor and its heat sink to reduce overheating risks. It also helps eliminate the air gaps between the two surfaces that act as insulators and hamper thermal conduction. It also provides reliable cooling and extends the lifespan of your computer hardware.
The surface spread method

This method involves applying a thin line of thermal paste directly down the center of the CPU. It’s a good option for beginners, as it’s simple and ensures an even spread of the paste before clamping down on the heat sink. However, it can cause air bubbles which will lead to high temperatures and requires a little more effort than other methods.

This is also the most difficult application method to get right, as it can be easy to apply too much paste or get an incompatible pattern and result in spillage and hardware damage. This is particularly common with thermal pastes that have a lower viscosity and may require more pressure to spread evenly. In addition, this method may not be the best choice for thermal pastes with carbon particles, graphene oxide or diamond powder which are more difficult to spread than traditional zinc oxide-based pastes. However, it’s still a great option for those with the budget and patience for a more involved method.

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