Does Changing Thermal Paste Make A Difference? Quick Answer

If you are searching for Does Changing Thermal Paste Make A Difference? Then you are at the right place. The good thing is that most pastes will work fine for most users, and if you’re seeking simple solutions, there are always-popular pastes.

There are many options available if you decide to handle the grunt work yourself (perhaps with the aid of online guides if you’re new), and most of them are tried-and-true classics that haven’t changed in years. If you’ve taken your system into a shop and let them apply the paste, they’ll have a selection on hand and choose their favorites.

Pastes can be broadly divided into two categories: those that conduct electricity and those that don’t. The latter generally contain metal parts, such as Arctic Silver 5(opens in new tab), which conduct heat more effectively. Still, their electrical conductivity might harm parts if it mistakenly gets squirted in the incorrect places.

For beginners wishing to apply it themselves, ceramic- and carbon-based pastes are safer (and simpler) because they aren’t electrically conductive. But because they don’t transfer heat as well, your CPUs will be a little bit hotter. This probably won’t matter unless you’re running a powerful performance machine or using your computer in a warm area.

Does Changing Thermal Paste Make A Difference?

Yes. Before choosing a thermal paste, you should consider what kind of machine you are building and how badly you want to lower the temperature by a few degrees. Also, it would help if you thought about how much you want to spend.

Changing Thermal Paste Make A Difference

The thermal paste must be used between a CPU and a heatsink to ensure heat transfer. Direct metal-on-metal contact between the heatsink and the internal heat spreader of the CPU (the metal part on top of it) results in the best heat transfer. However, these surfaces will never be completely flat due to manufacturing flaws.

Since air is a somewhat strong thermal insulator and will be trapped between the CPU and the heatsink, there won’t be good thermal contact. The purpose of thermal paste is to close these gaps; while it isn’t as effective as metal-on-metal contact, thermal paste is still much better than mere air.

A CPU would not cool as well if it were put without thermal paste (or a suitable replacement, such as a graphite thermal pad) between the CPU and heatsink. To prevent harm to the CPU, this could force the CPU to overheat and throttle itself down, bringing your computer to a crawl. It also might only result in greater fan speeds because of the higher CPU temperatures.

The thermal paste’s dosage is important. The CPU and heatsink won’t be properly coupled if you use too little. Too much will lead to worsening the situation. Nevertheless, having too much is preferable to having too little, and excessive amounts aren’t always bad. You should be alright if the paste completely covers your CPU and there isn’t too much more.

However, any thermal compound from a respectable manufacturer (such as the widely accessible Arctic MX-4) will be sufficient for a regular computer. The caliber of the thermal paste does have some influence. There are specialized high-performance thermal pastes available, but these usually only matter if you’re overclocking or using other cooling solutions that are severely limited.

Most thermal pastes are OK if you aren’t significantly overclocking your computer and maintaining it in a climate-controlled space. Cost is important, of course, but none will break the bank even if you replace it annually, as some computer builders love to do. Prices range from $15 for costly liquid metal TIMs to $2 for generic paste. (This varies depending on who you ask because most compounds don’t need to be replenished for many years.)

What Is The Benefit Of Thermal Paste For A CPU?

The contact area of thermally conductive materials is what transfers heat. In practice, the stamped metal of the chip is not exactly flat, ranging by a few mils throughout its surface, either convex or concave. You would think that the machined flat surface of a heat sink and the printed metal surface of the CPU chip would give the maximum contact area.

The space between the heatsink and chip is quite small, limited to the ship case’s high points and the tips of the sawtooth machine marks, as the machined surface of the heat sink frequently bears machining marks whose side profile is under high magnification looks like a sawtooth.

As a result, the space between them is mostly filled with a few millimeters of air. The use of thermal grease is significantly superior to air but significantly inferior to metal. Grease is used to increase the conduction area by filling the mil-thick airgap significantly.

The saw tooth tops should still be contacted, but if there is too much grease, the chip will float over the heat sink because grease is not as good as metal-to-metal contact. Therefore, it must be used correctly in the application. None is awful, not enough, and too much is also awful.

What Happens To Your CPU If Thermal Paste Is Not Applied?

Because the CPU cooler block is not precisely flat, your CPU heat spreader will not be flat against it. This will result in air gaps between the two, which will heat up. If you’re lucky, this heat will result in a thermal shutdown; if not, the CPU will die. To prevent heat from becoming trapped and leading to issues, thermal paste fills these gaps and transfers heat through them.

In an ideal situation, the CPU heat spreader and block would both be exactly flat, the motherboard and latch mechanism would allow everything to line up, applying equal pressure to both, and there wouldn’t be any air gaps. But that is not how things are. Thermal paste will be necessary while they are not.


Did you understand Does Changing Thermal Paste Make A Difference? It might be the moment to change your thermal paste if your computer has been running too hot and automatically throttles itself to cool down.

However, use compressed air to blow off any dust from inside your machine before you go shopping, paying special attention to the areas around the vents that face the outside. This might be sufficient to reduce the internal temperatures of your computer to safe levels.

If that still isn’t sufficient, look at how the last paste layer was placed since improper application (either too much, too little, or if there are air bubbles) will reduce the amount of heat that passes to your cooling system.

Several instructions are available to teach you the ropes on how to complete the task yourself if your machine is still overheating and you want to jump in and apply new paste yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does brand-new thermal paste differ from the old?

Because it will enable your processor to transfer more of its waste heat to your cooler, the good thermal paste can significantly improve performance and keep your processor running cool. Choosing the best thermal paste is crucial if you want to overclock your system fully.

How Frequently Should You Replace Thermal Paste?

Unless you want to separate your CPU and heatsink or your CPU temperatures start to climb suddenly, you shouldn’t need to change your thermal paste very frequently. Thermal pastes of the high grade shouldn’t need to be replaced earlier than after two years.

Can Toothpaste Be Used as Thermal Paste?

Toothpaste can be utilized as a thermal paste but only as a short-term fix. The substance in toothpaste is an excellent heat conductor. Up until you purchase a premium thermal paste, it is preferable to nothing. But remember that it won’t last more than a few weeks before flaking off and drying. Investing your hard-earned money in high-quality thermal paste is always a good idea.

Thermal Paste: Is It Toxic?

Thermal paste can be hazardous to people, animals, and aquatic life. It would help if you were cautious not to consume it. If possible, put on gloves when working with thermal paste. If the paste gets on your hands, wash them well to prevent getting it in your mouth and eyes.

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