Thermal paste is designed to fill microscopic imperfections on the surface of a CPU or GPU.
Thermal paste fills microscopic imperfections on the surface of a CPU or GPU. A well-made heatsink will already have a very smooth surface, and it won’t need much thermal compound. Further, if the heatsink is of high quality, it may not need any at all.
Any heat sink or CPU cooler that comes with a thermal interface material pre-applied can be installed right out of the box.
The short answer is yes, but we don’t recommend it. The most pre-applied paste is of fairly low quality and should be replaced with a high-quality product. If you aren’t confident in your ability to remove the old paste and apply new, however, just ask PC Repair Services.
There are two main reasons not to use pre-applied thermal paste: the first is that most of it is pretty low quality; the second is that it may not be evenly spread on the CPU when you purchase the CPU cooler.
Removing Pre-Applied Paste:
Pre-applied thermal paste can be removed using either rubbing alcohol or a cleaning wipe (the same kind used for cleaning off an old CPU) by slowly working at the surface until all of the thermal compound has been removed from both surfaces (CPU and heatsink). This process can take some time, so work slowly to ensure all of the paste has been removed before attempting to apply your new thermal compound.
It’s important to apply a new layer of thermal compound when you change your processor, and sometimes when you change your heat sink.
It is important to apply a new layer of thermal compound when you change your processor, and sometimes when you change your heat sink. The reason for this is that pads supplied with processors and heat sinks are usually only good for one use. If the same pad is used again, it will be compressed, lose its effectiveness as a heat insulator, and may even develop cracks or holes in it.
Also, if you have never opened your computer case before, there’s a chance that no thermal material was applied at all when the factory put the CPU in place. That’s not really an issue with newer CPUs because they come with a built-in layer of thermal material on the underside (the part that makes contact with the heatsink), but older CPUs did not always have this feature. Even if your CPU has its own layer of thermal material though, it’s still best to add an extra layer of compound to maximize its effectiveness.
The best thermal paste has a very low thermal resistance, meaning it will dissipate heat very quickly.
- Thermal paste is not an actual paste—it’s a compound that dissipates heat from your CPU and GPU. It doesn’t conduct electricity but it does conduct heat, making sure everything stays nice and cool inside your computer.
- Thermal paste is used as a filler for microscopic imperfections in the surfaces of CPUs and GPUs. The gap between these surfaces would usually lessen their ability to transfer heat effectively, so thermal paste makes sure that doesn’t happen.
The best thermal paste for CPUs and GPUs will conduct heat better than any other materials in common use.
Thermal paste aids heat transfer by filling in any microscopic imperfections in the surfaces of CPUs and GPUs. These imperfections can cause air pockets that reduce the effectiveness of heat sinks—by filling them in, thermal paste guarantees better thermal conductivity.
This type of paste comes in several forms, most commonly as pads that are pre-applied to coolers, or as a tube or syringe filled with loose material. No matter what form it’s in, you’ll need to apply it directly to the top of your CPU before installing a heat sink.