The Best Types of Thermal Pastes
Settling on the right kind of thermal paste can be confusing sometimes. It all boils down to the type of computer that you intend to work on, and the level of skill that you or anyone else doing the application has. We recommend avoiding the liquid-based pastes in general. If you are an inexperienced user, don’t work with metal-based pastes because they are dangerous. The liquid-based pastes contain metal bits in most cases, meaning that even the tiniest of spillage can fry your processor and void your warranty. You must suffer some damage from the slightest of mistakes. If you are new into the application of thermal pastes, work with ceramic-based and silicon-based pastes to reduce the risk of damage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between thermal paste and thermal grease?
There is no difference between the two. They both refer to the same thing.
Is the use of thermal paste necessary?
Thermal paste is essential in lowering the temperature of your CPU. Your CPU will most of the time heat up while performing demanding tasks like gaming and video editing. When it becomes too hot, it is likely to throttle, affecting the performance of your computer. Applying thermal paste will go a long way in alleviating this problem besides adding some time onto your computer’s lifespan. You should consider investing in a thermal paste if you are a serious computer user.
What is thermal conductivity?
Thermal conductivity refers to the capacity of a substance to distribute heat across its surface. The most effective thermal pastes always ensure an even spread of heat, making it easier to dissipate at the bottom of the heatsink.
What tools should you use to apply thermal paste?
It all depends on the person. You can use an old credit card if you purchase a thermal paste without a spreader. Ensure that you coat the entire processor surface and for even spreading between the CPU and the heatsink.
Why are non-electrically conductive thermal pastes the best?
More power circulates near the processor. For this reason, the thermal paste you use shouldn’t be electrically conductive to prevent a short-circuit. Any damage from short-circuiting will void your warranty if you are still covered by one.
What amount of thermal paste should I apply?
Ideally, a pea-sized amount of thermal paste should suffice. Something like the amount of toothpaste you would give a toddler. Nevertheless, the amount shouldn’t be that important – you need to spread the paste evenly to facilitate the optimum dissipation of heat.
The Bottom Line
The stock thermal paste that usually accompanies CPU coolers is nothing compared to any of the ones mentioned in this roundup. If at any point you feel some heat on your processor, even at a low temperature, you should consider getting one of these thermal pastes. Application of these compounds does not only stop at PCs – if you are working on a laptop, you can visit an expert to replace the thermal paste for you. Different other options are also available besides the five products mentioned above, and depending on your budget and performance needs – you can make a choice between liquid-metal based or grease-based thermal pastes. Go for the liquid-metal thermal compounds only if little temperature differences matter to you. If that is not the case for you, go for the other option because liquid-based compounds are a bit trickier to work with and have a higher risk factor.