How To Apply Thermal Paste And How It Works?

If you’ve looked inside the processor, you’ve probably heard of thermal paste. Thermal paste is also known as thermal paste, thermal gel, CPU paste, thermal interface material (TIM), etc. It plays a vital role in the efficient operation and performance of the processor. This article explains how to apply the thermal paste and how it works.

Thermal paste is an essential factor when installing a CPU cooler, and choosing the optimal thermal paste is also very important. For example,  thermal solutions are already there when buying a graphics card. You don’t have to work hard to install a GPU cooler unless you buy a custom water cooling unit. However, you will need a  thermal paste to use the CPU cooler. Some processors already have them, and some need to be applied when installing a processor cooler.

The CPU is the brain of a computer system and performs several tasks simultaneously. CPU temperature fluctuates due to numerous tasks and very complex duties. During this time, the thermal paste manages the heat transfer and maintains the processor’s temperature. High temperatures can seriously damage your processor and sometimes your computer’s motherboard. A small size thermal paste is all you need to troubleshoot thermal or thermal problems in your computer system.

Thermal Paste Methods (Steps):

Read all instructions before you begin:

Please read all of the points below carefully before starting the installation process to help you make a proper plan. Read all instructions before you begin. Please read the instructions for the thermal paste and CPU cooler carefully before starting the process. Different brands have different approaches or prerequisites, so it’s good to know everything. If you have previously applied the thermal paste to the CPU cooler, proceed to step 3. If not, you will need to use a pea-sized thermal paste to the center of the heatsink.

Installing the CPU Cooler:

Press lightly to place the cooler base plate on the CPU and maintain pressure while attaching the cooler to the mount. To prevent the cooler from sliding, apply enough force to spread the thermal paste evenly. Do not apply too much force; it may damage the processor motherboard. Holding the cooler in place, tighten the screws to the motherboard and cooler. Slowly tighten all screws one at a time to adjust the pressure.


Double-check that the water block or CPU support board is properly attached. There should be no thermal paste on the edges and on the motherboard. If there is,  you should clean everything with isopropyl alcohol and repeat the same process from the beginning. And everything is fine, and the cooler does not move in place when touched. Alright, then congratulations!! You did a great job.

Best Way To Apply Thermal Paste To CPU:

We all know that most CPUs need a thermal solution to improve their performance, but installing a CPU cooler in a PC is quite tricky. All CPU coolers require thermal paste, and some CPUs come pre-applied with thermal paste for easy installation. Check your CPU cooler water block or baseplate to ensure the thermal paste has been pre-applied. If you have the silver paste in there, you don’t need to apply thermal paste when installing the processor.

Make sure your CPU doesn’t have an old thermal paste. It should be clean; let it dry to continue the process.  Make sure you are ready to install the rest of the CPU cooler, then apply thermal paste. You can use our helpful guide to make sure you have completed all the steps to apply the thermal paste and install the CPU cooler.

Important terms to know:

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The information processing unit of a computer. The central processing unit does all the work on the PC and sends commands to other computer hardware. The CPU is the brain of your PC. Modern processors perform high operations every second, generating a lot of heat. For best performance and high efficiency, the CPU should be cooled with a cooling unit. Baseplate: The metal base of the air cooler is connected to the CPU’s built-in heatsink. The design and material of the base plate ensure heat transfer through a convection process. It transfers heat to the heatsink fins that are radiated to the environment by the heatsink fan.

The integrated heat sink (IHS)

The IHS is the metal cover of the processor. The IHS acts like a heat sink, dissipating heat from the CPU to the CPU cooler. It also protects the processor from the inside out. Also, this is the open part of the processor after installation and the surface to which the thermal paste is applied. CPU Cooler: The CPU cooler controls the temperature of the CPU. Typically, air or liquid keeps the CPU at an optimal temperature while the system is performing very complex tasks.

Water Block:

The water block is the second part attached to the base plate. With an all-in-one water cooler or dedicated cooling circuit to lower CPU temperatures, it provides a hose for optimal water cooling circuitry while providing safe water retention. However, it transfers heat from the heat spreader to the fluid. The heat transfer fluid then redirects the heat dissipated by the fan to the heat sink. Thermal Grease: Thermal paste is a silvery gray substance. Optimizes the overall heat dissipation of the CPU by improving heat transfer from the CPU IHS to the base plate or CPU cooler water block.

Thermal Grease Requirement:

In fact, the metal base of the CPU cooler and CPU IHS look neat and smooth, but these metal plates have a minor flaw that doesn’t transfer heat well. As a disadvantage, these two surfaces do not fully contact. The thermal paste helps to fill these microscopic gaps and improve heat transfer efficiency. Applying thermal paste makes the CPU cooler work effectively and solves problems like throttling.

Things to avoid:

Use a pea-sized thermal paste. Apply enough thermal paste to the surface. And too much paste can reduce the effectiveness of the paste and even damage the motherboard during installation. It can be tempting to press the cooler base plate by hand. The pressure in the base plate or water block guides the installation process. If applied improperly, air bubbles may form in the thermal paste, affecting its thermal conductivity. Re-applying the thermal paste may cause new air bubbles to form. If you encounter problems during installation, please remove the CPU cooler. Now remove all paste and start the process again. For long-term use, apply thermal paste properly and install a CPU cooler. 


In most cases, there is no need to change the thermal paste for years. However, when the cooler is removed, the thermal paste must be reapplied. Also, if the CPU temperature is high, the thermal paste should be replaced to improve heat transfer. Check with the thermal paste manufacturer and follow all steps if in doubt. But people don’t talk much about thermal paste. Some people are not even aware of the uses and importance of thermal pastes.

However, it maintains the optimum temperature for hardware such as CPU or GPU. Therefore, it is essential to have an in-depth knowledge of the thermal applications and methods of application before installing a CPU cooler.  We hope this article helped you learn more about thermal paste.

Arslan Ashraf
Arslan Ashraf is Computer Expert. He developed his passion for reviewing the latest tech products. He likes to review every single piece of Hardware. If you have any questions related to Tech Products. He'll be happy to answer you.