What is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste has an important role to play in keeping processors cool and functional. So what is thermal paste, and how does it work?

If you’re planning to build a PC, it’s important that you understand the value of thermal paste in keeping PCs operational and in good working condition. This way, you can create a product that is made to last. 

Here’s everything you need to know about thermal paste, what it is, and how it works. 

What is thermal paste?

Thermal paste, also known as thermal grease, is a substance used to separate a PC’s processor and heat sink, allowing for consistent thermal control within the PC device.

Thermal paste is used to transfer excess heat away from the CPU of a PC system. Heat collects in the device’s heat sink and is expelled, helping to keep the CPU cool, even when it is completing advanced processing. 

How does thermal paste work?

Thermal paste acts as a heat conductor, drawing heat away from one surface and transferring it to another. 

In PC builds, thermal paste is used to close air gaps and allow for easy heat transfer from the CPU to the heat sink. This prevents overheating and associated device failures. 

Over time, thermal paste can wear down, becoming dry and ineffective. This makes is difficult for optimal heat transfer to occur, meaning that the CPU is more prone to overheating. In these instances, new thermal paste can be applied as a simple repair solution. 

Is thermal paste needed?

Some builders doubt the importance of thermal paste, but the truth is that thermal paste should be an essential addition to any PC build. 

Thermal paste allows for much more functional, longer-lasting computer systems that don’t overheat upon complex use. The heat transfer provided by thermal paste helps to prevent CPU heat increase, which can lead to crashes, breakdowns, and shutdowns. 

How is thermal paste applied?

There are several different ways to apply thermal paste, each with their own merits. 

The simplest, easiest way to apply thermal paste is by placing a small drop of paste on the middle of a PC processor. After this, you can attach the heat sink to the processor, applying even pressure on all four corners to distribute the paste. 

Alternatively, you can also apply thermal paste using a line-based strategy, covering the processor. However, this requires good knowledge of processor features to avoid causing damage. 

If your thermal paste comes with an applicator, you can use this to spread the paste evenly, sealing any gaps that may allow for escaped air flow. 

How can you choose the best thermal paste?

When choosing thermal paste, it’s important to choose the right type for your build and needs. 

Before you purchase, check for efficiency ratings, based on test results that used your chosen brand. Where possible, find and read reviews that demonstrate the effectiveness and lasting time of the product you plan to purchase. 

It’s also a good idea to consider things like drying speed, especially if you’re building your PC on a strict timeline. 


If you need thermal paste, RS Online can help. Visit the online store, and choose your next purchase!


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