What is thermal conductive paste and how does it work?

Thermal conductive paste, also known as thermal paste, is a special mixture primarily used in electronics and computers to enhance thermal conductivity between two surfaces. It is most commonly applied between the processor (or another heat source) and the heatsink. Many thermal pastes contain components with high thermal conductivity, such as silver, copper, or gold. These components help in effective heat conduction.

The main task of the paste is to fill the micro gaps on both the processor cover and the heatsink. Although the surfaces appear perfectly smooth, they unfortunately have imperfections that create air pockets, which block heat conduction.

 

How often should Thermal Conductive Paste be replaced?

The frequency of replacing the paste depends on several factors. However, the most important one is the intensity of use, specifically the number of hours requiring high computing power used in gaming or graphic design programs. The paste also loses its properties in high-temperature and/or high-humidity environments.

For most users, it is recommended to replace the thermal paste every 2-3 years, but the best way to determine the need for replacement is by monitoring the processor’s temperature. For safety, it is advisable to keep the core temperature below 80°C during heavy load, although higher temperatures are acceptable for some models.

The main symptoms of processor overheating include decreased performance, application errors (unstable operation, crashes), and in extreme cases, sudden restarts or even shutdowns of the unit. Prolonged overheating can lead to permanent damage to the processor and other computer components. If you notice unusually high temperatures, it may be a sign that it is time to replace the paste earlier, especially since it can be done in a few simple and safe steps.

 

How to quickly and safely replace Thermal Conductive Paste

You can do this in a few simple steps, but first, you need to prepare a few things. First, choose a workspace that is clean and spacious, as it will be your operation station. Prepare materials such as isopropyl alcohol, tissues or cleaning paper, and of course, thermal conductive paste. Remember to check that the computer is unplugged! Your safety is the most important.

 

Thermal Conductive paste replacement step by step

Step 1: Access the heart of Your computer

Open the case by removing the side panel. The processor with the cooling system should now be visible.

Step 2: Removing the cooling system

Unscrew the screws securing the cooling system to the motherboard. Gently remove the cooling system from the processor.

Step 3: Cleaning

Using a tissue soaked in alcohol, gently remove the old thermal conductive paste. After a few seconds, the surfaces of the processor and cooling system should be completely clean and ready for the new paste.

Step 4: Applying new paste

Gently apply a small amount of new thermal conductive paste to the processor chip, then spread it with a spatula. The thermal paste should cover as much of the processor cover as possible. Don’t worry if there is too much paste. You can remove the excess with the included spatula. Remember, this product has high density, so it doesn’t spread out, staying on the processor cover and heatsink.

Step 5: Mounting the cooling system

Place the cooling system on the processor. Tighten the screws alternately to ensure even pressure on the paste.

Step 6: Testing

After closing the case, plug in the computer and turn it on.

 

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In Summary

By replacing the thermal conductive paste, you will improve the performance and safety of your computer’s cooling system. Remember that regular cleaning and maintenance are the keys to long and trouble-free use of your equipment. Good luck!

 

Learn more about heat transfer on our website.