What Is Thermal Paste And Why Is It Important?

Thermal Paste

Processors have improved immensely in the past few years. With competitors like AMD and Intel rapidly shifting gears to make the best processors, it is at the brink of saturation. Choosing the right processor has become extremely difficult because of many options to choose from and a significant increase/fall in prices.

Misconceptions Ruin The Experience!

Most of the people stick to older laptops as they don’t see any reason to upgrade while others complain about overheating issues, slower performance, lousy battery life, etc. They try out different solutions from the internet but do not succeed and blame the manufacturers for giving them “faulty” computers. But, is it the OEMs problem? Not really.


Thermal Paste

Modern CPUs have a gray-colored paste that comes pre-applied; it is called “Thermal Paste.” As the name suggests, it helps to keep your CPU cooler. Ask how? Let us dig deeper.

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Why Thermal Paste?

You might think that putting the heat sink on top of the CPU will solve the problem. The answer is NO. Heat sinks can be either concave or convex, and hence they won’t fit flush on the CPU.

Thermal Paste

As a result, the contact between the heat sink and the processor will be minimum. “But the top of my CPU and the bottom of my heat sink look perfectly flat,” you ask?. They do look flat to the naked eye, but when seen under the microscope, they have uneven surfaces.

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A gap leaves space for the air to flow. As air is a poor conductor of heat, heat sink would be of no use. Think of the processor as a burner on stove and heat sink as noodles in a container. The noodles boil when kept close to the fire, or else they don’t. Thermal paste solves this problem by filling the gap and ensuring that the processor and heat sink is indirectly in contact.

What Is The Thermal Paste Made Of?

Thermal paste is made of Aluminium Nitride, and most of the other thermal pastes are also made of metal. It makes sense as the heat transfer is rapid in metals. However, metals are great electrical conductors, and too much paste can cause a short circuit in your Laptop/PC. It turns out there are other alternatives, such as Arctic Silver 5, which manages to be electrically less conductive.

Thermal Paste

There are thermal pastes that use ceramic, and they cost a lot cheaper. While paste containing metal would do a better job, ceramic remains a good alternative. Apart from pastes, you can also buy thermal pads that also sit flush with the heat sink and the processor. They’re found in graphic card components and is a good option.

Having the thermal paste unchanged can help you cook meals on your laptop; it is not a good idea to let the CPU burn. Hence changing the thermal paste is crucial unless you want to get rid of your old CPU.


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