Applying Thermal Paste on the CPU and GPU

How to apply thermal paste to a CPU

laptop cooling paste / thermal paste (also called thermal grease, CPU grease, thermal compound, thermal grease compounds etc.) is a sticky paste placed directly onto the CPU or other I.C. for a more direct heat transfer between the chip and the heat sink. The main purpose is to fill in the microscopic gaps that naturally occur when two flat surfaces (CPU and cooler) are pressed against one another.

Thermal paste lose its efficiency over time. The life span depends upon the quality. A good thermal paste would last a year, two or even more.

For better heat conduction and temperature regulation, the thermal paste has to be applied periodically. This ensures that your processor and graphics card run optimally at normal temperatures.

Most of the basic thermal compounds contain zinc oxide (sufficiently fit the needs of most people), while more expensive compounds contain silver or ceramic conductors with better heat transmission.

Here is how you can apply thermal paste quickly and safely:

1: Prep the CPU and cooler

The first step is to clean off the old thermal material

Wipe the contact surfaces clean with a lint-free cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol (use higher percentage of alcohol, 90 percent is better).

If the old paste dries out, you can use a soft plastic edge (credit card) and scrape it.

The laptop processor is more fragile. Be careful when you clean it!!!

Repeat the process until both the CPU and cooler are totally clean

2: Apply the thermal paste

The thermal paste itself is not as thermally conductive as metal, so it is important that not too much is used.

There is no one perfect technique to apply thermal paste and in this article I will show you easiest and least likely to go wrong.

First up, just place a tiny drop of thermal paste on top of the CPU and the GPU. Make sure to place it right in the center to provide you enough room to spread it out.

Now, take your plastic card and spread it out evenly till the boundaries. You may even do so with your hands, but just make sure to wear some latex gloves.

Make sure that there are no gaps that need to be filled. Once you close that lid, you never want to go through the whole process again just to fill up some gaps. So take a good look at it, and if need be, spread it out more evenly.

Repeat the same process for the Graphics Processing Unit.

When done, mount the heat-sink and the fan back on. Be sure to fit them properly. If this you’re an amateur, then take a good amount of time to get everything in the right place. Place the back cover and screw it shut once you’re done.

Run a Small Test

CPU-Z is a freeware

Now is the time to run a small test to make sure that you’ve done the job well. Boot up your computer and run some CPU intensive programs for about 15 minutes. Now, would be an ideal time to measure the temperatures inside. Your manufacturer support software usually lets you do it, otherwise, you can simply download a program off the internet to do so.

CPU-Z is a popular program. Another reliable program is SpeedFan.

What is a safe and normal CPU temperature range?

The temperature rating of the CPU may depend on the model

Idle temperatures within 35 degrees centigrade are okay (Computer idling at Windows desktop with no open windows or programs).

Normal Temperature within 65-70 is acceptable ( Computer during heavy use on gaming, video editing, virtualization etc).

If you’re looking at temperatures above 70 degrees, there might be something wrong with your laptop. In such cases, it’s always recommended to get it checked by an authorized service center. But this usually never happens.

Applying Thermal Paste on the CPU - Video tutorial

In most cases, the temperatures will be in control, and your laptop will perform like it used to when you first unboxed it.


Isn’t that easy? Simple steps to an all-round maintenance of your computer hardware. If you’re well versed with the internals of a laptop, you can get this done within 25-30 minutes.

And that’s

>>> Cleaning Laptop Cooling System

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