Thermal paste is a special product that can be used to keep your PC cold when it starts to get hot during use. If your computer is running multiple powerful processes at once, especially programs that make heavy use of graphics, your computer can get a little hot. This article discusses whether thermal paste brands can make a noticeable difference in computer temperature.
Are all thermal pastes the same?
Thermal paste is one of the preferred names for substances intended to take heat from the CPU and transfer it to the heat sink. In games and other communities, it is commonly known as a thermal interface material.
Sometimes called thermal grease or thermal gel, these names all refer to the same basic product. The real question is whether different types of thermal paste can perform different functions.
All thermal pastes are designed to perform the same function. However, different pastes are made up of different combinations of composition, effectiveness, viscosity, and price. Not all thermal pastes are the same with all of this in mind, but it can be difficult to determine how they differ.
Before digging into things, there are important points to consider. There are two main types of this paste. The first type conducts electricity, but the second type does not.
The electrically conductive paste contains several metallic components. These types tend to conduct heat more easily than the corresponding types. However, trace amounts of metal in these pastes can also damage more sensitive electronic components. Beginners of thermal pastes or gels are advised to use the ceramic version instead. Keep doing this until you feel how the paste works.
Any group of enthusiasts can use their favorite thermal paste, but conductivity is one of the same differences that everyone should know before making any changes to an existing paste in a computer. Another thing to note is consistency or viscosity.
In some cases, you may come across a thermal paste that looks too much like an adhesive. When this happens, the paste may be too sticky to actually conduct heat well, instead causing the movement between the CPU and heat sink to freeze. This is rare with thermal paste, but it’s a good idea to be aware of this possibility before buying anything as a newcomer.
Can I use thermal paste on my CPU?
Because CPUs tend to get hot during operation, most manufacturers apply pastes, gels, or some sort of coolant to their computers before packing and shipping them. Computers that have not yet been coated with thermal paste will be rare. You can use any thermal paste on any CPU, but be careful here for laptops.
- You can apply or reapply thermal paste to your laptop CPU. However, try this only if your laptop is badly overheated on a regular basis and you don’t know what else is wrong.
- To apply the paste to your laptop yourself, you need to disassemble a significant portion of your laptop and open it to the motherboard and other important and sensitive components. Care should be taken when disassembling a laptop, as it is generally easier to work inside a standard desktop than a laptop.
- For laptops, overheating can often be more of a fan issue than thermal paste. However, dry thermal paste can always be a problem.
- You can continue to use moderate quality thermal paste for your laptop CPU, but you may run into problems if you try to replace it yourself. The laptop already has a good thermal paste installed and will not need to be replaced unless there is a problem.
In short, it’s perfectly fine and it’s a good idea to make sure that the thermal paste is applied to the CPUs of all computers. You can also change the thermal paste on your laptop if needed. There are different ideas about whether a laptop thermal paste or gel needs to be reapplied.
In most cases, you can leave the thermal paste on your laptop unless you have a serious overheating problem that is not caused by the fan.
If you encounter these issues with your laptop, it may be best to have a professional look at the device instead of disassembling it yourself. This type of maintenance on your laptop will void your warranty and may make repair difficult if something goes wrong during disassembly.
Are different thermal paste brands important?
In most cases, different brands of thermal paste use very similar compositions to achieve the desired effect of keeping the PC cool. You may see slight differences, but these changes are only important if you are overclocking your system. For the average user, the difference of several degrees is not so important.
So if you’re a beginner or just want to make sure your CPU is working properly, most brands of thermal paste will work. If you are new to thermal paste, it is a good idea to check if you can identify the brand or type you used when assembling your computer. Otherwise, you can seek recommendations from any computer store or dedicated forum. As long as you’re careful, just trying out the thermal paste brand of your choice and seeing if you like it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
You may find a group of DIY enthusiasts who prefer one brand to another. In such cases, they may have conducted extensive testing on multiple brands of thermal paste to find the perfect one.
However, it is important to note that different system rigs may have different thermal paste or cooling requirements. A standard midrange brand of thermal paste should meet your needs well and you can always experiment later to find your favorite brand.
Is it okay to use cheap thermal paste?
It’s perfectly fine to use cheap thermal paste. You don’t have to pay the price of such a coolant. They have already outlined that much of what is found on the market works as well.