How to Apply Thermal Paste

How to Apply Thermal Paste? Expert Tips

When it comes to optimizing the performance of your computer, one crucial but often overlooked step is the proper application of thermal paste. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of applying thermal paste like a pro. Whether you are a seasoned tech enthusiast or a beginner looking to improve your computer’s cooling efficiency, this article will provide you with all the essential information you need.

Before I talk about my favorite way to apply, it’s helpful to know some of the problems that can happen with other ways to apply. The “line method” is the name for one of the most common ways to do things. It’s just like it sounds. Apply a thin line of thermal paste right down the middle of the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader), and then let the pressure of the CPU cooler spread the paste out as you secure it.

The problem with this method is that the paste doesn’t get spread out evenly. If you put on enough paste to cover the whole CPU, you’ll probably end up with too much paste. This hurts performance because too much paste makes it harder for heat to move around.

If you don’t leave enough space between the edge of the CPU and the end points of your line, the paste could squeeze out of the sides once the cooler is in place. Not only does this make an unnecessary mess, but if you are using an electrically conductive paste, any contact with the PCB could cause a short circuit, which could damage your motherboard and other connected parts.

Don’t forget that the purpose of thermal paste is to fill in the tiny gaps between your CPU and heatsink, not to sit on top of your CPU like grey cake frosting.

It can be hard to get thermal paste to spread out evenly. Some people say (which is incorrect) that you should use a flat, hard surface like a credit card to spread thermal paste across the CPU. Even though the first results look good and it’s much easier to control how much thermal paste is used, this method has a major flaw that can have a big effect on performance: spreading the thermal paste by hand makes small air bubbles. Since air doesn’t move heat nearly as well as thermal paste, temperatures can drop a lot.

Apply Thermal Paste Using the Dot Method

This method is easy to use and gets rid of the problems that come with other methods. If you install your cooler correctly, it will always work well and spread the thermal paste evenly. Before you start to squeeze the plunger, you should make sure that the surface of both your cooler and your CPU is clean. A quick wipe with an isopropyl alcohol-soaked towel that doesn’t shed will do the trick.

How to Apply Thermal Paste
(Image credit: Future)

Put a little bit of the thermal paste in the middle of the CPU. You just need a small dot that is a few millimeters across. Don’t go too far, or your performance will suffer. No bigger than one or two grains of rice.

Before you put your cooler together, make sure you have all the parts you need. If you put your cooler in place and then realize you forgot a bracket or backplate, you’ll have to clean up and start over. The thermal paste should be the last thing you do before you mount your heatsink.

Make sure your cooler is as straight as possible when you put it on for the first time. If you have to turn it after it’s already in place to line up the holes, the thermal paste won’t spread evenly.

Note that you will need more than one dot of thermal paste for larger processors like Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs or AMD’s Threadripper chips. Since the processor is no longer square, you can’t rely on one application to spread evenly across the surface of the heatspreader. Instead, I would put two small dots on either end of the processor.

How to Apply Thermal Paste
(Image credit: Future)

As long as the paste covers the whole chip, you’re good to go. This is important for things like chiplet-based Ryzen processors, which have three separate chips that need to be cooled well. If your program leaves a bald spot on your CPU, it could cause your computer to overheat and run slowly.

When you take the cooler off, you can see that this method makes sure that the thermal paste is spread out evenly. There is enough paste to cover the area of the die without leaking out or making a thick layer that stops heat from moving. When it comes to thermal paste, sometimes less is more, and this is definitely the case.

How to Apply Thermal Paste On Laptop

How to apply thermal paste on laptop CPUs requires special care since laptops can’t be removed from the case. Use plastic spreaders and minimal paste – a tiny dot in the center of the chip. Tightly re-secure the heatsink and any connectors removed. This allows even spread and optimal heat transfer from the processor.

How to apply thermal paste on laptop processors involves taking apart the laptop which requires patience and care. Once the heatsink is exposed, thoroughly clean it and apply a small amount of fresh high-quality thermal paste. Do not spread – the heatsink pressure will distribute the paste when re-assembled. Follow all grounding precautions before powering back on.

How to Apply Thermal Paste CPU

How to apply thermal paste cpu is key for effective heat transfer to your cooler. Put a pea-sized dot of non-conductive compound in the middle of the CPU. Do not spread it. Installing the heatsink will evenly distribute the paste. Apply steady pressure when mounting to avoid overflow. Proper application fills microscopic gaps between surfaces.

Applying thermal paste cpu starts with cleaning old paste off the processor with isopropyl alcohol. Use a pea-sized amount of fresh paste in the center and do not spread it. The paste will spread when the heatsink is mounted. Apply even pressure to the heatsink and firmly secure it to allow proper spread. Thermal paste improves contact between the CPU and cooler.

How to Apply Thermal Paste without Spatula

How to apply thermal paste without spatula can be done by using the pea method – place a pea-sized dot in the center of the CPU. When mounting the heatsink, the pressure will evenly spread the paste outward without needing a spatula. Avoid air gaps by slowly lowering the heatsink straight down.

Tthermal paste without spatula simply requires putting a small dot on the processor and letting the heatsink spread it when installed. Apply very minimal amounts to prevent overflowing or causing a mess. Tightly secure the heatsink so the pressure can properly distribute the compound across the CPU for full coverage and heat transfer.

How To Apply Thermal Paste AMD

How to apply thermal paste amd CPUs is largely the same as Intel. Put a small pea-sized dot of compound in the center of the processor. Do not spread it manually. Lower the heatsink slowly and let its pressure distribute the paste evenly across the entire IHS. Proper application is key for AMD heat dissipation.

Apply thermal paste AMD processors starts with cleaning the CPU surface thoroughly. Apply a tiny dot of high quality paste in the middle. Do not spread it, but rather install the heatsink straight down so its pressure spreads the compound. Thermal paste helps transfer heat away from AMD CPUs during heavy loads.

Best Way To Apply Thermal Paste Ryzen

The best way to apply thermal paste ryzen CPUs is the pea dot method. Place a pea-sized dot of paste in the center of the IHS. Do not spread it manually. The heatsink mounting pressure will evenly spread the paste outward when installed. Avoid air gaps for optimal heat transfer on ryzen processors.

The best way to apply thermal paste Ryzen chips is to thoroughly clean the IHS first. Then use a high-quality paste like Noctua NT-H1 and put a small dot in the middle. Do not spread – lowering and tightening the heatsink will distribute the paste. This provides full IHS coverage for heat dissipation on Ryzen CPUs.


Applying thermal paste may seem daunting, but the simple dot method allows for even spread without mess or air pockets. Place a pea-sized dot in the center of the CPU, avoiding spreading it manually. Let the heatsink mounting pressure distribute the paste when secured.

Use minimal amounts too much paste actually hinders heat transfer. With the proper technique, thermal compound fills microscopic gaps between CPU and cooler, optimizing contact for heat dissipation. While methods vary, the dot technique reliably works for CPUs and laptops, allowing your processor to run smoothly and avoid overheating.


What is the best way to apply thermal paste?

Apply thermal paste in the IHS’s center.
(If your cooler already has thermal paste on it, you may skip this.) You need only apply a tiny amount onto the core of the built-in heat spreader, about the size of a grain of rice or a pea.

How much should I wait after applying thermal paste?

It could take up to 200 hours for such a paste to completely set. However, top-notch thermal paste delivers optimal performance right off the bat. Therefore, there will be no gradual increase in performance and you can expect the best results right away.

How long does it take for thermal paste to set?

If you apply the AS and then put on the HSF unit, you can turn on your computer nearly immediately. However, the AS won’t function at its peak until it’s been used for at least 24 to 48 hours.

Can you put too much thermal paste?

If there is too much paste, it will overflow and make a mess, or it will prevent the CPU from making good contact with the heatsink. If there isn’t enough paste, spaces will be left, and air bubbles will form, both of which hinder heat transfer and raise the temperature.

Can you just rub off the thermal paste?

You may remove the paste off the CPU by wiping it down with isopropyl alcohol. Try to avoid taking the CPU out of the socket when cleaning the paste off. Don’t be slow and overbearing. A cotton swab can be used to remove any paste from crevices.