How to Apply Thermal Paste and How It Works?

There are many methods, but there is only one right way. This guide will show you how to apply thermal paste to the GPU and CPU.

Anyone who wants to build a PC knows the importance of thermal paste. You’re likely to have heard horror stories about the destruction of your hardware by thermal paste. 

The Core i7-4790K is a powerful, overclockable processor. A good quality thermal paste is necessary to cool it down; the excellent motherboard also comes in handy to get maximum performance. Read our article on Best Motherboards for i7 4790k to find the top listed motherboards for i7 4790k.

Because of their ‘gluey’ appearance and feel, thermal paste is sometimes confused with a thermal adhesive. However, they are two very different things. Thermal adhesive aims to bond a heatsink and an integrated circuit. On the other hand, Thermal paste doesn’t possess adhesive properties and conducts heat from the chip into the heatsink.

You might need thermal paste: either you have a new chip, or you want to replace your old thermal paste. You can apply the thermal paste in many different ways, and all of them work well.

Let’s take a look at both the CPU and GPU.

Apply the Thermal Paste to a New CPU

A newbie might find it difficult to buy a high-performance CPU only to discover that they must perform an unfamiliar task, which could potentially cause damage to their hardware. Due to the many thermal paste methods, this situation can be even more confusing.

Thermal paste can be applied safely, but it would be misleading to claim otherwise. However, there is a safe way to apply thermal paste. Common sense and guidance will help you determine the right amount to use.

Intel’s i5 6600k processor has a high-performance, overclockable CPU. It is essential to cool the processor down with a high-quality thermal paste. A great motherboard can also be used to achieve maximum performance. Check out our article Best Motherboards for i5 6600k for the best motherboards to use with this beast of a processor. 

Some CPU coolers include a pre-applied thermal paste. If this is not the case, you will need to apply it manually.

Step 1: Finding the Right Paste

It is important to select the best paste before you begin the process.

Here is the usual rule: The more expensive the thermal paste, the better it will perform. There are exceptions to the rule, but generally, this will apply. To conduct heat more efficiently from your CPU to the heatsink, you will want a thermal paste of higher quality. However, a lower-quality one will still work well enough.

The thermal paste is not expensive, so you might be better off spending a little more to ensure your safety. The thermal paste is usually packaged in a container that looks like a medical syringe. This allows you to apply it slowly and precisely.

You can only use too much paste if it is intentional. It’s far more common to apply too much paste.

Step 2: Installing the Chip

Remember to apply the thermal paste only after securing the motherboard and installing the chip. The thermal paste will be applied to the top of the heatsink to conduct heat. It has no relationship with the connectors.

Depending on the motherboard, you will need to remove the socket’s retention arm (retention arm) or unscrew the screws or both. You should always consult the manual for your particular motherboard model.

Although it isn’t the most powerful AMD processor, Ryzen 7 5800X still offers a great all-rounder option. You need a good motherboard and thermal paste to get the best performance. Find the best Ryzen 7 5800X motherboard deals in our article “What motherboard for Ryzen 7 5800X.”

To avoid damaging the pins, gently hold the chip by the sides after doing this. An indicator (a small triangle-shaped object) is available to assist you in aligning the CPU with its socket.

Step 3: Apply the Paste

Once the screws or latches have secured the chip, it is time to add a heatsink. As we have already mentioned, it will not be held together with thermal paste, which has no adhesive properties.

First, apply the thermal paste to the chip before placing the heatsink.

There are many methods, but the two most popular are the dot’ and cross’.


The ‘dot method involves placing a dot about the size of grain rice in the center of your CPU. Next, lower the heatsink using a firm but even force. It would help if you didn’t force it or slam the CPU down. Simply place it on the ground and make sure it is equal on all sides.

This method can be used by looking at the CPU’s capacitors to ensure that the paste is approximately the same size. This method of applying thermal paste is the most common and safest.

This method is quite reliable and will not cause additional spillage.


You can also use the “cross” method to make sure you are safer. Draw a straight line connecting one corner to the other corner. Then, connect the remaining corners with the intersecting lines.

Important Note: Do not draw lines to their edges. You should stay within the borders of the CPU as much as you can.

The other method of lowering the heatsink is almost identical, with an equal force distribution.

There are many other ‘drawing’ techniques, but they all produce the same results. The spiral method’ and the ‘line method’ are both possible. They look the same. Even if you don’t think it will improve the results, you can draw a smiley-face.

Here are a Few Things to Look Out For

There are two other ways to apply the thermal paste, but they don’t exactly match the aforementioned pattern-type solutions.

Too little thermal paste can cause the heat loss and damage your GPU or CPU.

Thermal paste applied too often can cause problems.

The heat will still pass through the motherboard, but too much paste can cause it to spill onto the sides when pressure is applied to the heatsink. Although this is not a major problem, removing the thermal paste from the motherboard can be frustrating. Although we’ve already described the CPU process for you, it is almost identical to the GPU.

James Hope
My name's James and throughout the long term. I have actually assembled numerous PCs for me as well as my companions. I love gaming, programming, illustrations planning and essentially whatever has to do with PCs and innovation.