Most of the steps to build a desktop computer are easy. But applying thermal paste can be messy. How much should you use?
Building a desktop PC is fairly easy. There are a few parts that make it difficult, but most of the time building a PC is fun and people don’t make mistakes.
It is hard to mess up when building a computer. But there is one thing that can go wrong and it will be messy.
Thermal paste is the semi-liquid that you apply to the metal housing of the computer. It will help with heat transfer when you put a cooler over it. There are many people who don’t know how much they need so they could be giving bad advice on the internet.
Before getting started, please note, the thermal paste goes on the top of the CPU. It is not put on the bottom. You should carefully apply it to where you can see the metal plate with information written. It does not go on the part of your motherboard that will fit in with your CPU.
This might seem obvious to someone who has done this before, but it is often made by people who are building their computer for the first time and don’t know what they are doing.
If your computer has a cooler, it might already have the thermal paste on the CPU. Check to see if there is a copper-colored plate beneath the fan and heatsink.
If there are even patches of grey material on it, then you won’t need to apply any yourself. But if you are going to put in a new CPU, then make sure that you clean off any old thermal paste with isopropyl alcohol and then apply fresh material.
Do you want to know what kind of thermal paste to use? I do not have a good answer. It is not that important. If your cooler came with some, it’s probably fine.
The correct amount of paste is not much. Both Intel and AMD recommend squeezing out a pea-sized glob of paste from the tube, which is either included with the purchase of a CPU and cooler combo or sold separately. And put the paste on the CPU before putting the cooler on top and attaching it to your CPU with mounting hardware.
The amount should be no more than 1 centimeter or half an inch wide at any point. You may need a little more if you have a large CPU, like some of Intel’s six- or eight-core processors.