If you’re in the process of building a new PC, or you’ve already put one together and are experiencing some heat issues, chances are that it’s time to change your CPU thermal paste. This is a vital cog in your system that often gets overlooked (perhaps because it doesn’t have the flashiness of some other PC build components).
The purpose of a good CPU thermal paste is to minimize microscopic grooves and imperfections on the contact surfaces of a heat sink and processor. These imperfections trap air, which is a poor conductor of heat, and prevent the heat sink from effectively cooling the CPU. This is why it’s necessary to use a thermal compound, which is designed to fill these minor gaps and irregularities.
When applied correctly, premium thermal pastes like our KOLD-01 paste help to lower CPU temperatures significantly compared to standard options. This is because they are made of carbon-based materials, which are more effective at lowering temperatures than metal-based compounds. The other factor is how the thermal paste is spread. A common practice is to place a pea-sized dot on each corner of the CPU and a fifth dot in the center, known as the penta-dot method. This spreads the paste out evenly, but it is not as effective as spreading a thin layer of paste across the entire surface of the CPU and heatspreader.
While many people believe that it’s important to spread a thick layer of paste using a credit card or another flat tool, this can actually negatively impact performance. A thin, even layer is required for the best results, and spreading too much paste will result in small air bubbles between the CPU and the heat sink, which will impede proper heat transfer.