Processor is one of the most heated elements of the computer, and cooling it to the temperature that is optimal for operation is not an easy task. Coolers installed in the PC case are not enough for the processor not to get overheated while performing some serious tasks, so cooling becomes a quite serious issue.
At the points of contact between the cooler and the processor there is always a layer of thermal paste, which is a substance with a high thermal conductivity. Due to this, it is possible to remove excess air, the thermal conductivity of which is much lower, so that the heat will be transferred from the processor directly to the radiator and then dissipate.
Table of contents: 1. How to replace thermal paste on the processor 2. Remove the old thermal paste from the processor 3. How to apply thermal paste to the processor 4. How often do you need to change thermal paste
It is important that the space between the cooler and the processor always has maximum thermal conductivity. However, after some time any thermal paste dries out, and it becomes more and more difficult to transfer the heat from CPU to the cooler. In this situation it is necessary to replace the thermal paste. You don’t need to take your computer to the service center to do it – any more or less experienced PC user is able to perform the task, so you can surely do it yourself.
How to replace thermal paste on the processor
From the experienced specialist the entire process of removing the old and applying the new thermal paste will require not more than a couple of minutes. Much more time will be spent on disassembling a desktop computer or a laptop that needs thermal paste replacement. To disassemble a laptop for thermal paste replacement, we recommend that you find on the Internet a video where experts will explain how to get to the processor in your laptop model specifically. As for disassembling a stationary PC – everything is quite simple here, and you can remove it’s cooler and processor without any difficulties.
After you have removed the block with cooler and processor from your computer, you will need to follow the steps described below.
Remove the old thermal paste from the processor
If the thermal paste in a particular computer was changed a couple of months ago, it will not be difficult to separate the cooler from the processor. But if the user did not care about the CPU temperature for more than 2 years, and the last few months processor was constantly overheated, it would be much harder to remove the cooler from heavily dried thermal paste. Do not try to push the knife between the cooler and the processor to separate them from each other. The only right ting in this situation is to rotate the processor in a circles with the use of physical power. This will allow to soften thermal paste a little and then it will be easier to separate both parts from one another.
Before applying a new thermal paste, remove the dried remnants of the old one from the processor. To do this you can use a regular napkin. If you can not remove thermal paste with a napkin, take a stationery eraser and try using it to erase the remnants of the old thermal paste from the processor and from the cooler. You may also lightly wet the napkin with alcohol or a specialized ArctiClean so that the process of the thermal paste removing will go faster.
Note that when you are removing thermal paste, your processor should be kept in the socket in order to avoid breaking or bending it’s legs. Try to keep the remnants of thermal paste from getting on the processor, otherwise it will lead to big problems that may result in a need to replace the whole CPU.
As a result you should get two perfectly clean surfaces without any traces of thermal paste.
How to apply thermal paste to the processor
For good thermal conductivity it is important that the thermal paste layer will not be too thick or too thin. Here are some parameters of the thermal paste correctly applied on the processor:
- After applying a layer of thermal paste, processor should be slightly seen through it;
- The layer should be evenly applied over the entire processor area;
- It is necessary to avoid the appearance of ruptures in the layer of thermal paste.
In most instructions, it is recommended to apply a small amount of thermal paste (in size of a pea) in the very center of the processor. But actually this should be done only if it is necessary to quickly smear it on the surfaces of the processor and the cooler. This method does not allow to achieve evenly done full application of thermal paste.
If you are planning to apply thermal paste by yourself at home, it will be much more effective to follow this steps:
- Open a tube with thermal paste, and squeeze out a small amount of it in a line on the edge of the processor;
- After that, take any plastic card and smoothly smudge the thermal paste on the surface of your processor. Before you start, make sure that the amount of applied thermal paste is enough for the whole surface of the processor – do not put too little or too much.
When the thermal paste is smeared over the entire surface of the processor, you can fix the cooler on it. There is no need to put any heat conductive mixture directly on the cooler though.
How often do you need to change thermal paste
No expert can tell how often it is necessary to change the thermal paste on the processor or graphic card chip if there is no data on this particular computer. It all depends on a number of factors – how often and how actively this computer was used, how well is the cooling system arranged in the system unit, how good was the quality of the applied thermal paste, etc.
Speaking very roughly, most experts recommend changing thermal paste every six months. However, if you do not want to disassemble your computer or laptop that often, and you do not see any special problems in it’s operation, it will be enough to check the temperature of your processor and your graphics card in stress tests every month with the help of special applications. If the permissible limits are exceeded, it is necessary to start replacing the thermal paste.