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Computer Thermal Compounds and Supplies

Thermal compounds and paste can help to prevent your PC CPU from overheating; they work by improving the heat transfer of other computer components. Without these needed thermals, processors can become damaged from overheating. There are many different types of thermal grease conductors available to suit a wide range of needs.

What does thermal compound do?

Thermal compound is applied between the processor's surface and heat sink to help transfer intense heat that can be built up by the processor. Arctic Silver 5 is one of many different types of thermal grease that can be used in this type of application.

How do you apply arctic silver thermal compound or paste?

It is important to get just the right amount of compound to get the maximum effectiveness of this product. To do so, follow the instructions below:

  • Slowly remove your heatsink from your mainframe (it helps to run your pc for 30 minutes beforehand).
  • Use rubbing alcohol to remove any old thermal paste from the fan and CPU.
  • Apply a pea-sized dot (no more) of compound in the center of the mainframe surface.
  • Slowly place the heatsink on top of the mainframe to spread the thermal paste between the metal of the cooling fan evenly.
What else can you use these compounds for?

In some PC setups, thermal grease can also be used between northbridge and southbridge motherboard heat sinks and chipset coolers. Overclocking a PC can often result in higher north/south bridge temps that this setup can help out with. The chipset cooling fan works much the same as a mainframe heatsink does.

When should you replace thermal paste?

Good-quality thermals will last for a considerable amount of time without needing to be changed. Roughly every five years, a high-quality thermal compound will start to decrease in performance. Consider putting new thermal paste on when:

  • CPU temperatures are hotter than normal or average
  • You are already replacing or cleaning the inside components of your PC
How do you remove old thermal paste?

Removing old thermal paste is essential to putting new paste on. After some time, the paste will begin to harden and become more difficult to remove. To remove paste:

  • Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or swab.
  • Lightly brush both the CPU and cooling fan with the alcohol-soaked cotton ball.
  • Take a coffee filter or clean fine-mesh material and wipe off excess grease.
  • Repeat these steps as needed.
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