How To Apply Thermal Compound to CPU

Have you Recently Installed a New CPU and find Your PC Temperature is High or Shutdowns Quickly? Learn How to Apply Thermal Compound to CPU Correctly

The other day my friend gave me a computer to look at, he told me that he took it apart so he could clean the heat sink because it was full of dust, but after reinstalling the CPU with some thermal compound, he went and switch it back on and the system started to run and quickly shut off again.

We had discovered that he did not apply enough thermal compound on the CPU, once we re-applied it properly it started working fine again. So Today I’d like to share my tips on how to apply thermal compound to cpu correctly

Note That this is for Intel Systems. 

Thermal Compound


how to apply thermal compound to cpuWhat Is Thermal Compound?

Thermal paste is a type of heat transferring agent that serves to fill in the microscopic gaps that naturally occur when two flat metal surfaces such as your CPU and cooler are pressed against one another.

The air-filled gaps hinder the rate at which the cooler is able to absorb heat from the CPU, and filling them with thermal material greatly increases performance.

There are several different types of thermal material, including ceramic- and metal-based pastes and solid, waxy thermal pads. Some coolers come with pre-applied pads, when you do a system upgrade or cleaning your heat sinks you will need to apply new thermal compound.   My Favourite one is the Arctic Silver 5 You will find below a link to the thermal compound.

I will be explaining how to reapply new thermal paste when doing system upgrade or cleaning your heatsink from dust:

How To Clean Thermal Compound

When you are removing your Heat sink for cleaning, you also need to properly clean the stock thermal compound that originally came with your Heat sink, and on the CPU it self, I am going to explain the proper steps to to apply thermal compound to cpu


Things You will Need:


  • Thermal Paste
  • Rubbing Alcohol – I Prefer to use Artic Silver Cleaning Solution
  • Lint free Cleaning Cloths



Part 1: 4 Steps To Removing the CPU and Heat sink for cleaning

1. Power down PC

Power down your computer and unplug the cables from the Computer.  Lay the case flat so that the motherboard and CPU can be facing towards you.  


Remove the CPU Heats Sink 

2. Remove The Fan header and Heat sink on the Motherboard

how to apply thermal compound to cpuUnplug the fan header cable on the motherboard by gasping the plastic end and pulling out carefully, Then using a flat head screwdriver rotate the fasteners on the Heat sink 90 degrees counter clockwise. Pull up each leg to release it and remove the heat sink from the motherboard. 


3. Release The CPUhow to apply thermal compound to cpu

The CPU sits inside the motherboard, to remove it you need to release the small leaver that lifts the CPU Processor  out of the socket


4. Place CPU Processor in a safe place

Once you remove the heat sink, place it in a safe place, and be sure not to drop it as they can be very delicate


Part 2:  How to apply thermal compound to CPU

There are different ways to apply thermal compound to AMD and Intel Processors, this is how to apply thermal compound to cpu.

1. Apply

I like to apply the thermal compound directly to the CPU Processor, other people will tell you to do it on the cooler it self, all you need is a grain of rice, there are other methods where you can just dab a small line across also.  There is no need to spread it as when you reapply the CPU Cooler the pressure will spread it around. 

2. Attach

Place the heat sink back onto the board and ensure that the push pins are sitting correctly on the board, push the pins in opposite directions until you hear the click sound.  Flip the board around to see that the processor pins has been installed correctly

3. Avoid

Try not to remove the heat sink again after installing, as you may break the seal that has been created, if you break the seal you will need to restart the process from Part 1 again

4. Reconnect and Boot

Connect the CPU Fan cable back into the CPU fan socket.   Power on the computer and check that the fan is spinning.  Enter the BIOS and check the temperature of the CPU be below 40 Degrees. 


Final Thoughts

I hope like this article on how to apply thermal compound to CPU.  What has your experience been when upgrading your PC?


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Anthony Rousek


Technology Enthusiast, blogger and Microsoft Certified Professional

Anthony Rousek
Technology Enthusiast, blogger and Microsoft Certified Professional