How to choose thermal grease

The performance of the system depends on the quality of the thermal paste. cooling. An interlayer made of inappropriate material can lead to overheating of the processor even with a powerful cooler.

how to choose thermal grease

How to choose thermal grease for the processor and for the video card: on what characteristics to pay attention

When choosing thermal paste for a laptop, system unit and its components should pay attention to the following technical characteristics of this material:

  1. Thermal conductivity and thermal resistance (measured quantities);

  2. Plasticity, resistance to temperature changes (unmeasured quantities);

  3. Composition.

In addition, it is important to determine whether thermal grease is necessary or it is more appropriate to use thermal drops.

Thermal performance

The most serious impact on performance Thermal pastes exert its thermal characteristics. Them at this There are two materials – thermal conductivity and thermal resistance.

Thermal paste thermal paste – a parameter that shows which the intensity of this material removes heat from the processor or computing chip. It is measured in W / (m × K). Higher thermal conductivity – the better thermal paste transfers heat from the body processor to the contact area of ​​the radiator.

  1. Suitable for desktops and server systems thermal grease having a thermal conductivity of 3-5 W / (m × K). Moreover higher processor performance – the more it should be the value of this parameter. It is worth considering that the “old” chips are often heated much more than more modern, and therefore they Need better thermal grease.

  2. For laptops equipped with a small cooling system performance, you need thermal grease with a high value thermal conductivity – 6-10 W / (m × K). This will minimize risks. throttling and overheating of the processor, even if the computer is on knees and therefore its lower air intake openings are closed.


Thermal resistance – parameter, from the operational point view reverse heatwave. The less its value, the better Thermal grease “copes with its duties.” However he plays not a critical role in the choice of material, therefore, it is recommended to evaluate precisely the warmth.

Plasticity and resistance to temperature changes

Plasticity and resistance to temperature changes – quantities that are not usually measured. However, they are also important. The values ​​of these parameters can only be estimated indirectly.

Resistance to temperature changes determines how quickly the thermal paste will dry and after how long it will take to change it. This the parameter can be indirectly determined from the operating temperature range this material. The wider it is, the higher the stability. So, for example, Zalman ZM-STG2 thermal grease has an operating range temperatures from -40 to +150 degrees Celsius. it ensures that it does not dry for a long time time.

The flexibility in applying thermal paste depends on the plasticity. Indirectly, this parameter can be determined based on the working temperature range and thermal conductivity. Than they are correspondingly wider and more – the thicker the thermal paste will be and therefore difficult to application.



The composition of thermal paste directly determines its thermal conductivity. Besides polydimethylsiloxane fluid, it includes various metals. And it is their thermal conductivity that determines the thermal conductivity thermal paste.

  1. Budget varieties of thermal paste, such as KTP-8, usually are made of zinc. This metal has good, but not perfect heatwave. Such thermal greases are suitable for use unless that in old computers with low power and low processor TDP value.

  2. Premium varieties of thermal paste are made of metals with high thermal conductivity such as tungsten, copper, and silver gold. Often these materials are even painted in characteristic colors. these substances.

These thermal greases are well suited for powerful computing chips. – processors with TDP over 60 W, as well as video card cores.

Thermal grease or thermal grease


Some laptop cooling systems do not use thermal paste, and thermal drops – special heat-conducting “pillows” between the computing chip of the processor or video card and the base radiator.

Thermal drops apply when the physical size of the chip too small for contact with the radiator base through the interlayer thermal paste. They have low thermal conductivity, therefore mainly used for cooling low-power elements computer (processors and video cards with low performance).

When choosing a thermal drop, it is also worth considering its thermal conductivity and thermal resistance.

But it is worth considering that if the design of the radiator or chip allows you to use thermal grease, not thermal grease – it’s worth using thermal grease.


Among the manufacturers of thermal paste can be identified:

  1. Companies producing KTP-8 and Alsil-3. KTP-8 is the most budgetary and widely applicable thermal grease. However, due to low heat (less than W / (m × K)) it is suitable only for very old computers. Alsil-3 is another budget thermal paste option. His the thermal conductivity is 1.8 W / (m × K), so it is also suitable unless for very old computers;

  2. Deepcool, Evercool – produce both budget and premium thermal paste. Suitable for low power home and office computers, since they may have a low temperature range of operation;

  3. Zalman, Titan, Arctic Cooling, Thermal Grizzly – release high-quality thermal greases having good thermal values, wide temperature range and low thermal resistance. The only drawback is the relatively high price.


By the way, Thermal Grizzly also produces high-quality thermal drops with copper or gold, which are used as heat conductors.

In the next article, our experts tell you how to select a disc to burn.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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