Thermal paste on CPU

You have to take care of the thermal paste while cleaning your computer. Besides choosing the right thermal paste for your PC, you have to consider the amount to be applied. If you are also confused about how much thermal paste on the CPU is too much, here we have discussed the quantity of thermal paste you should apply to your PC. One thing that should be mentioned here is that it will not be wise to choose the thermal paste amount based on hearsay. You can go for different methods depending on which kind of computer you own.

Though there is only one option mentioned in most places, which is the application of pea-sized thermal paste, there are other methods such as big blob or thin spread that you can go for.

How much thermal paste on CPU is too much?

In most cases, you will read that experts, including AMD and Intel, recommend the application of pea-sized thermal paste. There are a few reasons for going for a small quantity. Some of the main reasons are mentioned below:

The sandwiches 

If you apply too much thermal paste between the metal surfaces, you can encounter a no-surface connection scenario as it will result in a big chunk of paste between the surfaces. It will not only reduce the sufficiency of the paste but also will affect the CPU.

Spilling all over

If you use a large amount of thermal paste, there is a possibility that the paste will spill out onto the motherboard of your computer. It can be very dangerous for your computer as you cannot just wipe it off easily. A drop of the thermal paste can burn the components of the motherboard permanently.

That’s why experts usually recommend using a pea-sized thermal paste that is not bigger than 1/2 inch. In most cases, even if the CPU is big, experts recommend using this tiny amount of thermal paste to ensure there is no harm to the motherboard.

The common techniques for thermal paste application:

Big blob

This method can work if you are trying to fix your CPU or your GPU or installing a new one. In these cases, this technique can be ideal, but be more conscious of that. It is just a big dot of thermal paste that you will need to apply in the center of the metal plate. Though it is bigger than the recommended pea size, it can be perfect for big computers. This technique is usually used by professionals. Make sure that the paste doesn’t spread out on it’s own. Also, avoid pressing it down with force.

Thin spread

You can apply this technique with your index finger or use a paintbrush instead for this purpose. It will be a thin spread of thermal paste that will completely cover the heat sink. Professionals use this technique with years of experience in PC development and building. Professionals use latex gloves for this purpose, or it can be applied with a credit card as well. Also, as the paste is available on the market where it was packaged years ago in tubes, you will need to be extra careful about the chunks. This technique can efficiently maximize the contact between the heat sink and the cold plate. Though the layer in between is thin enough to stick, it can cause air pockets.

Another reason why professionals use this technique is that it ensures the coverage of the corners of your heatsink without spilling edges.

Note– It is advised to avoid low-viscosity pastes as they are extremely hard to spread evenly. Also, avoid the pastes with thick sides as they will not create a thin spread. Make sure to use a minimal amount of paste to make the spread thin.


It is the most commonly recommended technique by computer builders and production houses. Many people also stick with this technique while applying the thermal paste. All you need to do is clean your CPU, cooler, heatsink, etc., with a microfiber cloth dipped in alcohol and remove all the dust, including the dried thermal paste. In this method, you will need to use very small amount of thermal paste at the center of your CPU and ensure that it is nothing bigger than a small rice grain. The best benefit of this technique is that the layer will always have fewer air pockets. Though the corners may not get enough coverage, there are still lower risks of harm. Also, it can be a huge trouble if the surface comes with the gaps on the edges instead of the middle. It is a comparatively easier application method.

What will happen if you use too much thermal paste?

There are several application methods that we have already mentioned. You may wonder how things can worsen if you mistakenly apply too much thermal paste. Whether it is a liquid or thick paste, it can put you in big trouble. Even if you apply too little thermal paste to avoid applying too much, it will also put you in trouble as it will bring you no fruit if it does not cover everything.

  • If you mistakenly put too much thermal paste, you have to repeat the complete process, and also, it will not be easy to clean the thick thermal paste from the surface as it will not be dried by then.
  • If the thermal paste gets spread over your motherboard, it can cause damage that you will not be able to handle. It can burn the components of your motherboard.

Even if the paste doesn’t get spilled, it can be turned into a chunk of thermal paste between two surfaces which will prevent connectivity. You’ll notice that your computer is getting overheated too quickly.

Experiencing difficulties with your Device, check out our “How To” page on how to resolve some of these issues.


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