If you’re a PC builder or just into building your own PC, then chances are that you know that GPU thermal paste needs to be replaced from time to time. It can dry out, especially if you overclock your GPU and run it under high load, and this is not good for the longevity of your graphics card or the performance you’re getting from it.
Removing and re-applying GPU thermal paste isn’t as easy as just removing the old paste, though. You’re going to need to disassemble the GPU (opening the case, disconnecting the fan cable and removing the cover), clean off any dried or sticky thermal paste with isopropyl alcohol, and then re-apply the new paste and reattach the heatsink.
There are many different ways to apply thermal paste, and some people swear by applying it in a central blob, a cross, a line or more complex patterns. Igor Wallossek of Igor’s Lab has been trying to find the best way to apply thermal paste, and he recently published a video showing his results. He found that applying it in a specific pattern resulted in a GPU that ran five degrees cooler than the least favorable method.
While there are many different methods to apply thermal paste, the most important thing is to get enough of it on the chip so that when the heatsink is put back on top, it spreads and distributes the paste throughout the surface area of the processor. It’s also vital to use the right paste. The best thermal paste we’ve found is from Noctua, and you can read our review of it here.Heat sink paste