Do Laptops Need Thermal Paste? (Easy Guide)

When you buy a laptop, it comes with thermal paste pre-installed. However, if you open the case to upgrade the RAM or storage and change other hardware, there’s a high chance that the previous owner forgot to reinstall the thermal paste.

So, do laptops need thermal paste? If you are reading this article, it means that you probably didn’t reapply for thermal paste when upgrading your laptop. If your laptop is overheating and shutting down randomly, this might be the reason. 

So yes, laptops need thermal paste. It is one of those things that people forget because they don’t expect their laptops to get hot enough for thermal paste to be necessary. However, if you leave off the thermal paste and continue using your laptop as normal, it will start shutting down due to overheating.

What Is Thermal Paste?

What Is Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is a compound that transfers heat from one surface to another. In the case of laptops, the thermal paste is applied between the CPU and the heatsink.

When applied correctly, thermal paste reduces the amount of heat the CPU generates. This means your laptop runs more efficiently and lasts longer. 

Thermal paste is one of those things that people often overlook. Most people don’t think about the importance of thermal paste until they start seeing problems. 

Thermal paste is not required for most hardware. It is used mostly for processors and GPUs. For most people, it should be something that is added to the checklist when they buy a device. It’s important because it ensures that your laptop will last longer.

Why Do Laptops Need Thermal Paste?

If you are a laptop owner and haven’t used thermal paste, you may have experienced random shutdowns. This is because your laptop is overheating and shutting down. 

When laptops shut down randomly, it often means that the RAM, CPU, or GPU has reached their thermal shutdown point. In other words, the hardware is too hot to operate.

When the thermal paste is applied between the CPU and the heatsink, it conducts heat away from the CPU. This means that your laptop will run cooler and last longer.

Read also: How To Check Laptop Fan Is Working Or Not?

How to Check If You Have Thermal Paste?

This will vary slightly depending on the laptop model. For most laptops, you can access the CPU and heatsink by removing the back panel and removing the heatsink.

Check to see if there is a thermal paste or if the heatsink is only being held in place by the fan. If there is no thermal paste, you’ll need to reapply it before you continue using your laptop. This is especially important if you are overclocking your laptop.

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How To Apply Thermal Paste To Your Laptop

thermal paste apply on laptop

First, you must open your laptop and remove the heatsink and CPU. Make sure to take note of how the heatsink and CPU are positioned. This will help you determine where to apply the thermal paste. In most cases, applying the thermal paste to the CPU is best.

If the CPU and heatsink are separate components, apply the paste to both surfaces of the CPU. Once you have applied the thermal paste to the CPU and heatsink, carefully reattach the heatsink to the CPU.

The heatsink should be positioned in contact with the CPU. Use a soft cloth to remove any excess thermal paste. If you have applied too much, remove some of the paste before reassembling your laptop.

How Long Does Thermal Paste Last in a Laptop?

This question may get a variety of answers from different people. Many users expect their thermal pastes to last at least three to five years, but some disagree.

Good thermal pastes usually last at least three to five years. Regarding laptops, you might find that your thermal paste is still functioning after the recommended minimum shelf life, particularly if your laptop is older than five or seven years. 

You may use apps that monitor the heat in your laptop to check whether it is operating at the proper temperatures. If things are running properly, it is probably safe to assume that the paste is doing its job.

Laptop Thermal Paste Replacement Cost

Laptop thermal paste replacement can cost anywhere from $5-$30, depending on the brand and quality of thermal paste you choose.

Many laptop manufacturers will sell their own brand of thermal paste, which is often more expensive than aftermarket thermal paste. However, aftermarket thermal paste often performs just as well, if not better, than OEM thermal paste.

Should you buy thermal paste for your laptop?

If you are wondering whether or not you should buy thermal paste, the answer is yes. If your laptop is shutting down due to overheating, you will need to reapply thermal paste to ensure that your laptop continues running smoothly.

If you don’t have thermal paste on hand and don’t have time to buy some, you can use an alternative compound. 

If you are unsure if your laptop already has thermal paste, you can remove the heatsink and check the surface of the CPU. If the surface is shiny and smooth, there is thermal paste. If the surface is dull, there is no thermal paste.

3 Best Thermal Pastes For Laptops

1. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut 

Sale
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut - Aluminum, Thermal Paste Based on Liquid Metal - Not Suitable for Large Cooling Systems - Liquid Metal Thermal Paste for Cooling The CPU, GPU (1 Gram)
  • A convenient syringe makes this Liquid Metal very easy to apply and goes...
  • Thanks to long tests, Conductonaut has a very high thermal conductivity and...
  • A popular choice for very experienced PC builders because of its extreme...
  • This thermal solution is compatible not only with computer parts or...
  • Conductonaut Must not be used in conjunction with aluminum as it can...

Last update on 2022-10-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is the perfect thermal paste for anyone looking to improve their cooling setup. Based on liquid metal, this paste is extremely conductive and will quickly transfer heat away from your CPU or GPU. 

It is a high-end paste designed for serious overclockers. However, Conductonaut is unsuitable for large cooling systems, so we recommend using a different thermal paste if you have a large CPU or GPU.

2. Noctua NT-H1 

Noctua NT-H1 3.5g, Pro-Grade Thermal Compound Paste (3.5g)
  • Renowned premium-grade thermal compound for optimal heat-transfer from the...
  • Easy to apply (no need to spread before heatsink installation) and easy to...
  • Not electrically conductive and non-corroding thermal grease: no risk of...
  • Trusted Noctua quality with excellent long-term stability: recommended...
  • 3.5g pack for around 3-20 applications (depending on CPU size, e.g. ~3...

Last update on 2022-10-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NT-H1 is a thermal grease that is not electrically conductive and non-corroding.

It is easy to apply and provides trusted Noctua quality with excellent long-term stability. 

This product is recommended for use on the CPU for up to 5 years and recommended storage time up to 3 years.

3. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut

Sale
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut The High Performance Thermal Paste for Cooling All Processors, Graphics Cards and Heat Sinks in Computers and Consoles (1 Gram)
  • EXTREMELY high thermal conductivity of 12.5KW achieved with even smaller...
  • THERMAL COMPOUND PASTE EASY TO USE - Thanks to a specially constructed...
  • LONG ACTION - Provides long-lasting effect, thanks to its characteristic...
  • SURPRISING EFFECTS - Already at the first use of this thermal solution, you...
  • NUMBER 1 ON THE MARKET - Confirmed by many tests, the most popular choice...

Last update on 2022-10-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is a high-performance thermal paste that provides extremely high thermal conductivity of 12.5KW. 

It is a paste that is easy to use and provides a long-lasting effect. It is perfect for cooling all processors, graphics cards, and heat sinks.

These three thermal pastes are the best on the market and will last you a long time. All three are ideal for laptops and can be applied quickly and easily.

Do Laptops Need Thermal Paste

FAQ (Do Laptops Need Thermal Paste)

Do gaming laptops need thermal paste?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the thermal paste needs of a gaming laptop will vary depending on the make and model of the laptop, as well as the specific gaming demands of the user. However, in general, it is a good idea to use thermal paste on any laptop that will be used for gaming, as it can help ensure that the laptop stays cool during extended gaming sessions.

Do you need thermal paste for the CPU?

Yes, thermal paste is necessary for CPUs. Its purpose is to fill gaps between the heat sink and the CPU itself, creating closer contact so that heat can be more effectively dissipated. Without thermal paste, your CPU would overheat and be at risk of damage.

How often should I replace the thermal paste?

It is generally recommended to replace thermal paste every two to three years or whenever you notice your computer is running hotter than usual. The thermal paste helps conduct heat away from the CPU and into the heat sink, so your CPU can overheat if it dries out or isn’t applied correctly.

Do all laptops need thermal paste?

No, not all laptops need thermal paste. Some laptops have a “thermal pad” already applied to the CPU and GPU, eliminating the need for thermal paste. However, many laptops don’t have a thermal pad, so you’ll need to apply thermal paste yourself to avoid overheating and potential damage to your laptop.

Conclusion

If your laptop is shutting down or overheating, the problem is most likely due to the lack of thermal paste. When you upgrade any component in your laptop and the process, you remove your CPU. So, when reinstalling the CPU, you need to reapply thermal paste to ensure that your laptop runs smoothly. 

If your laptop still shuts down, it is likely that the hardware is faulty and needs to be replaced. Also, it is possible that the thermal paste is missing or has dried out. Make sure to check for thermal paste and reapply as necessary.

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