Xbox Thermal Paste isn’t as exciting or essential a component as the processor or power supply, but it still plays an important role in keeping your computer cool. While it’s not required to boot the computer, applying a fresh coat of gray goop is very helpful for keeping your processor running at a modest temperature. While the internet can’t seem to agree on the best way to distribute that silvery goop, there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure optimal performance.
The surface of the processor’s IHS (integrated heat spreader) and the metal base plate of the CPU cooler may look smooth to the naked eye, but they actually have microscopic imperfections that cause a reduction in the rate of heat transfer. Thermal paste fills these holes and creates an airtight seal between the two surfaces, which allows for efficient dissipation of heat.
Over time, the thermal paste will dry out and lose its effectiveness. This is why many people recommend re-applying it after installing a new processor or CPU cooler, or periodically as needed. If the thermal paste isn’t working properly, your computer may run too hot, leading to stuttering from throttling and even random shutdowns.
The good news is that replacing the thermal paste is easy, and you can do it yourself in a few minutes. However, you should be aware that every CPU and CPU cooler is a little different. It’s important to read all relevant instructions before starting.