What is Thermal Paste for Gaming Laptops and How Does it Work?

July 9, 2020

Gaming PCs are designed for extreme power and performance. When you push components like your GPU and CPU to the limit, your computer is going to get hot, and having a cooling system is essential. With a gaming laptop, though, one of the biggest cooling challenges is that you just don’t have a lot of space to work with. Typical desktop PCs have plenty of room to add a liquid cooling system or even customized large air cooling systems, but laptops don’t have the same luxury. You still need to find ways to keep your laptop cool, and that’s where thermal paste comes in.

What is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste—sometimes referred to as thermal grease or thermal gel—is comprised of thermal interface materials (TIM) that transfer heat away from a source and disperse it effectively. It’s a little different from a thermal adhesive material, because it doesn’t bond to any specific surface. Instead, it fills in the empty areas around a heat source like your CPU and pulls the heat away without taking up any additional space inside your laptop. Since space is at a premium inside your machine—you’re always looking for the lightest, thinnest, and sleekest laptop for maximum portability—that’s an important feature.

Finding the Right Thermal Paste

There is more than one type of thermal paste, and if you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile to spend a little extra money for a premium version versus a standard thermal paste for your gaming laptop, the answer depends on how you plan to use your machine. The basic differences between thermal pastes are the composition and viscosity, which contribute to cooling effectiveness. More effective pastes that can reduce heat by 5 to 10 degrees will come at a higher price. Upgrading thermal paste in your laptop build usually isn’t a huge expense—in most cases it’s going to cost less than $50. If money is tight and you absolutely can’t afford it, the standard thermal paste will work for most builds. For a small investment up front, though, you get better cooling power.

DIY or Professional Application

A final decision to make is whether you want to try applying paste on your own, or you want to have it done by a professional. For brand new gaming laptops, it’s probably easier to have it applied by whoever is custom-building your machine. For those with an existing laptop, there are a lot of different paste options and application methods, and getting it wrong could cause damage to other parts of your laptop or it could just be ineffective, rendering the thermal paste useless in cooling your computer. There are online videos you can watch and blogs you can read, but unless you’re really comfortable working inside your laptop, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros.

Every custom gaming laptop at Xidax comes with a standard thermal paste applied, and you can choose to upgrade to a premium thermal paste as well. Check out our laptop lineup to see more today.

  1. […] 3-4 years old or have begun noticeable wearing down or showing temperature issues, replacing the thermal paste is recommended. However, even in these situations, there are a few cautionary notes you want to be […]

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