How many grams of thermal paste should I use?

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How many grams of thermal paste should I use?

If you are building a computer by yourself and for the first time, you might be a bit uncertain about what to do with the thermal paste. To be more precise, how many grams of thermal paste should I use, this is your question. Don’t worry, we will answer it for you.

This thermal paste thing goes on top of the CPU and under the cooler, which means in between these two components. The reason behind its use is to make the heat transfer between the components better. And to achieve this goal a little amount of thermal paste, about the size of a pea will suffice.

This is actually quite a serious issue to consider, although it may not seem to be. If you use less thermal paste, you might not achieve the best heat transfer rate. If you use a lot, you are going to make a mess you definitely don’t want. Let’s discuss this in detail.

How many grams of thermal paste should I use? – More detailed analysis

To understand what amount of thermal paste you should use, first understand the significance of this material. Thermal paste is a chemical substance also known as thermal grease or thermal compound that is thermally conductive. And it is used to eliminate any air gap between a heat source and a heat sink.

So, when you use it on your computer on top of your CPU, your goal is the same. And that is to eliminate any air gap between the heat source which is the CPU and the heat sink which is the cooler. And by doing this you will ensure better cooling of your CPU. So far so simple.

So, now time for the real question, how much should you apply to achieve the goal we just talked about. Before we give you an answer to that question, know these rules while applying thermal paste. The first one is, less is more. And the second one is, to apply it to the size of a garden pea. 

Less is more:

This is the rule of thumb for thermal paste. You can afford to apply less paste on the CPU and it won’t probably even make any significant difference. You will put the cooler on top of the past then. And because of the weight of the cooler, the paste will spread evenly all over the CPU.

So, if you apply a little less than ideal it will just make a slightly thinner layer. Nothing serious and the result will be almost the same. But if you apply too much paste on the CPU, it will spread beyond the surface of the CPU. That means it will be on the CPU socket and even on the motherboard.

And if that happens it’s not what you wanted. It is a mess and also can cause problems to the components. It will render unintended heat to the electrical contacts and even to the surrounding PCB. It can even cause problems with the motherboard. You don’t want any of these. So, stick to the rule.

A pea-sized blob of paste:

This is not a rule we created on our own. This is actually a recommended rule by the two biggest chipset-making companies Intel and AMD. So, you can have faith in this. Just apply this amount of paste at the center of the CPU plate and then put the cooler on it. And while doing it apply gentle pressure.

And this will ensure an even layer of thermal paste between the CPU and the cooler. This is more than good. So, don’t bother if you think the amount was a little less than you intended. As long as you stick to these two rules and the paste doesn’t spread out of the CPU surface, you are golden.

So how many grams then:

The amount of paste needed for one CPU is just too little. A pea-sized blob of paste weighs about .25 grams. Many tubes in the market contain a few grams of paste, so we can talk about a tube. And our experience says, you can use a 5–6-gram tube to paste more than 20 CPUs. So, there you have your grams count. 

Frequently Asked Question

Got some more questions? Check the section below.

Is 1g thermal paste enough?

In theory, it is more than enough. If you understand the usage of the thermal paste, you might have heard the pea-sized paste rule. And that amount of paste weighs about .25 grams. So, in theory, you should be able to use 1g paste on 4 CPUs. But maybe that won’t happen as some paste is always wasted through the process. But 1g is enough for one CPU for sure.

How many times can I use 1 gram thermal paste?

Now that depends on your expertise in applying the paste. If you are neat in your business, you might be able to use 1-gram thermal paste on 4/5 CPUs. But it depends on how efficiently you can use the paste. One application shouldn’t cost you more than .25 grams of paste. So, 1g should be enough for at least 4 CPUs.

How do I know if I put too much thermal paste?

It’s not that hard to know that you messed up. A perfect amount of paste shouldn’t spill out of the surface of the CPU. If you see that the thermal paste is spreading out the surface of the CPU and getting on the CPU socket and even on the motherboard, you have definitely applied too much thermal paste.

For more clarification watch the attached video below:


So, if you are holding a tube of thermal paste, now you know how much paste you should squeeze out of it. Your question, how many grams of thermal paste should I use, has been answered. You should now have a pretty good idea of how much paste will go on top of one CPU.

To summarize the discussion, a blob of paste, the size of a pea will suffice for one CPU. And that is not more than .25 grams of paste. So, a 1g tube of thermal paste should be enough for at least 4 CPUs. And all these measurements will be proven to be true only if you use the paste carefully. 

And last but not least don’t forget the rule of thumb, less is more when you are applying thermal paste. Because less will not cause any harm where more will at least make a mess and has the potential to cause harm to the system. 

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Gary Scott

Hi There, I am Gary Scott, a Computer Engineer, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow Computer community and pc enthusiast. I am a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I have been writing for Motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, Power Supply, Intel/AMD comparisons, CPU/GPU benchmarking, Gaming performance, Xbox, Play Station, and How to build your own PC. I will be regularly updating this website with new resources, If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

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