In context: Applying thermal paste can be one of the most delicate parts of building and customizing a PC. It's somewhat easy to make mistakes, and builders have been arguing over the best methods for years. Thermalright's new product could make the process more straightforward, especially for novice builders.
Cooler vendor Thermalright has revealed thermal pads designed for desktop CPUs. Meant for application between the processor and the heatsink, the pads replace the often tricky task of manually applying thermal paste.
Less experienced users can sometimes struggle when installing or changing a CPU. They have to be careful not to squeeze too much paste out of the tube, then set the heatsink just right so that it properly spreads the paste across the surface of the chip.
Discussions also occasionally arise over the question of which pattern will most efficiently disperse heat across the CPU. Intel and most experts agree that the simple "dot" method is best, but a test from Igor's Lab found that a straight "sausage" line can slightly lower temperatures on some larger chips.
Thermalright's thermal pads opt to spread across the entire processor with a simple square shape that's easy to apply. According to the product page, users set the pad on the heatsink, peel away the paper, and then install it onto the CPU.
The pads come pre-cut in two sizes: 30x40x0.2mm for Intel processors and 40x40x0.2mm for AMD chips. The Intel pads support 115 series LGA sockets, LGA 1200, and LGA 1700 sockets, while the AMD size fits AM4 and AM5. Collectively, they cover CPUs going back to around 2017.
Concerning price and performance, Thermalright's new product appears to compete with respectable budget thermal paste options. While the pads haven't appeared in Western markets, jd.com and Philippine store Shopee list them for around $4 or $5, and their 8.5 W/mk thermal conductivity rating puts them alongside some good affordable choices in a recent review of 90 thermal pastes from Tom's Hardware.
This makes them likely good choices for processors running at stock clock speeds, but they won't outperform more expensive pro-grade pastes. Anyone considering overclocking should probably stick to the latter, but the pads appear to be a good option for beginners building their first PC. They could serve as a middle step between stock cooling and high-end custom cooling.