If there is one thing about computer hardware where there is no consensus, it’s the right way to apply thermal compound on a CPU. Today, we present seven ways to apply it, showing how the CPU looks after removing the cooler and how each way affects cooling performance.

We already explained how the thermal compound (a.k.a. thermal grease or thermal paste) works and a “how-to-apply-it” in our How to Correctly Apply Thermal Grease tutorial. Now, we will try seven different ways of applying it, testing each way, and comparing the cooling performance. Let’s see if what we always mention – that less thermal compound is better than more – is true.

Each different method is presented in three pictures, one of the thermal compound applied to the CPU before installing the cooler, one of the CPU after the test with the cooler removed, and one of the base of the cooler after the test.