Removing The Original Thermal Paste

If the processor and/or cooler have thermal paste on them, you should remove it before applying a new thermal paste.

In Figure 8, there is a Sempron processor that was originally mounted with a cooler that already had thermal compound.

Thermal GreaseFigure 8: Sempron processor with remains of thermal compound

In this case, first you must clean off the remains of the thermal compound. Use a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). This kind of alcohol is purer (doesn’t contain water) and can be found at electronics equipment stores or drugstores.

Thermal GreaseFigure 9: Clean all the remains of thermal compound

Thermal GreaseFigure 10: The processor is clean and ready to receive the thermal paste

You can also clean the rest of the thermal compound that remained on the heatsink. We used a utility knife to rub out the rest of the compound, being careful not to scratch the cooler base. To finish, use a piece of cloth with isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) to remove the rest of the thermal compound.

Thermal GreaseFigure 11: Cooler with rests of thermal compound

Thermal GreaseFigure 12: With a utility knife, rub out the rests of the compound

Thermal GreaseFigure 13: Final cleaning

Thermal GreaseFigure 14: Cooler ready to be installed

With all the remains of the thermal compound removed, you can now apply the new thermal paste.

Daniel Barros lives in Brazil and used to be our motherboard reviewer. He is a partner at a local PC sales and maintenance store.