Do Graphics Cards Need Thermal Paste?


Thermal place is usually applied on CPUs when installing a CPU cooler, it is to allow efficient heat transfer. Graphics cards also have a chip inside them generating heat, so it is perfectly normal to wonder whether graphics cards need thermal paste or not.

In this post, we’re going to look at whether graphics cards come with thermal paste pre-installed, and how long it lasts. Also, we’re going to discuss whether you should reapply thermal paste on your CPU after a certain amount of time to restore normal heat transfer.

Answer: Thermal paste is absolutely necessary for efficient heat transfer, it works by filling in the air gaps between a chip and the heatsink. If you do not apply thermal paste, your chip will be compromised due to insufficient contact between the chip and the heatsink. Since GPUs are basically chips, it needs to dissipate the heat via a cooler, and there’s a layer of thermal paste between the cooler and the chip.

Do Graphics Cards Use Thermal Paste?

Graphics cards do in fact use thermal paste between the die and the cooler, this is because graphics cards generate massive amounts of heat just like a typical processor does. The thermal paste on the graphics card is always pre-installed, so you don’t need to remove the cooler and apply thermal paste.

Without thermal paste on the GPU chip, your graphics card will quickly overheat resulting in numerous issues. One will be obvious throttling of the clock speed, this is to reduce the temperature. Another issue will be instability and a massive decrease in lifespan. Your graphics card will fail extremely quickly without thermal paste.

The cooling solution on the graphics card works just like a cooler on a CPU does in principle, the die on the GPU will transfer heat via direct contact with the coolers heat pipes with thermal paste in between. The heat pipes are then cooled down by the fans blowing on the cooler’s heatsink allowing for efficient and effective cooling.

Is It Worth It To Change The GPU Thermal Paste?

The only time you should change the thermal paste on your graphics card is when you’re taking off the cooler for some reason, typically you’ll do this when installing an aftermarket cooler. Once you do this, there is no point in reusing the disturbed thermal paste, you should clean it with rubbing alcohol, and apply a fresh layer of thermal paste.

If your graphics card is old and is experiencing thermal issues, it is possible that you need to replace the thermal compound being used. This is because the thermal paste has probably dried up and become ineffective, in this scenario, you’ll likely experience decent thermals when replacing the old thermal paste as opposed to doing it for no reason.

You’ve probably picked up super high-quality thermal paste for your CPU, and are wondering if you can use it on your graphics card for a chance of better thermals. The thermal paste graphics cards used is usually enough for decent temperatures, and changing it will likely result in no difference.

What Kind Of Thermal Paste Is Best For GPUs?

The thermal paste used on graphics cards is typically the same kind you’ll find on processors, so you shouldn’t worry about the branding of the thermal paste. You can use the same thermal paste you’ve applied on your CPU if you’re changing out your graphics card cooler.

Thermal paste brands such as Thermal Grizzly, and Arctic should provide thermal pastes perfect for your graphics card. However, if you’re looking for the best thermals possible, then you should look at thermal pastes that work long-term, have decent thermal conductivity, and are great for overclocking.

But in normal circumstances, you shouldn’t even worry about your graphics card’s thermal paste, it is unlikely that the thermal paste being used will cause severe thermal problems. Only when you use custom coolers on your graphics card you should worry about the thermal paste and the frequency of changing it.


In conclusion, graphics cards do in fact use thermal paste, this is because they work the same way CPUs do. They both generate heat that needs to be efficiently transferred between the chip and the cooling apparatus, and the thermal paste fills in the microscopic air pockets.

Typically, you shouldn’t worry about your graphics card’s thermal paste if you’re going to use it how it was brought, but if you’re going to change the cooler then changing the thermal paste is necessary. You shouldn’t reuse old thermal paste as this can definitely cause thermal issues.

Finally, graphics cards and CPUs do not use different thermal pastes, you can use them interchangeably. A CPUs thermal paste can be used on a graphics card effectively, but you should go for brands such as Thermal Grizzly and Arctic.