Noctua Claims A Little Dab'll Do Ya For AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU Thermal Paste Application

AMD Socket AM5 chip
Noctua has shared guidelines for applying its latest NT-H2 thermal paste. Seasoned PC enthusiasts and DIYers might feel they don’t need any thermal paste application guides; however, this guide is one of the first to explain how to apply the grey gloop to AMD’s ‘8-legged’ AM5 socketed Ryzen 7000 CPUs.

Many PC enthusiasts will have asked, or at least thought about, the question of how to apply thermal paste to AMD’s latest and greatest Ryzen 7000 CPUs. These feature multi-notched integrated heat spreaders (IHS) shown clearly in the image atop of this article. Won’t the paste ooze out between the IHS legs as you batten down the CPU cooler or heatsink?

Noctua’s answer is simple with regard to AM5 processors. It classes the die size of this family of chips as “small.” All that is required is a single 3-4mm diameter dot of paste deposited right in the center of the IHS. Under the pressure of the affixed CPU cooler, this will be enough to amply cool the CPU, asserts Noctua. To doubters, Noctua cautions that “Applying too much thermal paste can lead to higher CPU temperatures.”

It is interesting to see the trusty single-dot application method championed by Noctua for the new AM5 platform CPUs. Conversely, in its official HT-H2 thermal paste application guide (PDF), as highlighted by momomo_us, the AM4 socket processors are classified as “mid” sized. Despite being a very different socket (e.g. moving from PGA to LGA) the AM4 and AM5 processors from AMD are virtually the same physical size. They are close enough that most AM4 coolers and heatsinks will work with AM5, a feature which was also confirmed at the Ryzen 7000 launch last night.

Noctua thermal paste application guide

With so-called “mid” sized processors like AMD AM4 socket CPUs, Noctua recommends a five-dot application. As you can see in the diagram above, this means a central 3-4mm dab, plus four dots approximately 2mm in diameter in four corners. This method is also recommended for contemporary Intel CPUs – like 12th Gen Core ‘Alder Lake’ chips – which use the LGA1700 socket and are a little longer than their predecessors.

Looking at the above recommendations for AM4 vs AM5, one naturally suspects Noctua tested “small” AM5 chips with the “mid” category thermal paste application method and observed some gray sticky mess. While no harm should be done by a minor leak of non-conductive paste, it doesn’t look very clean or professional, and hence the AM5 CPUs categorization as "small."