An important point in the maintenance of the MacBook is the replacement of thermal paste. This is necessary because it hardens and loses its heat-conducting properties over time. Accordingly, excess heat from the chips is no longer effectively transferred to the cooling radiator and the computer overheats. Based on this, choosing the right thermal paste for Mac is necessary, especially since their composition is different.
Thermal paste for MacBook Pro, Air (Intel)
Regardless of the year of manufacture and type of CPU (Intel, Apple Silicon), the design of the cooling system for MacBook Pro and Air (Intel) is built on the same principle. The heat from the chip is transferred through a layer of thermal paste to the heatsink, which in turn is equipped with a cooler (fan). It is also interesting to know that Mac’s aluminum case is also a kind of “heatsink”, it heats up and thus dissipates heat into the environment.
In such laptops, the gap between the chip and the heatsink is very narrow these parts are in contact with each other. Therefore, a sufficiently liquid thermal paste is applied to the chip, which spreads over the surface and fills the space. However, care must be taken to ensure that excess paste does not squeeze out onto the motherboard, so the layer should be thin and even. The recognized leader in the production of thermal paste is Arctic, you can also choose other brands:
- Arctic MX-4 (MX-5, MX-6);
- Grizzly Kryonaut;
- GELID GC-Extreme;
Thermal pad for MacBook Air (M1, M2)
Unlike other Mac models, the MacBook Air with an ARM processor does not have a cooling fan. In other words, the heat from the chip is transferred directly to the heatsink. The developer implemented such a solution because this model is more thermally efficient, that is, it heats up less. This led to some changes in the cooling system. The gap between the CPU and the heatsink is wider here, so regular thermal paste won’t work. The so-called thick paste (gasket, thermal interface) is used. Such material has a higher viscosity, the composition resembles chewing gum. Good manufacturers include:
- Arctic Thermal Pad;
- Gelid Solutions.
Replacing thermal paste on a MacBook seems like a simple procedure. However, such work is far from being possible for all users, because experience and a special tool are required for disassembly, proper cleaning, and applying the paste. Therefore, I do not recommend doing such experiments yourself if you are not sure. It is better to contact a good Apple service, where the regulations have already been established and compatible tools are used.