PS4 Thermal Paste Myth


by Steve Porter August 17, 2016

PS4 Thermal Paste

We hear this one all the time...things like "My PS4 won't turn on, is it from bad thermal paste?" or "Will thold thremal paste cause my console to not show a picture on the TV?". These are just a few examples of things we have heard. Now please keep in mind that I'm not putting anyone down or making fun of them for asking the question. I highly encourage people to ask questions until they are comfortable with the answers. I'm simply getting annoyed that there are people out there making blog posts and Youtube videos talking about things that they know nothing about. Unfortunately we live in a world where anyone with a camera and internet connection can make a video, blog post of website about whatever they want...and even more unfortunately, many people believe them.  I want to take some time here to talk a bit about thermal paste and clear up some of the myths floating around. 

What do we know?

First of all please know that I do not pretend to be an expert on the science of thermal paste. I don't make it or study it and I don't even know that much about the paste itself. I do however know what it's for and what needs to be done to make it work correctly. I'm coming from the angle of an experienced repair person. We've repaired hundreds of game consoles & computers and in most of those repairs we've removed the thermal paste and applied new when re assembling the device. Everything written here (and on most of our website) comes from our experience. 

What is Thermal Paste there for anyway?

Thermal paste really has one job. It's there to transfer heat from the CPU/GPU/APU, etc. to the heatsink. The main chips in computers, game consoles, etc. generate heat...lots of heat. If they were not cooled they would simply burn themselves up. It's like the coolant (anti-freeze) in a car. It's just there to transfer heat. 
If the thermal paste was bad (and it does happen) then it would not be able to transfer heat correctly and the device would likely turn the fan all the way on and eventually most devices would just shut themselves down. Most computers and game consoles these days have a safety that will cause them to shut down in the event of overheating. 

What problems can it cause?

Thermal paste really only causes one problem in the game console world and that is overheating. Even this is a rare event though. Sometimes it can dry out so much that it actually can't transfer heat anymore. Keep in mind while thinking about this that manufacturers probably do not usually put the best or most efficient paste in their devices. They likely just put in the kind that will keep their machines "cool enough". This means that you can usually upgrade the thermal paste to help your machine run cooler. This is especially helpful for custom built computers that generate a lot of heat. 

What problems does thermal paste not cause?

Other than overheating, you can bet that your problem is NOT caused by the thermal paste. There are a lot of people out there who claim that it causes all sorts of problems, but it doesn't. Out of the hundreds of consoles and computers that we have fixed exactly 0 have been fixed by replacing the thermal paste. Here is a list of things that are definitely NOT caused by it:
  • PS4 blue light of death
  • Xbox One not starting
  • Wii U flashing blue light
  • PS4 turns on then back off
  • No display on the TV
  • No power
  • HDMI port problems
  • Anything else other than overheating. 

Conclusion

Just because you heard it from someone you think should know, or a Youtube video, or a blog, etc. does not mean that it's true. It sounds like a great answer to your problem and an easy fix (which is probably why a lot of people believe it) but it's much cheaper and faster in the long run to figure out what the real problem is and fix that!



Steve Porter
Steve Porter

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