Thermal paste is a thermally conductive compound more often than not used as an interface between a scrap and a heatsink. Its goal is to eliminate air gaps that deed equally thermal insulators, and thus maximize heat transfer and dissipation.
Within your PC, yous take thermal paste on your processor (CPU) and most likely your graphics bill of fare’s die.
And information technology’southward not something that lasts forever, and so you lot will demand to replace it every once in a while.
But how often is “every in one case in a while”?
How long does applied thermal paste final?
Whether y’all bought a CPU and Cooler with pre-applied Thermal Paste or have a Third Party CPU Libation with premium Thermal Paste, the primary problem with whatever thermal paste is known every bit “pump out”.
The dice or heat-spreader (whether it’s the CPU or the GPU) and the libation’southward heatsink have dissimilar rates of thermal expansion and wrinkle.
In the long run, over a high number of heating/cooling cycles, this difference results in thermal paste getting pumped out from betwixt the die/heat-spreader and heatsink.
This degrades thermal performance.
Although high-end compounds tin can maintain efficacy up to 7 years after installation, manufacturers recommend removing any thermal paste from your CPU’s heat-spreader and CPU Cooler every 2-iii years to be on the safe side.
How long does stored thermal paste last?
When you buy a tube of thermal compound, the shelf life is dissimilar depending on the type of compound y’all’re buying, and the conditions y’all shop it in.
Cooler Master, for example, suggests a two-year shelf life if the paste is stored in a absurd location, out of sunlight, with the cap placed on properly.
Yous can recognize a thermal compound that’due south gone bad – it’southward either going to exist flaky, hard, or completely dried out.
If this is the instance, y’all demand a new thermal compound. And even though some manufacturers claim a shelf life of four to five years, you lot will start noticing signs that the compound is drying out afterward ii to three years.
Tips on storing thermal paste
We recommended that you only buy a small amount of thermal paste – as much as you demand. This manner you aren’t left with a stockpile of unused paste that will go bad. But if you practice need to store some actress thermal paste, hither are a few tips.
The most important thing is to close the cap well. The thermal paste comes in a plastic syringe, with a plastic cap on top.
After apply, make sure yous make clean the stop of the syringe and spiral on the plastic cap. Tighten the cap well, so no air tin can get inside – this will prevent it from drying out as well rapidly.
If you lot tin’t put the cap back on or take lost it, try using a Ziploc handbag that can exist sealed shut. Try to get rid of almost of the air in the Ziploc Pocketbook before closing it.
Don’t pull the syringe plunger back. Information technology will introduce air into the syringe, which leads to oxidation and significantly shortens the chemical compound’s shelf life.
One time you have the syringe closed, store it in an area that’s either at normal room temperature, or slightly libation.
Avoid storing the compound in places that get too hot or as well cold, such as your basement or your attic.
As well, the compound must not be exposed to straight sunlight.
When should you replace thermal paste?
There are a few situations where replacing thermal compounds becomes a good idea.
The first is whenever you remove the heatsink off of the corresponding chip. When you lot remove it, you will notice that some of the chemical compound is left over on the heatsink itself, while the residuum is on the scrap.
Placing the heatsink dorsum on the scrap and using the same thermal paste will innovate air pockets. Air pockets human action as insulators, not heat conductors, and accept a big touch on on thermal performance.
This is why, whenever you remove the heatsink, clean both the heatsink and the chip (booze wipes work best here), and apply new thermal compound. Make sure you become rid of the chemical compound completely as yous don’t want it to mix with the new – which would decrease its performance.
The other situation, if you don’t remove your cooler oftentimes, is to replace the chemical compound every two to three years.
This is due to the pump-out result nosotros mentioned earlier, which leads to thermal performance degradation over time.
Continue in mind that non all thermal compounds maintain efficacy the same manner.
Almost value options are adept for two to three years, while higher-end compounds can go up to 7 years. Replacing information technology every two to three years is a expert idea and will keep your flake at its optimum.
Wrapping things up
Thermal paste is essential when it comes to keeping the CPU and GPU cool.
Using your computer with stale-out thermal paste will lead to noticeably decreased thermal functioning, which means throttling of your clock speeds and potential risk of overheating.
If you lot’re curious about how thermal paste works, how dissimilar types of it perform, and what the best options are, nosotros’ve got you covered.
Over to you
How often do you lot supercede your Thermal Paste? Let us know in the comments or our forum.
CGDirector is Reader-supported. When you buy through our links, nosotros may earn an chapter commission.