How Long Does Thermal Paste Last In The CPU? – Full Guide 2023
Most coolers and other parts will come with a thermal compound pre-applied to the parts, but what is the shelf life of thermal paste and what happens if you need to reapply it?
Even more important, if you are going to overclock your computer and increase the temperatures, what does that mean to reapply thermal paste? Even when you first buy a piece, thermal paste has been on a shelf for some time and is already getting old. This means that you will eventually need a replacement of the thermal paste.
Thermal paste is a term that includes many different types of products. The answer to the question “How long does thermal paste last?” It depends on many different things, including the type of thermal paste and how it is applied.
What is Thermal Paste?
Thermal paste goes by many other names, including:
- Compound Paste
- Conductive Grease
- Thermal Grease
- Conductive Paste
No matter what you call it, it does the same. It is a compound that is placed in the area between the heat sink and the device intended to cool that heat sink. Improves conductivity and the connection between the CPU and its heat sink.
Heat sinks dissipate the extra energy produced by the processor. It moves it away from the unit and works in conjunction with the fan or cooler to keep everything at a stable temperature. As you probably know, it is important to maintain a stable temperature for performance. Not only that, but it will help increase the longevity of not just the CPU, but all parts of the computer and the motherboard.
Temperature affects everything, even if no studies have been done on it. Now, each type of thermal paste is different, each brand is different, and each application technique can change how it works.
How Does Thermal Paste Work?
CPUs can get very hot, so it is essential to extract heat as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, air is a terrible conductor of heat, so there should be as little air as possible between the CPU and the heatsink for optimal transfer.
If you’ve rummaged inside a computer, you know that the heat sink is pressing firmly against the CPU. This seal may look good enough to prevent air from getting in; unfortunately, even a strong squeeze is not enough to keep the air out.
The surface of the CPU and the contact plate of the heat sink are covered with small grooves and gaps. If not sealed properly, these gaps allow air to flow between the processor and the heat sink, reducing the efficiency of heat transfer between the two.
This is where thermal paste comes in. Thermal paste is not only a good conductor of heat, but it can penetrate those tiny gaps and grooves on hardware surfaces. This creates an airtight seal and increases the rate of heat transfer.
Over time, the thermal paste will age and dry out. Dryness reduces its effectiveness and causes the CPU to heat up. This situation is why people suggest reapplying thermal paste to prevent a computer from overheating.
How Long Does Thermal Paste Last In The CPU?
|Thermal Paste Type||Lifespan|
|Ceramic-based Paste||5 years|
|Carbon-based Paste||5 years|
|Metal-based Paste||5 years|
|Liquid Metal-based Paste||3 years|
Thermal grease is a greasy and sticky compound. When spoilt, the material becomes hard. However, this compound is capable of staying sticky without hardening for several years. Some factors might affect the shelf life of a thermal paste.
Usually, this depends on the solvent used in making the thermal paste. The solvent used will dry over the years, which then makes the paste hard and not safe for use. A good quality thermal paste often has a shelf life of approximately four years.
Does thermal paste need to be replaced?
Many users ask how often the thermal paste should be replaced. The simple answer is: Thermal paste can easily last 10-15 years or even longer, as long as the bond between the contact surfaces is not broken.
But if the bond breaks, either due to rough handling during shipping or because the user turns the heat sink to see if it is still tight, then the contact surfaces need to be cleaned again and a fresh new coat of thermal paste. adequately.
No need to replace thermal paste just because x years have passed.
There is a misconception among those users who, due to their inadequate knowledge, suggest that if the edges of the thermal paste are exposed, they will harden, oxidize or the contact surface is broken. You must replace the thermal paste on the CPU.
THAT IS NOT TRUE AT ALL: Remember, the most efficient heat transfer occurs with direct metal-to-metal contact of the contact surfaces.
When should you replace thermal paste?
There are some situations where replacing thermal compounds becomes a good idea. The first is every time you remove the heat sink from the corresponding chip. When you remove it, you will notice that some of the compound is left on the heatsink, while the rest is on the chip.
Putting the heatsink back on the chip and using the same thermal paste will cause air pockets. Air bags act as insulators, not heat conductors, and have a major impact on thermal performance.
So whenever you remove the heatsink, clean both the heatsink and the chip (alcohol wipes work best here) and apply a new thermal compound. Make sure to get rid of the compound completely, as you don’t want it to mix with the new one, which would decrease its performance.
The other situation, if you don’t remove the cooler frequently, is to replace the compound every two to three years. This is due to the pumping problem we mentioned earlier, which leads to degradation of thermal performance over time.
Note that not all thermal compounds maintain efficacy in the same way. Most value options are valid for two to three years, while high-end compounds can last up to seven years. Replacing it every two to three years is a good idea and will keep your chip at its optimum level.
Can Thermal Paste Go Bad?
Can thermal paste perish? Surprisingly, it enjoys exactly any other food or drug solution. It could go wrong, reducing your ability to prevent your PC system from getting too sexy. And we all know the dangers of allowing this to manifest.
A computer that overheats is prone to shutting down, at best. How long does thermal paste last? In the most complex case, you will find a frying pan that is really expensive to fix. Or you have to change your personal computer completely.
Fortunately, all of this can be avoided. We also recommend studying our guide on how often to replace hot glue. Thermal paste is required to continue to keep our CPU running accurately.
When your thermal adhesive is not properly maintained, you risk allowing it to lose its ability to continue to keep your computer components on trend. Even the most useful thermal adhesive can fail if it doesn’t seal properly. Letting air into the container can be a very sure way for the glue to become an indentation.
How long does thermal paste last? If it has been a few decades since you last applied thermal paste, it is almost certainly wise to check it ahead of time. You want to get in the habit of running regular checks to make sure your paste can keep crucial parts of your computer cool.
What are the benefits of replacing thermal paste?
Replacing thermal paste can improve the performance of your computer by reducing the amount of heat that the CPU generates. This can lead to a cooler and quieter computer, as well as a longer lifespan for the CPU.
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