How Long Does Thermal Paste Last In The CPU? | An Explainer

After making rounds on the Internet (Quora, specifically), I say that thermal paste lasts for three years, five years max in the CPU. But, it all depends on two things:

1. How heated your CPU gets

2. The quality of paste used

Let me put things into perspective. If you’re using a paste made of low-quality materials, it may dry out in about two years. Also, if the CPU gets heated a lot (because of overclocking), the paste will dry out fast. The idea is that the paste should remain sticky and gelatinous for a long time.

If you overclock your high-end CPU excessively, be advised to replace the paste regularly. This can be anything between 6 months and a year. And if your CPU gets a little too hot after you dust the heatsink, you should probably go shopping. For what? You already know.

Now, let’s look at the subject extensively. Read till the last period to experience this informative read.

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Has My Thermal Paste Expired (How To Know)

The consistency that your paste displays should be the best way to know if it’s expired or not. Get the thermal past syringe and push a dot out. Then, try to spread it.

If the paste spreads excellently and normally, it is still working, and you don’t have to go shopping. However, if it comes out watery, wacky, or disintegrated, you’re looking at an expired product.

Thermal Paste Composition (A Nerdy Hook At Things)

Here’s a table that shows you what you’re handling when dealing with thermal pastes:

They consist of the followingPolymerizable liquid matrixLarge volume fractions of thermally-conductive, electrically-insulated fillers
Typical materials used as part of the polymerizable liquid matrixSilicones (silicone grease)EpoxiesAcrylatesUrethanesPressure-sensitive adhesives (tapes)Hot-melt adhesivesSolvent-based systems
Typical materials used as fillersAluminum nitrideZinc oxideBoron nitrideAluminum oxide 
Filler loading on paste (% by mass)Between 70 and 80
Fillers functionRaising thermal conductivity of the base matrix
They raise thermal conductivity FROM0.17 – 0.3 Watts per meter-Kelvin [W/(m·K)]
They raise thermal conductivity TO4 W/(m·K)

Replacing Thermal Paste On CPU

So, is replacing the thermal paste any problematic? Well, if you’ve done it before, it is easy to do. Also, the products are relatively cheap, and you’ll only take a few mutes to apply the paste.

When you do the thermal paste replacement, take the opportunity and dust off the heatsink.

And how will you know if you correctly applied the thermal compound? Well, there will be a temperature drop of up to 2°C. However, if the CPU still runs hot (even when idle), you should either reapply the paste or go for another brand.

If you’re taking off the CPU cooler, also replace the paste before you put it back. If you fail to do so, your CPU may get overheated. This is because the paste which you exposed picks dust and air particles. In turn, the particles adulterate the compound, making it operate less effectively (lower thermal conductivity).

Thermal Paste Divisions

With thermal pastes, there are two types (or divisions): non-conductive and conductive pastes. Generally speaking, the conductive pastes are formed from good metallic conductors of heat. However, they can short circuit your motherboard and CPU.

On the flip side, non-conductive thermal pastes are easier to use and cheaper, and working with them is pretty effortless. But, those pastes do not perform as well as the conductive ones.

The two thermal paste divisions also have a difference in regards to drying out. Non-conductive pastes dry out faster than conductive pastes, meaning that you’ll need to change them sooner than you expect. On the other hand, conductive pastes will serve you diligently for about 3 to 4 years before you think about replacing them. But you needn’t have to wait for the next general elections to replace the paste. Do it every year to keep your computer operating at optimum levels all the time.

How To Store Thermal Paste (After Buying It) Correctly

Once you buy the tub (or syringe plunger) and change your CPU’s thermal paste, you need to store it well. No one changes their CPU’s coolers every day, let alone every month. So, proper storage will improve the product’s shelf life, and that is what you should be targeting.

Now, always have these guidelines in mind as you store the paste:

1. After applying the thermal paste to the CPU, you need to ensure that no air remains in the syringe plunger. To do that, push the plunger forward. If you’re using a tube paste, squeeze it to push the air bubble out.

2. The other thing is to prevent any air from coming into the syringe or the tube. You will achieve that by closing the cap tightly.

3. Before you store the product, put it in a bag. Then, keep it in a room that doesn’t experience temperature spikes.

4. Also, the room should not be open to sunlight. Remember, the compounds in the paste may react to the UV rays as they are chemicals.

5. A good place would be a drawer in your bedroom or that closet which you hardly access.

Last Words

Many enthusiasts online claim that thermal paste should be changed frequently, but that isn’t necessarily true. The best time interval for replacing the paste should be annually or whenever you feel like your PC is overheating.

Also, another must-do time is when you take off the CPU cooler. As mentioned earlier, the thermal paste may pick dust particles and air bubbles, and you don’t want that happening.

And lastly, you should constantly monitor your CPU temperatures to know whether you should change the paste. If it is running its operations under 85°C, there is little reason for replacement.

And that’s all you need to know on how long goes thermal paste last on the CPU.

Outro

If you liked this read, share it with your fellow tech-savvy friends. And is there anything in the read you need to note? Well, there’s plenty of space in the comment section below, so do your thing.

And don’t leave before your read any one (or all) of these articles:

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FAQ

What Is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste is a substance that is applied to the electronic components of a computer system in order to keep them cool. It has two main types: conductive and ceramic. Conductive thermal paste is used to fill the air gaps between the surface of the chip and the copper heat sink, which helps bring heat away from the chip. Ceramic thermal paste is used to fill the air gaps between two surfaces, typically metal surfaces, with an electrically insulating layer in between.

What Is The Best Thermal Paste For PC?

Thermal paste is a material applied between two surfaces to improve heat transfer. The best thermal paste for your PC should have these characteristics:

-Silicone or other oil-based thermal paste that will not break down over time. -Thin, but not too thin, so that it will conduct heat well while not allowing air to escape the system. -A thermal paste with good quality ceramic content for durability, yet still affordable.

What Is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste helps conduct heat away from the CPU, GPU, or another component so that they can run at their optimal temperature. Why is it important? If not applied correctly, or if it dries out, components can overheat and become less efficient.

Does Thermal Paste Work With Liquid Cooling?

Let’s discuss whether or not thermal paste is necessary for liquid cooling. Thermal paste is designed to fill gaps between components, which can happen when the components are not aligned correctly. Liquid cooling does not have gaps, so it is generally thought that thermal paste has no function. It’s also possible that the liquid used in liquid cooling reacts differently than air, which can also lead to different results when it comes to cooling.

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