Thermal Paste is a material that is applied between the heat sink and CPU to help with cooling. It is made of a viscous material that can fill in any gaps and create an even surface. The thermal paste helps to conduct heat away from the CPU and into the heat sink, which then dissipates it into the air.

Thermal paste has been around for many years and is a common way to help keep CPUs cool. However, how long does thermal paste last, The life of thermal paste can depend on several factors, including the type of thermal paste, the environment it is used in, and how often it is used.

In general, most thermal pastes have a lifespan of about 3-5 years. However, if the CPU is upgraded or changed, then the thermal paste should also be replaced.

What is thermal paste and what does it do? 

Thermal paste is a substance that is applied to the surface of components in electronic devices to improve heat conduction. It is commonly used in computer processors, graphics cards, and other devices that generate a great deal of heat. Thermal paste can also be used to improve the performance of coolers by providing a more efficient contact surface.

Thermal paste is made of a variety of materials, but the most common are silicon and metal alloys. Silicon-based pastes are generally considered to be better than metal alloys, as they have a higher thermal conductivity. However, they also have a lower melting point, which can cause them to become liquid at high temperatures.

Thermal paste is applied in a very thin layer, and it is important to ensure that there is an even coverage. Excess thermal paste can lead to decreased performance or even damage to the component. Thermal paste should be reapplied whenever the surface it is applied to becomes contaminated. Make sure to use a quality thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5, which has a thermal conductivity of up to 8.5 W/mK, which helps to dissipate heat quickly and efficiently. It is also non-conductive, which means it will not damage your components.

How long does thermal paste last before it needs to be replaced? 

This is a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer, as many factors can influence how long thermal paste lasts. Generally, however, the thermal paste can last for between six and twelve months before it needs to be replaced. Some people may get more or less life out of their thermal paste, depending on a variety of factors such as the quality of the paste, how well it is applied, and the ambient temperature and humidity levels.

If you’re not sure whether or not your thermal paste needs to be replaced, there are a few simple tests you can do to check.

  1. The first thing to do is to remove your CPU cooler and take a look at the thermal paste. If the paste is discolored, cracked, or peeling, then it’s most likely time for a new application.

  2. Another way to test is to apply a small amount of pressure to the top of the CPU with your finger. If the paste feels gritty or powdery, then it’s time for a new application.

  3. Finally, you can also perform a thermal test to check the condition of the paste. This can be done by running a benchmarking program such as Prime95 and watching the temperatures over time. If the temperature starts to climb rapidly after a few minutes, then the paste may be starting to fail.

If you decide that it is time for a new application of thermal paste, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, be sure to remove all of the old paste before applying the new stuff - using a fresh layer of paste on top of the old paste is only going to reduce its effectiveness. Second, make sure that you apply the paste in a thin, even layer. If it’s too thick, it will not be able to properly dissipate heat. Finally, be patient it may take a few minutes for the new thermal paste to fully adhere to the CPU and start working its magic.

Different Types of Thermal Paste Available

There are a variety of thermal pastes available on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one to buy. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common types of thermal paste:

Arctic Silver 5: This is a high-quality thermal paste that is made of silicon and metal alloys. It has a thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/mK, which is one of the highest on the market. It is also non-conductive, so it won’t damage your electronics.

Cooler Master TX3: This thermal paste is made of silicon and metal alloys, like Arctic Silver 5. However, its thermal conductivity is only 3.5 W/mK, which is much lower than Arctic Silver 5. It is also non-conductive.

Arctic MX-4: This thermal paste is made of carbon and metal alloys. It has a thermal conductivity of 4.7 W/mK, which is lower than both Arctic Silver 5 and Cooler Master TX3. However, it is still a quality thermal paste and is cheaper than both of those options.

Noctua NT-H1: This thermal paste is made of metal alloys and organic materials. It has a thermal conductivity of 3.9 W/mK, which is lower than the other options on this list. However, it is still a quality thermal paste and has some unique features that make it worth considering.

Factors Consider while buying Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is one of the most important components in a computer build. When choosing a thermal paste, it’s important to consider the following guide. Make sure to get a paste with a high thermal conductivity, low viscosity, and small particle size to ensure optimal heat transfer.

Thermal Conductivity:

The thermal conductivity of a material is a measure of how well it can transfer heat. The higher the number, the better the paste will be at transferring heat. You’ll want to look for a paste with thermal conductivity of at least 7.0 W/mK. This is the thermal conductivity of most high-end thermal pastes.

Viscosity:

The viscosity of a material is a measure of how thick it is. The higher the number, the thicker the paste will be. This can make it more difficult to apply and can also increase the chance of it clumping up. You’ll want to look for a paste with a viscosity of less than 1000 cP. This is the viscosity of most high-end thermal pastes.

Particle Size:

The particle size of a material is the size of the particles in the paste. The smaller the particles, the better the paste will be at transferring heat. You’ll want to look for a paste with a particle size of less than 10 microns. This is the size of most high-end thermal pastes.

Temperature Range:

The temperature range of a material is the range of temperatures it can be used in. You’ll want to look for a paste that can be used in a range of -50°C to 200°C. This is the range of most high-end thermal pastes. Also, make sure the paste you choose is compatible with your CPU and GPU.

TDP (Thermal Design Power):

The Thermal Design Power is the maximum amount of heat a CPU or GPU can produce. You’ll want to make sure the paste you choose can handle the TDP of your CPU or GPU. Most high-end thermal pastes can handle up to 250W of heat. But, if you have a high-end CPU or GPU, make sure to check the TDP rating of the paste.

Cooling Solution:

The type of cooling solution you have will also affect the type of thermal paste you need. If you have a liquid cooling solution, you’ll need a thermal paste with higher thermal conductivity. If you have an air cooling solution, you’ll need a thermal paste with lower thermal conductivity.

Conclusion:

Thermal paste is a great way to keep your computer running cool, it is an essential part of any PC, and it’s important to know how long it will last. Different types of thermal paste can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, so it’s important to keep an eye on your paste and replace it when necessary.

By keeping your PC running cool, you can extend the life of your hardware and keep your computer running at its best. Furthermore, It is important to have thermal paste in your computer toolkit because it can help you fix common PC problems.

Stephan Pudwill
Stephan is a computer engineer and hardware writer. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in with a degree in Computer Science. When not working or tinkering with electronics, he enjoys writing and reviewing computer hardware.