How Long Does Thermal Paste Last Behind CPU?

Everything you need to know about the thermal paste behind my CPU lasts: When you’re building a PC, it is essential to look for a new processor, graphics card, and RAM that are more exciting than the tube of thermal paste you purchased. On the other hand, thermal paste is essential for the health of your machine; without it, your computer will not last long! Let’s take a closer look at what thermal paste is and how it functions.

Thermal paste is a thermally conductive compound that is used as an interface between a heatsink and a chip. The purpose of this paste is to eliminate air gaps that act as thermal insulators. Thus, thermal paste helps to maximize heat transfer and dissipation. Naturally, it doesn’t last forever. Hence, you need to replace it every once in a while.

What Is Thermal Paste, and How Does It Work?

Small tubes of thermal paste, often followed by a small shovel-like tool called an applicator, can be purchased at electronics stores.

When building a computer, you’ll need a tube of thermal paste to keep things running smoothly. Some CPU heat sinks come with thermal paste already applied, so you can plug it in and start working. On the other hand, some hardware enthusiasts swear by and apply their preferred brand of thermal paste by hand. You can also look for how long thermal paste lasts and use it on your PC.

Thermal paste aims to assist in transferring heat from the CPU to the heat sink. The heat is then radiated away from the hardware by the heat sink. This keeps the CPU calm, even though it’s working hard to process tasks.¬†

Hot Processor Runs Can Affect the Efficiency of Thermal Paste

Hot Your Processor Runs Can Affect the Efficiency of Thermal Paste

If you’re using cheap thermal paste, like the kind that comes with some CPU coolers, it might dry out in two or three years. It will also dry out faster if the CPU is running hot. Before using thermal paste, you should know how long thermal paste lasts in the tube. ¬†Thermal paste of good quality (such as Arctic Silver) could last a little longer, possibly up to four years. If you’re using a high-end CPU or overclocking it a lot, it’s a good idea to replace the paste once a year or more. If your CPU’s temperatures are roughly the same as they were with the new thermal paste, it’s likely still usable. Even after removing all dust from the heat sinks, if the CPU gets unusually hot, you can thermal paste go bad.

Know About Stock Thermal Paste

The word “stock thermal paste” is also used to refer to thermal paste. Thermal paste applied by the manufacturer, such as on a pre-built unit, is an example of this kind. On the other hand, some manufacturers skimp on the thermal paste and use a less efficient heat-conducting compound. As a result, enthusiasts will sometimes substitute the stock thermal paste with their favorite brand of “aftermarket” paste, Paste, that can be purchased off the shelf. Be aware of how long thermal paste is good for as you are using it.

What is the Correct Method of Using Thermal Paste?

What is The Correct Method of Using Thermal Paste?

Since CPUs can get extremely hot, it’s critical to remove heat from them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the air is a poor heat conductor, so there should be as little air between the CPU and the heat sink as possible for optimal heat transfer. If you’ve ever poked around inside a machine, you’ll notice that the CPU is pressed up against the heat sink. So how long does CPU thermal paste lasts ultimately depends on the quality you use. This seal can appear to be adequate to prevent air from entering; however, even a tight squeeze is insufficient to keep air out.

The touch layer of the heat sink and the CPU surface are covered in tiny grooves and gaps. These gaps allow air between the processor and the heat sink if they are not adequately sealed, reducing the two’s heat transfer efficiency. This is where the use of thermal paste comes into play.

Thermal paste is not only a strong heat conductor, but it can also get into those tiny gaps and grooves on the hardware’s surfaces. This provides an airtight seal and speeds up the heat transfer process. The thermal paste will become old and dry over time, so know beforehand how long the thermal paste lasts. Its effectiveness is harmed by the dryness, which causes the CPU to overheat. This is why some people recommend reapplying thermal paste to keep a machine from overheating.

What Is the Best Brand of Thermal Paste?

It isn’t easy to choose the suitable thermal paste because everyone has a different opinion about which one works best. You can, however, select the best brands by examining test results and making decisions based on raw data. You should be aware of how often I should change the thermal paste on the CPU.

A tester tests the idle temperature of a computer to determine the thermal paste quality. The processor is then coated with a specific type of thermal paste. After that, the machine is put through a stress test.

During the stress test, the tester measures the processor’s maximum temperature. How often you should replace the thermal paste on a CPU depends on many factors. The stress test temperature is then compared to the idle temperature from before. The smaller the temperature difference between idle and stress test temperatures, the more influential the thermal paste is in removing heat.

How Long Can Thermal Paste Last on Your CPU?

How Long Can Thermal Paste Last In Your CPU?

Depending on how you use thermal paste, it will last for years or even the system’s life. If you’re using it regularly, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you are continually taxing your machine, you can change it regularly. Some pastes dry out over time, and a better compound will aid in heat transfer from the CPU or GPU die to the heat spreader (liquid or air-cooled cooling block).

Is thermal paste necessary for your CPU?

You may think that thermal paste isn’t as essential as the processor or power supply in a PC build. Although a machine can boot without thermal paste, keeping it alive while you use it will be a challenge! Without thermal paste, heat transfer between the CPU and the heat sink is inefficient.

As a result, the CPU runs much hotter than it would if paste had been used. The CPU will overheat if it gets too hot, resulting in stuttering from throttling, blue screens, random shutdowns, and affecting thermal paste lifespan.

Thermal paste is a must-have, even if it’s the least exciting aspect of a computer build. It improves the heat sink’s performance and prevents your machine from overheating and shutting down. If you’re not sure if you need thermal paste and don’t want to smear grey goop, know how long it takes for thermal paste to set all over your brand-new expensive processor and get a heat sink with paste already applied. Although the paste isn’t the best on the market, it does make the installation go more smoothly.

Is There An Issue With The Expiration Of Thermal Compounds (Grease or Paste)?

Depending on the thermal compound’s contents, most should have a shelf life of about two years if properly sealed and stored in an excellent, dry location away from direct sunlight. Since most users only install a CPU cooler every couple of years, the thermal compound may have expired when needed for a second use. You can also know how long Arctic Silver Five lasts.

A transparent liquid will most likely come out of the first few drops of the expired thermal compound. Discard all that comes out of the tube compound as you squeeze it until the colored material begins to emerge. Until adding the thermal compound to the CPU, make sure it’s a well-mixed, smooth liquid. If the thermal compound has become challenging, flaky, or dried out, it is best to discard the entire tube. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the thermal compound; you can get to know how long the thermal paste takes to set.

Know About The Best Way To Use Thermal Paste

Know About The Best Way To Use Thermal Paste

Given the value of thermal paste, the correct way to apply it has sparked a tumultuous debate. You will find theorems, methods, and passed-down advice for use if you search the internet. The video above demonstrates how varied paste application patterns can be made and how often you should replace thermal paste on the CPU.

Placing a pea-sized drop in the middle of the processor is the most straightforward form of application. After that, secure the heat sink to the processor by applying equal pressure to all four corners. This means that the thermal paste is uniformly dispersed around the surface.

You can use the applicator that came with your thermal paste to get an even distribution of paste. Others prefer this approach to ensure that the distribution is fine before clamping the heat sink on the processor. Get complete knowledge about how often I should apply thermal paste.

Some approaches refer to a line-based program that covers the processor’s cores. Of course, you’ll need to understand where the processor’s centers are located, so this isn’t for everyone. Regardless of the process you use, make sure there are no bubbles or holes in the paste. These allow stale air to enter, obstructing heat distribution.

Tips on Storing Thermal Paste

It is recommended to buy only your recommended amount of thermal paste. Thus, you don’t have to keep a stockpile of paste that may be wasted. Still, if you need to store some amount of thermal paste, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

Usually, thermal paste comes in a plastic syringe with a plastic cap on top. You must close the cap properly.

After every use, make sure to clean the end of the syringe on the plastic cap. Also, close the cap tightly so that no air can get inside. Thus, the paste won’t dry quickly.

Somehow, if you have lost the cap of the syringe, you can use a ziplock bag to seal and shut the paste. Before closing the zip-lock bag, make sure to squeeze out the most air.

Don’t pull back the syringe plunger, as it will introduce air into the syringe. It may cause oxidation, which significantly shortens the paste’s shelf life.

The compound shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight.


If you’ve never used thermal paste before, make a note in the spreadsheet if a particular brand is difficult to apply. Also, be aware of how long for thermal paste to set to use in the best possible way. Thermal paste isn’t needed to start a machine, but it can help hold the temperature down. As a result, even if the internet can’t agree on the best way to distribute it, you should still use thermal paste when constructing a device.


How long does thermal paste last?

Like medication and food, thermal paste has a shelf life and can go wrong if not used properly. Before using, know how often I should change the thermal paste on my CPU. According to most manufacturers, thermal paste has a lifetime of 3 to 5 years if it is held in ideal conditions, which might not be the case in your case.

How long does CPU thermal paste last?

Thermal paste usually lasts at least five years and, in some cases, up to 10. People have replaced their CPU or GPU (or even their whole computer) long before that happens in the usual course of things.

How long does the best thermal paste last?

Many thermal pastes have a two- to three-year shelf life. Thermal paste doesn’t hold up well over time. Once you’re sure you’ve assembled your CPU cooler correctly, you’ll probably want to throw away any leftover paste.

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