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How Long Does Thermal Paste Last? Here Is Your Answer!

author-img By Subham Saha 5 Mins Read 11 September 2023

how long does thermal paste last

If you plan to buy a computer device without the addition of a thermal paste, chances are you will again have to land in the market looking for the same. But do you know how long thermal paste lasts? Well, this is the answer that we are going to find out in this article. A thermal paste has unparalleled functions to help the heat sink increase its cooling capacity of the CPU. This will allow the CPU to result in enhanced performance and faster speed of the system. 

What Is Thermal Paste?

A chemical compound that is thermally conductive and is used to serve the purpose of an interface between heat sinks and sources like semiconductor devices that are highly powered is known as a thermal paste. It is often referred to as thermal grease or compound and even thermal interface material (TIM). It basically helps to expand the surface of the contact area between two parts with the help of heat transportation-friendly material to fill in the microscopic gaps. Also, it helps to enhance the cooling effect and is thus used in mechanical and electronic devices. It generally limits the system or the device from attaining a harmful heat level. This thermal paste is thus used in computers to join those components to a cooling unit comprising of an attached fan and a heat sink. If you want to know how long thermal paste lasts in the tube, read more. 

Where To Apply Thermal Paste?

You have already learned about the fact that a thermal paste is used in computer devices that can connect its processor to a heat sink cooling unit. For learning how long does thermal paste lasts, first, you need to know about these basics. While purchasing a system, you might already find the best thermal paste is applied to it. However, in case it is not applied already, you must take care of the application of this paste to the system’s processor during the process of installation. Even the video graphics cards might need the application of thermal paste to associate the heat sink to the graphics processing unit. 

How To Apply Thermal Paste?

A thermal paste is generally available to us stored in a jar, tube, or syringe. During the installation procedure, a small dab of the thermal paste is applied to the upper center of the processor that is to be fitted into the motherboard of the system. Mostly it is recommended that the dab has to be about the size of a BB or smaller than a pea. However, it is also said that the dab might be dime-sized. In the next step, the heat sink’s connecting part must be lowered flat against the processor, squeezing down on the thermal paste. The thermal paste needs to spread, for which smaller movements are required. Now you can check if the paste is spread evenly across the processor’s surface. This check should be conducted minimally as it might cause air bubbles to form. Excess thermal paste can be wiped off with the use of a lint-free cloth.

Brand Variations

Ranging from consumer to high-end thermal compound products are readily available in the market. To learn about how long does thermal paste lasts, you need to the several brand variations that are there. The process where the speed of the processor of a computer is boosted through extra electricity is known as overclocking. So, now you need to know that the consumer-level product is adequate for any system that is not overclocked. High-end products provide better cooling effects and thus are quite important for overclocking. 

How Long Does Thermal Paste Last?

Different brand manufacturers have a different set of compound mixtures and syringes. To name, some of the brands, there are Noctua, ARCTIC, Thermal Grizzly, Corsair, etc. The chances are that your thermal paste will be in fine condition if it was kept placed under normal temperature and hasn’t been used since the time it was applied on your CPU. But how long does thermal paste last is the question that bugs you all, I am sure The answer to this question actually depends on how these thermal pastes have been manufactured and what components have been used to process them. If the cap of the tube is placed properly and if it is stored under cooler temperatures, the shelf life of the best thermal pastes turns out to be around two years. There are chances that the thermal grease might expire by the time it needs to be applied for the second time. This is because, within every interval of years, users are required to install a CPU cooler. 

How To Store Thermal Paste Properly?

After getting to know how long does thermal paste lasts, you might still want to extend its shelf life. If you own a new tube, here is how you can extend its expiry span:

  1. Take the thermal paste tube and twist the cap back until it is tight enough. 
  2. If the previous step is difficult due to the shape of the tube, put the compound in a ziplock bag to keep it away from the air. 
  3. The plunger must not be pulled back. In this part, the thermal paste is made to come out when you push on the tube with your thumb. This will let in the air inside the barrel and will cause the paste to get oxidized. 
  4. Find a normal room temperature to store the compound. The temperature should not be extremely hot or cold, or overly humid.
  5. Avoid storing the thermal paste in the storeroom, basement, or attic.
  6. For preventing exposure to sunlight, the tube must be covered or placed in a box. 

Final Thoughts

Now you have a great deal of ideas about how long does thermal paste last. Not only that but even various other aspects of thermal compounds. Thermal pastes play a significant role in a computer device’s well-being. Its properties are what helps to keep the system functioning smoothly.

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