Like the medicines and food, thermal paste has a serviceable life and can expire. According to manufacturers, thermal paste lasts for 3 to 5 years.1 How long does thermal paste last? It may vary in terms of usage and storage conditions. The solvents used in generating the thermal compound could dry over time, making the thermal paste non-usable.
What is thermal paste?
Thermal paste, also known as thermal compound, is a cooling agent used to prevent the CPU from overheating. The main purpose of the thermal compound is to fill the air gaps between a CPU and its heat sink.1
It allows the CPU to cool down, increasing its speed and improving system performance, resulting in making the CPU to run smoothly.1
Types of thermal paste
Thermal paste can be generally classified as conductive and non-conductive. The conductive types are silver, aluminum, and copper-based, while the non-conductive are zinc and silicone thermal greases.1
The thermal pastes’ qualities may differ in their cooling effectiveness, composition, and price. So, consider getting quality thermal paste according to the kind of system you are operating and how long you want the cooling effect to last.
How to tell if your thermal paste is expired?
When you press the thermal paste tube, and the compound oozes out watery or nubby, then it is time you discard the whole tube. An expired CPU thermal paste may also become hard or dried out.
It is recommended to check the thermal paste before applying that it is a greasy, smooth liquid.
Make sure you store the thermal paste in a cool, darkroom to avoid early expiry.2
Why does the thermal compound expire?
The expiry of a thermal paste depends on its contents, which may dry or become hard over time. After using the thermal paste once or twice, we tend to forget about preserving it for the next use.
Improper storage will damage the compound solvents and dry over in a month. In the computer system, overusing, and unstable room temperature may also make the paste wear out quicker.2
How to properly store thermal paste and extend its shelf-life?
People question, how long does thermal paste last in tube? Temperature, humidity, and keeping in low light exposure, are the steps you would want to note for proper thermal paste storage.3
Storing the thermal paste in a proper, cool, and dark place should give a shelf life of about two years. Check if the cap is tightened correctly, and keep away from direct sunlight.3
You may also vacuum seal it for its longevity.
Thermal paste replacement
If your CPU’s temperature is too high, consider replacing the thermal paste, as you may face performance loss. As long as your processor’s temperature is normal, you don’t need to replace the thermal paste.3
However, you may reapply the thermal paste if your system temperatures rise. You can find the thermal compounds in any local stores at reasonable prices.
Undoubtedly, your CPU price is much higher than a thermal paste, so avoid the risk of not utilizing it. Using the thermal compounds will cool down your CPU’s temperature and make your systems work faster without being laggy.
Be aware of using the wrong paste, which can overheat and damage your system. Make sure you choose the right thermal paste for your computer.