How often should I change the thermal paste on my CPU?
Should this be done as a preventive measure, or only for symptoms of overheating?
When assembling a computer, one of the most important steps is applying thermal paste to the processor heat spreader cover. Many novice users think that this is a one-time operation that does not need to be repeated. In fact, in most cases, you will have to return to this procedure sooner or later in order to achieve the most effective cooling. Computer hardware developers recommend updating the thermal interface once or twice a year. But is it really necessary?
What is thermal paste for?
Thermal paste is a special compound that is placed between the cooled surface and the heatsink. It is needed for a more reliable and complete contact. The shelf life of thermal paste directly depends on the operating conditions. If the interface gets very hot and regularly passes a lot of heat, the paste will not last long in this mode. I’ll have to change it in six months or a year. And if the processor is not loaded as much (as, for example, in office PCs), you can return to the issue of replacement in a few years.
But that’s just a theory. In practice, it turns out that changing the thermal composition according to strict regulations does not make sense. If the temperature of the processor under continuous 100% load is within the acceptable range, then everything is in order with the cooling. You can check the work of the "stone". for example, using the free AIDA64 utility by running a stress test. If you do not notice overheating, there is no reason to worry.
Does the brand of thermal paste matter?
Among manufacturers of cooling systems, there is a fierce struggle for the attention of buyers. They developers offer products with a very high thermal conductivity (the https://jiji.ng/cars/mercedes_benz-g_class higher it is, the better), others lure buyers in large volumes. But in most cases, all this is redundant for the average user. Premium solutions are needed for ultra-performance gaming processors or for enthusiasts involved in extreme overclocking.
If you own even a powerful gaming computer, the paste that comes with the CPU cooler will suffice. There is no point in chasing "premium" compositions: any one will suit you, provided that it is of high quality. That is, it is produced by a well-known manufacturer and is sold in a normal store, and not in a tent on the market. Packaging can be different: for example, for a single application, you can get by with a bag, if you buy a large volume for several times, it’s better to take a paste in a syringe or tube.
Numerous tests show that premium products do not perform much better at cooling the CPU than budget solutions. We also adhere to this point of view. If you need to greatly reduce the temperature, then the most effective solution would be to buy a powerful cooler with a large number of copper tubes. Or you can even switch to water cooling. At best, buying expensive thermal paste will result in a temperature drop of 5-10 ° C, which is not much.