Should I do this as a preventive measure or only for symptoms of overheating?
When assembling a computer, one of the essential 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 revert to this procedure sooner or later to get the most efficient cooling possible. 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 unique compound that is placed between the cooled surface and the radiator. It is needed for more reliable and meaningful 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. We’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 replacement issue in a few years.
But this is just a theory. In practice, it turns out that there is no point in changing the thermal composition according to strict regulations. If the temperature of the processor under a continuous 100% load is within acceptable values, then everything is in order with cooling. You can check the work of the “stone”. for example, using the free AIDA64 utility by running a stress test. If you don’t notice overheating, there is no cause for concern.
Does the brand of thermal paste matter?
There is a fierce battle among manufacturers of cooling systems for the attention of buyers. They offer products with a very high thermal conductivity (the 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 super-powerful gaming processors or extreme overclocking enthusiasts.
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 will suit you, provided that it is of high quality. That is, it is released by a well-known manufacturer and is sold in a regular store. The packaging may be different: for example, for a single application, you can do with a package, if you buy a large volume for several times, take better paste in a syringe or tube.
Numerous tests show that premium products do not do much better with CPU cooling than budget solutions. We also adhere to this point of view. If you need to reduce the temperature significantly, then the most effective solution would be to buy a powerful cooler with a lot of copper pipes. Or you can even switch to water cooling. In the best case, purchasing an expensive thermal paste will lead to a temperature drop of 5-10 ° C, which is not so much.
How to replace thermal paste correctly?
In general, this is a straightforward procedure that even a novice user can handle. Below we will provide a short guide.
- Power off the computer.
- Disconnect all cables from the motherboard and remove it from the case.
- Dismantle the CPU cooler and open the socket using the small lever.
- Use acetone and a tissue to remove the old thermal grease altogether.
- Squeeze a small drop of fresh liquid onto the processor cover and spread the interface evenly over the surface using a plastic card.
- Now you can collect everything in the reverse order.