How often should you change thermal paste on your CPU?


Thermal paste or thermal compound is a silver-greyish substance applied to CPUs. It facilitates the transfer of heat from the processing unit to the CPU cooler, from where the heat is dissipated. If you are well-informed on the subject of PC building, you may already be familiar with what thermal paste is and the role it plays.

However, one common question that most PC builders wonder about is the frequency with which they need to change thermal paste. Since it is an important component of the computer cooling system, the question may be of interest to you if you want to maximize the cooling temperature of your computer.

Continue reading as we try to address this question.

How often should I reapply thermal paste

You should consider reapplying thermal paste if you have not done so in a few years. The thermal paste may have worn out or dried up and may need changing. Some other instances that may require you to apply thermal paste again are discussed below.

High temperature of PC

If you notice that the temperature of your PC has been running abnormally higher than usual recently, you may need to reapply thermal paste. It may happen mostly if you use your system for strenuous tasks like gaming.

Upgrading CPU

If you have recently upgraded your CPU cooler or CPU, you may need to reapplying thermal pastes. Similarly, if the CPU cooler or heatsink in the central processing unit loosens or gets unseated accidentally, you will have to apply thermal pastes again.

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At the same time, it is important to note that good-quality thermal pastes do not wear out that easily and remain intact for years. So, you do not need to replace thermal paste every few months as it may not impact the temperature or performance. Only replace thermal paste when you need to and ensure to get a high-quality paste.

Thermal paste is worn out

If the old thermal paste on the CPU leaves air bubbles or it might be dry when you remove the CPU cooler, you may need to remove and clean out the old thermal paste and reapply a new thermal paste. The dry thermal paste texture is flaky, so you can easily tell when it is time to change the CPU thermal paste. Make sure to clean out the old paste residue before reapplying thermal paste.

What factors can affect thermal paste

As suggested earlier, if your PC continues to operate for long hours, it can impact the thermal paste. Thermal paste helps in swiftly drawing heat from the CPU. It helps in reducing heat before the CPU cooler gets to work. Consistent higher temperatures may cause the thermal paste to dry out faster.

Additionally, if your room has an adequate cooling system and you place your CPU on a stand or a desk away from the floor, it will allow adequate airflow through your system. Placing the CPU on the ground may cause it to suck in all the dust, again impacting the CPU temperatures.


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