Short Answer: Yes!
Why would thermal compound/thermal grease have an expiry date? That’s a real question, right? Pretty much from consumables to apply-overs, everything has an expiry date because they start to lose their essence. The same thing happens with the thermal paste. The only difference is that the food and medicine expire way before thermal paste. Usually, manufacturers put a range of 3-5 years on thermal compound (5 being the maximum) for the paste to work; otherwise, it really won’t.
In short, if you want to see temperatures plummet down, I would recommend using the paste during the optimal time period of 3-5 years. But we are far from over yet! There’s so much to discuss about the expiry date and how to check it, so stay tuned!
How to check for the expiry date?
Before I start talking about the way to check the expiry date, I want you to remember that each product differs significantly in terms of material usage. Let’s say thermal grizzly is into using more versatile and long-lasting sub-components compared to Arctic silver; hence, you see the Arctic silver dying out before the thermal grizzly. So, the number one thing is the “type of thermal paste” you have and from which “brand.”
But here’s another game-changer scenario. Suppose you are from a tropical region, where the sun’s always blushing, and there’s so much heat that you feel like being evaporated. In that case, the thermal paste applied to your components will die out soon regardless of whatever type or brand they have. The external temperature matters a lot, especially the amount of “humidity” in your area. In stark contrast, if you live in a colder region, where the sun’s too shy to even show up, your thermal paste will even last longer. So, there’s that too.
Apart from this, there’s one way to check if your thermal paste has expired or not. All you have to do is put the thermal paste on a metallic component, and spread it out. If spreading doesn’t lead to bumpy clusters or watery stillness, then your paste is working all fine. But if it’s the case, throw the thermal paste right away. You don’t need it anymore, since the transfer of heat won’t even be remotely effective on the Heat sink.
How to increase the longevity of the thermal paste?
- Here are a few things to practice so you can increase the lifespan of the thermal paste. Also, remember that it’s not a guarantee that the steps will be a success since many external factors affect the quality of the thermal paste.
- If your thermal paste has a tube-like structure, then always keep the lid enclosed. This is because the air can enter the tube, which can ultimately lead to internal reactions.
- The next thing to remember is the pull force. If your thermal paste has a plunger (can be pulled out and pushed in), don’t be so hard on it. Be gentle because the air can easily enter through the plunger and, in turn, can oxidize your thermal paste.
- Always keep the thermal paste away from extreme locations. Be it cold or hot. It’s always recommended to put the thermal paste in a location where the temperature remains moderate. This is to ensure that any further internal reactions don’t take place.
- The last one is to keep the thermal paste in a drawer, so the sun’s rays don’t pass through the contents. If you are not a science student, then all I want to say is that the ozone layer is not able to stop many harmful rays. Some of them enter anyway in our atmosphere, and they can literally cause skin reactions and internal combustions within products. So, keep your paste away from the sun.
What to do when thermal paste stops working on the CPU/GPU?
For that, all you have to do is unlatch the heatsink and apply the new paste. Also, it largely depends on external factors. If you are living in an extremely humid area, the thermal paste will die out soon due to high ambient temperatures, so it’s better to keep changing the thermal paste every 6-12 months. You will also notice an increase in the normal temperature of the chipset and the VRMs when thermal paste stops working, so there’s that too. If you don’t apply the new thermal paste soon, your component might throttle and die out due to excessive heat. So, it’s my recommendation to keep the temperatures in check every now and then. Also, don’t forget to read our two extremely helpful guides: How to apply the thermal paste and remove the thermal paste.
Also, if you are looking forward to a repasting session, kindly have a look at the Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, as it’s the best out there. Anyways, if you have any queries, do let us know in the comments.