Does Thermal Paste Need to be Replaced? (Explained!)

Thermal paste is an essential compound for CPUs & GPUs as it helps to dissipate the heat from the heat resources. But many peoples are confused about whether they should replace the thermal paste or not.

I have built several PCs in the past, and after doing a ton of research, I am writing this article to inform you everything regarding this topic.

So, Does Thermal Paste Need to be Replaced?

Yes! Many experts recommend replacing the thermal paste in between 2 to 3 years. But if you de-attach the CPU cooler for some reason or looking to install a new CPU, CPU cooler, or GPU, then you need to replace the thermal paste every time. 

After getting the short answer, you might wonder when you should replace the thermal paste, what is needed to replace the thermal paste, and other questions; well, all of these questions are discussed below. So, keep reading this article till the end.

Why does Thermal Paste need to be Replaced?

Many peoples want to know why they should replace the thermal paste? Well, in this section, I will answer your question, but before that, let’s take a look at why thermal paste is needed-

According to Wikipedia, thermal paste is a thermally conductive chemical compound commonly used as an interface between heat sinks and heat sources such as high-power semiconductor devices.

This silver-gray substance allows for an efficient transfer of heat from the internal heat sinks of the processor to the base plate or water block of the CPU cooler that is designed to dissipate the heat.

Now, straight dive to the main point; why should you replace the thermal paste?

If your PC becomes 3 to 5 years old, you will often notice that sometimes your PC will heat up and your CPU fan spins so quickly; this issue mainly appears because of your expired thermal paste. To fix this heating issue, you need to apply a new set of thermal paste. 

If you don’t replace your old thermal paste, then too much heat will be generated in the future, which can eventually damage your PC components. 

Moreover, if you want to install a new CPU, CPU cooler, and GPU, you need to apply a little amount of thermal paste to dissipate the heat generated by your system components.

How Often Should You Replace Thermal Paste?

Generally, if your thermal paste is made from higher-end compounds, it will last up to seven years; but most thermal paste lasts between 2 to 3 years.

Many thermal paste manufacturers claim that the lifespan of thermal paste depends on factors such as the climate, the computer’s cooling system, usage, and the compound’s quality. This lifespan can decrease to 2/3 years and increase up to 10 years.

So, based on the expected lifespan of thermal paste, most experts recommend replacing the thermal paste every 2 to 3 years. But, if your CPU temperature is climbing around 175 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius), then you should immediately replace the thermal paste. 

Requirements Needed to Replace the Thermal Paste

If you are planning to replace the CPU cooler or old thermal paste, then you must need a couple of things. Here I have mentioned all the things. So, let’s take a look-

  • Screw Driver- It is the primary requirement needed to unscrew the CPU cooler, PC case, or other PC components. You can use any screwdriver, but if you don’t have any, you can check screwdrivers on Amazon.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol- This component is needed to remove the old thermal paste and to clean the CPU. You can check this alcohol- Here.
  • Towel or Cloth- You need a microfiber cloth or paper towel to clean the CPU with Isopropyl alcohol to remove the old thermal paste.
  • Thermal Paste- This is the final component you require to replace the old thermal paste. You can check the most sold thermal paste on- Amazon.

These are all the necessary things to replace the thermal paste.

Thermal Paste Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing the thermal paste depends on what kind of components you are buying; here, I am going to provide you with an average range of what amount you need to replace the thermal paste-

You have already noticed that you require 4 main things to replace the thermal paste, including a screwdriver. Many peoples have their screwdriver & towel in-home; therefore, I have not included the screwdriver & towel’s price here.

So, the average price of Isopropyl alcohol is around 15$, and the average cost of good quality thermal paste is around 10$. Overall, the expense of replacing the thermal paste is between 20$ to 30$.

Is it Worth Replacing the Thermal Paste?

It depends on how old your CPU is? If your PC is 2 to 3 years old and your CPU temperature is climbing rapidly, then it’s a good idea to replace the old thermal paste. 

Replacement of thermal paste doesn’t require huge money; therefore, it’s worth replacing it because it will protect your PC from heating and damage.

Also Read: Can Thermal Paste affect FPS?

How Long Does it Take to Replace Thermal Paste?

There is no such specific time duration in which you can replace the thermal paste; it depends on person to person.

I have been building PC for the last couple of years, and I am familiar with all the PC components; therefore, I can replace my old thermal paste within 20 to 30 minutes.

However, if you are a beginner and aren’t familiar with integral PC components, it can take up to 30 minutes to 1 hour to replace the old thermal paste. 

Here I have included the time to unscrew the PC case and CPU cooler and the CPU cleaning time with alcohol.

What Happens If You Don’t Replace Thermal Paste?

After reading this article, you might understand the importance of thermal paste because it allows heat transfer from the CPU to the heat sink, keeping the CPU cooler and at a nominal operating temperature.

Now, if your thermal paste expires and you didn’t replace the thermal paste, then too much heat will be generated inside the CPU & which can cause overheating and fail the CPU.

Moreover, if you don’t replace the thermal paste and run your computer for sustained months, it can damage your other PC components.

Also Read: Do AMD Ryzen Come with Thermal Paste?

Final Thoughts

Based on all these things, it has to be said that if you don’t replace the thermal paste then it can cause overheating, which can damage your PC; therefore, it’s always a good idea to replace the thermal paste every 2 to 3 years.

I hope this article is helpful for you and if you want to know more about thermal paste, CPUs, different PC components, and other technology-related things, then keep following this blog regularly.


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