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How Long Does Thermal Paste Last?

Generally, Thermal Paste Tubes when stored properly, last for about 2 Years. But, if you are talking about how long does it last when applied on CPU, then there is no exact answer as if you don’t face any issues in the computer, you don’t need to think of changing before 2-3 years. Moreover, if you are having any issues with CPU, you can just disassemble the PC, and check if your CPU is heating. Then you can think of replacing the thermal paste, and see if it makes any difference.


When it comes to computers, we love to work on a computer system that works properly without any lag. But, for that, we have to be careful about maintaining our PC well. One such maintenance is applying thermal paste to the CPU for proper heat transfer. This is important because when the CPU gets heated, it starts to lag. In this article, we will discuss more about Thermal Paste in detail.

What is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste is a substance that helps to improve the contact between a heat sink and a CPU or GPU. The paste is applied to the top of the CPU or GPU, and then the heat sink is placed on top of it. The paste helps to fill in any gaps between the two surfaces, which makes for better heat transfer. Thermal paste can be made from a variety of materials, but most commonly it is made from silicone or metal oxide.

What is Thermal Paste Made Of?

Thermal paste is typically made from a combination of silicon dioxide and aluminum oxide. Sometimes other materials, like boron nitride or zinc oxide, are added to the mix to improve performance. The paste is usually white or off-white in color.

How Does Thermal Paste Work?

Thermal paste works by filling in the microscopic imperfections on the surface of a CPU or GPU die. By filling in these tiny gaps, the paste creates a more uniform surface that conducts heat better than the die alone. This improved heat conductivity means that your CPU or GPU can run cooler, which can help to extend its lifespan.

How to Apply Thermal Paste on CPU?

Applying thermal paste can be a bit tricky, but it’s not too difficult once you get the hang of it. First, you’ll need to clean the surface of your CPU or GPU die. You can do this with a lint-free cloth and some isopropyl alcohol.

Next, apply a pea-sized amount of thermal paste to the center of the die. Then, use a flat object like a credit card to spread the paste out into an even layer. Be careful about not pressing too hard, as you don’t want to damage the delicate surface of the die.

Finally, reassemble your computer and enjoy the cooler temperatures!

Types of Thermal Paste

There are two main types of thermal paste: Metallic and Non-Metallic.

Metallic Thermal Paste

Metallic thermal paste is made of a metal oxide compound, and it’s often considered the better option for cooling. That’s because it tends to have a higher thermal conductivity than non-metallic paste, meaning it’s better at dissipating heat.

However, metallic paste can be more difficult to apply, and it doesn’t always     spread as easily as non-metallic paste. It can also be more difficult to remove, so you’ll want to be extra careful not to get any on your motherboard or other sensitive components when you’re applying it.

Non-Metallic Thermal

Non-metallic thermal paste is made of a variety of different compounds, including silicones and ceramics. It’s often considered the easier option to apply, since it tends to spread more easily than metallic paste.

However, non-metallic paste doesn’t always have the best thermal conductivity, so it might not be suitable for your needs. If you need a material with better thermal conductivity, you can try using a metal-based paste. 

If you’re not sure which type of paste is right for your CPU, you can always ask a computer hardware expert.

Is Thermal Paste Necessary For CPU?

No, your CPU can function well without thermal paste. However, you will not get the best possible performance unless you use it. Thermal paste helps to fill in any gaps and ensure that there is good contact between the CPU and the heatsink. This helps to improve cooling and prevent overheating. And, when CPU is at normal temperature it offers optimum performance without any lag.

Without thermal paste, or with a poor quality thermal paste, your CPU will get hot. This can cause performance issues and potential damage to the CPU over time. Thus, It is advisable to invest in a good quality thermal paste and take the time to apply it correctly.

Where Do You Store Thermal Paste Tubes?

Thermal paste tubes can be stored in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or in a humid environment, as this can degrade the quality of the thermal paste. 

How Long Does Thermal Paste Last?

Thermal paste typically lasts for around two years, although this can vary depending on the quality of the thermal paste and how it is stored. When stored properly, most thermal pastes will have a shelf life of around two years. If you are not aware of how long your thermal paste has been stored for, then the best idea is to replace that with a new tube.

How Much Thermal Paste Do I Need?

The amount of thermal paste you need will depend on the size of the CPU and the size of the heat sink. A good rule of thumb is to use about half a gram of thermal paste for each square inch of surface area. That solves the purpose.

Should I Clean Off Old Thermal Paste?

Yes, you should always clean off old thermal paste before applying new thermal paste. This can be done with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol(Isopropyl Alcohol). Make sure the surface is completely clean and dry before applying new thermal paste.

How Often Should I Apply Thermal Paste?

You should apply thermal paste every time you replace your CPU or heatsink. Over the period of time, the Thermal Paste you have placed on your CPU dries out and eventually needs to be replaced in order to maintain optimal cooling performance. Also, when your CPU is lagging, you can replace thermal paste and see if that helps.

Do You Need Thermal Paste For New CPU?

Yes, you will need to apply thermal paste to your new CPU in order to ensure proper cooling and prevent overheating.

What Happens If I Use Too Much Thermal Paste?

If you use too much thermal paste, it can actually insulate the heat sink from the CPU, causing poor heat transfer and potential overheating issues. It is always better to err on the side of too little thermal paste rather than too much. That means, if it is a little less than what is required, it is still fine but, using more than required will have the negative effect of poor heat transfer which causes overheating issues.


Applying the thermal paste to your CPU is an important part of the assembly process and should not be overlooked. Be sure to use a good quality thermal paste and apply it correctly in order to maintain optimal cooling performance and prevent any overheating issues. Thanks for reading!

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you with unique, well-researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging. He has in-depth knowledge of computers and tech as he pursued computer science.

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