How often do you replace thermal compound?

PC Surgeon

Limp Gawd
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Dec 18, 2005
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If you do at all?

My old GTX 560Ti was hitting 57C at idle!! So I decided to take off the heatsink and replace the thermal compound. The stinking heatsink didn't want to let go so when it finally gave way my fingers got sliced up lol :(

After calling myself stupid several times (well deserved) I finished the job in roughly 45min. Went ahead and gave the rest of it a wipe down as well and looks almost new :)

Results? 37C!!! a 20C drop baby! :D
 

ReconSniper

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I have never replaced thermal compound except when I switched HSF. I usually only keep hardware a max of two years before upgrading anyways.
 

Direfox

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Generally I redo my thermal compound yearly. However this last build I have been lazy and haven't changed the paste on the video cards at all, and the CPU only once since building the whole thing. :(
 

auntjemima

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I NEVER change it.

A while ago I decided to change the paste on my old 8800gtx and the card was never the same. I didn't realise that the VRAM used pads and the heatsink was gapped from them. The cost of replacement didn't make any sense considering the cards age.

Never again.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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Never. If the card or component isn't getting hot enough for me to worry, what's the point?

Ultimately the point of thermal compound is to increase heat conductivity. Nothing else. If there's no heat increase to worry about, then why would I go out of my way to replace it?
 

Nebulous

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If it's a new video card I rarely do unless I have temp issues. If it's a used card then I'll swap out the TIM as soon I receive it or when I swap heatsinks/waterblocks.
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
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I'll only check it and replace it if the temp goes up.
My 3770K has been running fine 24/7 for almost 4 years now.
 

skiddierow

Limp Gawd
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Properly applied shouldn't have to mess with it for 4-5 years. The real issue is keeping those heatsinks clean for average people.
 
S

sonsonate

Guest
Only when changing or removing heatsinks for a complete cleanup where I sit and air and wipe or brush off each fin on a heatsink, lol, or when temps are getting out of hand.
 

fdiaz78

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Generally I redo my thermal compound yearly. However this last build I have been lazy and haven't changed the paste on the video cards at all, and the CPU only once since building the whole thing. :(

Overkill for so little benefit.
 

Yakk

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CPU, only when I first install them.

Video cards I vacuum the fan and fins on blower cards yearly. Don't bother with custom fan cards.

On my heaviest use mining/DC cards back in the day I would change the compound after 2 years of 24/7 operation.

Regular Gaming won't put enough stress to do much to the compound over the coarse of the card's lifetime.
 

Evil Scooter

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For just scheduled maintenance... never. Ain't broke, dont fix it. Most TIMs today should outlive your build or desire to upgrade. I've got a 486dx4~120? in the garage that I have owned since the mid 90's..... same TIM. :p
 

Mchart

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Overkill for so little benefit.

I would say there is zero benefit as even if you are following good practices for removing the old stuff you are still taking a risk during removal every time. All the physical interaction likely has more detriment then the slightly higher heat does.
 

Nebulous

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Have you ever seen that glob of mess, or lack thereof, the manufacturers put on? I've purchased new video cards that the temps where horrible. They either put too much on or not enough.

Never a dull moment when I remove the stock cooler.
 

Evil Scooter

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Have you ever seen that glob of mess, or lack thereof, the manufacturers put on? I've purchased new video cards that the temps where horrible. They either put too much on or not enough.

Never a dull moment when I remove the stock cooler.

Of late they seem to be doing much better. Unless I am putting something on water or are having heat issues I leave it be.
 

Slystealth

Gawd
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Every 2 years or when temps are not in safe zone anymore. This is IMO though. Remember to get premium paste as it lasts longer and has better temps
 

polonyc2

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never...only when I install new hardware...I think my CPU is 5+ years strong with no thermal compound change
 

NukeULater

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I only change it when if the heatsink is swapped or reinstalled for whatever reason. There is no point otherwise. Some of my systems are 10+ years old with the same thermal compound.
 

horrorshow

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never...only when I install new hardware...I think my CPU is 5+ years strong with no thermal compound change

This.

I do fire up HWiNFO64 about once a month just to double check all my temps.

Still solid since Nov. '09.
 

Matthew Kane

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CPU? Never unless I'm changing CPU or HSF.

For video card, after warranty ends I rip off the stock cooler and get rid of the shit stock paste and put a bit of my own I use on my cpu, always see a good 20-30% drop in IDLE and LOAD temps after new paste.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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Why is this topic even in the Nvidia forum specifically, anyway? This isn't really specific to Nvidia cards, or even graphics cards at all. It should be in General Hardware...
 

cageymaru

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I change the thermal paste on my video card every 2 years as my computer never cuts off. Seems that even the best thermal paste lasts about that long under those conditions. A better question is where do you get replacement fans as they seem to only last 2.5 years. I also wish this topic was in a more general section of the website. Maybe move it to the Video Cards section in general as thermal paste doesn't discriminate if it's AMD, Nvidia or Intel.
 

magoo

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Averages out to about 18 months.....which is my upgrade cycle usually.

I don't do this intentionally, it's just that everything is watercooled, so the sinks get changed to blocks on the new GPUs and while I'm there so does the water and the CPU TIM.;)
 

defaultluser

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I used to do it more often, but that was before we had real-time temperature monitoring. There's no point if the temperatures are still fine.

Also, my first 3D graphics card didn't have a heatsink. I did buy a fan for it for it though, and just pointed it at the card (since the PCB WAS the heatsink).

In a ten year span we went from generic zinc oxide paste tech to high-end non-conductive paste. It didn't take long for tech to catch up with increasing energy density, so I don't worry about it :D
 
Last edited:

alxlwson

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Why is this topic even in the Nvidia forum specifically, anyway? This isn't really specific to Nvidia cards, or even graphics cards at all. It should be in General Hardware...

Way to add to the conversation! Aspirations to be a mod?


On-topic: I always change my TIM when I get a new video card. Manufacturers can't deny your warranty unless they can prove that the change you made caused the failure. This falls under the precedent set by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that spured in the automotive industry.

I change cpu TIM usually once a year. I strip my chassis bare for cleaning and new ideas for wire hiding, and that has involved AIO or open-loop systems since 2004. Prior to IHS, once that cooler was locked down, it didnt come off except for parts changes. Cracked dies were expensive!
 

ep0x73

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I apply to CPU when installing and never again, never any issues.
I have a 12+ still working cool and another 7+ with 65K hours on the same AC3 and it runs chilly.

My 7+ 8800gts with the same 65K hours I replaced the TIM with ceramique when new on the chip and ram.
The temps dropped a good 15-20F. Still rock solid.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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Way to add to the conversation! Aspirations to be a mod?

Yes, I'm sure that my observation about a very general hardware question being more suited to a General Hardware forum makes me automatically have aspirations to be a mod. Way to add make a very valid rebuttal. Almost like you're being snippy for the hell of it. Aspirations to be a hipster?

FYI I purely meant it from the standpoint of getting more results (and perhaps more interesting ones). It just doesn't make sense for this topic to be here. And another FYI, although I doubt you read much in this thread as is, I've already responded to the topic directly some number of posts ago. This was a side though.
 

alxlwson

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Yes, I'm sure that my observation about a very general hardware question being more suited to a General Hardware forum makes me automatically have aspirations to be a mod. Way to add make a very valid rebuttal. Almost like you're being snippy for the hell of it. Aspirations to be a hipster?

FYI I purely meant it from the standpoint of getting more results (and perhaps more interesting ones). It just doesn't make sense for this topic to be here. And another FYI, although I doubt you read much in this thread as is, I've already responded to the topic directly some number of posts ago. This was a side though.


Lol hipster.

Also, I don't pay any attention as to whom posts what. I've been reading this forum for years and couldn't even guess at four usernames. So, with that being said, I wouldn't have known if you had or hadn't posted earlier in the thread, even though I've followed it from first post. I guess you want to be remembered... So many people here have a very strong "ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME, REMEMBER ME" mindset. I shan't give you the satisfaction.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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Lol hipster.

Also, I don't pay any attention as to whom posts what. I've been reading this forum for years and couldn't even guess at four usernames. So, with that being said, I wouldn't have known if you had or hadn't posted earlier in the thread, even though I've followed it from first post. I guess you want to be remembered... So many people here have a very strong "ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME, REMEMBER ME" mindset. I shan't give you the satisfaction.

Although your impression of me is funny (is that even an uncommon mindset among forum posters anyway? >_>)... The point is you implied that I never added to the part of the conversation that you consider valid. That is, the immediate topic. Yet you never verified this fact by trivially searching for my name within the topic (in a 2 page topic...). That's lazy and ignorant.

And either way, if you're going to contribute what is essentially drivel to a slightly on the side, you're not contributing much in either way.

Well, people like you are what my blacklist is for. Ciao.
 

a3venom

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It is proven time and again that cheap to premium thermal compound or repasting offers no tangible benefit but might make you feel good provided the original application was done properly.
I ended up repasting my GPU because i tried to put a new cooler, failed and then had to put old one back again. Didnt make even a teeny tiny bit difference and the old compound was there for 2 years atleast not even covering the entire Die nicely.
 

ChosenUno

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It is proven time and again that cheap to premium thermal compound or repasting offers no tangible benefit but might make you feel good provided the original application was done properly.
I ended up repasting my GPU because i tried to put a new cooler, failed and then had to put old one back again. Didnt make even a teeny tiny bit difference and the old compound was there for 2 years atleast not even covering the entire Die nicely.

It's proven time and again that most OEMs don't give a crap about TIM application :p

I've never seen a GPU with a decent TIM application, ever.
 

spine

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If you're on the very bleeding edge of an overclock, which personally I routinely am, then you will need to replace your TIM at least twice a year.


All TIMs get worse over time. It's unavoidable outside of a fully soldered joint, and even then, we see the fluxless BBGA joints on ram chips go bad over time (why baking video cards/laptop mobos works). Arctic Silver, all silver variants, are the worst from my experience. That said, their Ceramique will outlast most other performance TIMs, but it's own performance is so mediocre to begin with it's a moot point. :p


A special note for overclocked graphics cards: Over time you'll eventually begin noticing memory related artifacts. Re-seating the heatsink here fixes it because it's not the ram chips themselves, but the IMC on the GPU that's no longer cooled properly, and so re-doing the TIM joint improves this and thus fixes the memory errors. Pro tip! ;)
 

magoo

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It is proven time and again that cheap to premium thermal compound or repasting offers no tangible benefit but might make you feel good provided the original application was done properly.
I ended up repasting my GPU because i tried to put a new cooler, failed and then had to put old one back again. Didnt make even a teeny tiny bit difference and the old compound was there for 2 years atleast not even covering the entire Die nicely.

That is not exactly true.
There are numerous "round-ups" published all over the place comparing TIM products.
There are a few that are superior to others.
Even peanut butter and marshmellow have been tried for fun.

As far as re-application goes, I don't think under most circumstances it makes a difference.

As I stated earlier, I generally re-apply when I upgrade other components, and of course when I put on waterblocks it's obligatory.
 

Matthew Kane

Supreme [H]ardness
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I'm in love with the NT-H1 I recently purchased for few dollars which gave me slight bit better temps under load then the more expensive AS5 I was using. Highly recommended for anybody about to re-paste.
 

MangoSeed

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Never. Replacing thermal paste used to be big back in the day but it was mostly hype (as usual).
 
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