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Does thermal paste expire?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a large tube of AS5 that I've been using at least 6 years. I haven't built any computer in the last 1 year, and as far as I recalled, it still performed fine a year ago.

I built a i7 2600k + Thermalright Venomous X setup today, and again I was using my trusty AS5 (I know it's outdated, but it's not a bad performer by any mean). My PC ended up idle at 47C! I thought I might had applied too much AS5, so I cleaned it up and reapplied it. Still 4xC IDEL at 1.6Ghz! Removed the heatsink, I could see that the AS5 was evenly and thinly spread, so I don't think I had applied it incorrectly. Afterall I had built a number of PC with the AS5 without any problem before.

Puzzled, I tried instead the Chill Factor 3 that comes with the Venomous X. Wow, big difference. 2xC idel. I know that the AS5 is an old product, but it can't be this bad. I mean, people said that the CF3 is a better paste, but that's at most 2-3C better in the best case scenario. So I guess the tube of AS5 that I have has expired eh?


Btw, how are the cores on the i7 aligned? And how do you apply thermal paste to it? Following the instruction on artic silver website, I applied a thin vertical line (I did the same for both AS5 and CF3) to the middle of the CPU, with the arrow at the lower left corner. This worked fine with my Q6600 before (horizontal line with Core 2 Quad), but on the i7 2600k, the temp on core 1 and core 3 are consistely 5-10C higher than core 0 and core 3. Obviously something isn't right...
Edited by khtse - 3/26/11 at 2:35am
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post #2 of 10
I dont really 'expire' if it hasn't been exposed. It will be fine to use. AS5 also has a cure time of a recommended 200 hours, that is before it really starts kicking in doing its job. It will be fine to use, I'd rather use MX-4 though now
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know the AS5 has a long cure time, but not this 20C difference!
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post #4 of 10
I think he wants to know how long can thermal paste last? Especially Artic Silver 5? That's a good question.
post #5 of 10
I know my Zalman thermal paste only lasted about a year before it went really thick and gave me horrible temps
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post #6 of 10
They recommend to store it tip side of the syringe down, and also the cooler its kept the better as far as separation goes. So keep it in the back of the fridge tip side down, should last many years.
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post #7 of 10
Arctic Silver 5 separates into different consistencies. After all, they claim there's 3 different types of silver, or something like that - right?
Try shaking it or pumping the syringe in and out to mix it up again.
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post #8 of 10
Yes, thermal paste can expire. Old tubes of crap thermal paste I own are now visibly separated into materials of different consistency, and they've been sitting in the tube unused since I've received them.

I think it's fair to say 6 years is far too long to have "fresh" paste. Just buy a tube of something better, and don't get a huge amount unless you build computers often or reseat often.
    
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post #9 of 10
As long as it doesn't dry I think, it should be good.
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post #10 of 10
The AS5 may have been separated and you could not tell, so maybe it did go bad. Who knows? Who cares!? You have a tube of Chill Factor!

The best way to apply TIM is the dot in the middle. Heat, pressure, and time will do the rest of the work for you.
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