Does thermal paste go off?

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Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:35 am

I've had a tube of Artic MX-2 thermal paste for a couple of years and was wondering whether it would still be ok to use or whether it has gone "off" in some way.

Also, I know that MX-4 is now available. What is the difference?
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:01 am

Some Thermal Interface Material or TIM's do dry up and/or loose effectiveness after a couple years.
But i would only replace the TIM if you notice that your CPU is running at a hotter temperature then it normally ran at. Also make sure your heat sink has no dust at all lodged in it and make sure your fans are running at the same rpms as before. Fans can loose RPM's when dust gets inside the motor brushes and you also have bearing wear. Also make sure you have the same case ventilation as before.

As for artic MX-4 it should work fine, probably a little better the MX-2. But if you have a tube of MX-2 with some left in it I would just use that instead of purchasing any new TIM...........all the quality TIM's perform within a degree or 2 of each other so it does not matter much what you use. You actually could use some mayonaise or lipstick "the shimmery/glittery the better" in a pinch :P

EDIT: Yes if it is still in the tube and is not all dried up it will be fine. I would push out 1 match head worth or 2 "2 match heads only if you have enough" of it onto a paper towel. Then use the tube it will work just fine.

It's highly Doubtful but if uyou go to put a match heads worth on a paper towel and you notice it separated and is not mixed anymore then I would buy a new tube, or push out what is left and remix it thoroughly then apply.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:10 am

Yeah, it may have separated somewhat while sitting in the tube, but as long as the tube was closed tightly and it isn't dried out it should still be fine. If the consistency seems about right, go ahead and use it.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:06 am

I am still using the Arctic Ceramique from the Athlon XP-M days. Almost done with it and I have bought a tube of MX-4 standing by.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:37 am

all the quality TIM's perform within a degree or 2 of each other so it does not matter much what you use. You actually could use some mayonaise


Mayonnaise? That's going to smell pretty rancid after a couple hours... Please, not mayonnaise, anything but mayonnaise.

or lipstick "the shimmery/glittery the better" in a pinch


Keep a lot of that in your desk drawer, do you ?
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:04 am

mnecaise wrote:Mayonnaise? That's going to smell pretty rancid after a couple hours... Please, not mayonnaise, anything but mayonnaise.

OK, how about Vegemite?

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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:37 pm

Vegemite... Haven't had any of that in a long time. Looks like it would be a better choice.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:54 pm

Vegemite is neither food nor edible, so it's probably OK.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:06 pm

bthylafh wrote:Vegemite is neither food nor edible, so it's probably OK.

Dan got pretty good thermal transfer out of it as well.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks for the advice. I tested a little of the MX-2 and it looked just fine so I went ahead and used that. Considered using marmite (which is the UK equivalent of vegemite) but decided to have it on toast instead. :)

I remember back when I last used the thermal paste that I didn't have a clue what I was doing and wanted to clean it all up and do it again. That done I've been recording temperatures today to get a baseline before I fit a new cooler (CM212 EVO) and then go on to overclock.

I'm running an old Q6600 rev B3 from 2007 and this sucker runs hot on even the stock 2.4GHz. Temps on the 4 cores where 71, 71, 65, 64 after 10 mins of Prime95. Believe it or not this CPU keeps up with most modern games until you push player counts or map sizes. BF3 on a TDM map with 40 players give me 60fps. Conquest large on 64 player is another matter entirely, more like 15fps and totally unplayable.

I keep the inside of my case and the dust filters very clean so its cooling about as well as it can with my current fans. I'm planning on changing those out for better one's soon though.
Last edited by UltraFlynn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:21 pm

Vegemite is neither food nor edible, so it's probably OK.


My Kiwi and Aussie relatives would argue that it's a staple, almost as important as, say, beer. But I don't normally eat the stuff so that's as far as I'll argue the point.
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Re: Does thermal paste go off?

Postposted on Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:10 pm

bthylafh wrote:Vegemite is neither food nor edible, so it's probably OK.


ketchup is a good one. :p
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