Consistency of thermal paste after 2+ years in use?

i've had my p4 3.4 EE for just over 2 years now. I bought the motherboard/CPU from monarch and had them apply the thermal compound and mount the CPU. It was a while ago so i don't remember exactly but it was something like arctic silver 3.

anyways today I took my rig apart today and unmounted the CPU to apply a new coat of paste. i wasn't very impressed by what i saw of the compound that was there. when i went to remove it from the heatsink, pieces of it broke off in chunks. when i worked those pieces through my fingers they would crack and seemed quite brittle, breaking down into the consistancy of sand with little effort.

the paste left on the processor seemed very hard, almost like glue. it took quite some effort with q-tip's/rubbing alcohol to get it off. is this simply part of the settling process?

is this what i should have expected to see after a bit over 2 years of use? tx
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More about consistency thermal paste years
  1. Yes AS3 and AS5 will dry out over time as will any thermal compound, especially 2yrs, what caught my eye in your post was your explanation of the consistency or thickness of the application.

    Use just a thin layer of any thermal compound, its only purpose is to fill the micro imperfections between the heatsink and CPU die, and that doesn't take much at all to do, too much acts as an insulator rather than a conductor of the heat.
  2. yeh i didn't apply the compound two years ago... i bought it from monarch and had them apply it and mount the CPU on the MB for me. i definitely think they put on too much cause there was a layer from end to end on the CPU and the chunks i picked off from the heatsink were definitely overflow from the application on the CPU

    there were even some chunks on some of the bottom fins of the heatsink which i had to pick out with a toothpick


    i'm very new to applying thermal compound and have been practicing with the past few applications i've done... i'll put a very tiny ammount on the processor, mount the heatsink and lock it down, then take the whole thing apart to see how evenly it spread... then i clean it and re-apply so i know what the exact right amount should be.
  3. Quote:
    i'm very new to applying thermal compound and have been practicing with the past few applications i've done... i'll put a very tiny ammount on the processor, mount the heatsink and lock it down, then take the whole thing apart to see how evenly it spread... then i clean it and re-apply so i know what the exact right amount should be.



    Thats excellent I do the same thing!

    Heres a tip for you: CRC QD Electronic Cleaner, its a spray can with focusing tip and it will clean off old thermal residue to the point it looks factory fresh, you can find it at pretty much any local Auto Parts store, make sure you get the Electronic Cleaner, its designed not to hurt plastics and substrates, it will clean in seconds what takes minutes with rubbing alcohol and Qtips.

    If you use a lot of it, it will almost freeze the surface its so cold and will cause water droplets to accumulate, [same principle as a glass of ice water forming water on the outside of the glass], I usaully blow dry the part afterward to remove any condensation with a blow dryer on low temp.

    CRC QD Electronic Cleaner is flammable, use it outside the house and don't smoke while using it.

    If you ever use it the first time you will use it again, I keep a can on hand all the time now, theres nothing faster for cleaning CPUs, GPUs, and Heatsinks of old thermal compound.
  4. I personally use ArcticClean to remove old paste and it works great. Using it, I've removed a suprisingly large amount of paste from heatsinks already cleaned with alcohol. ArcticClean also leaves the room in which you use it citrus fresh . :)

    By the way, I applied Arctic Silver 5 to my CNPS-7700Cu about 15 months ago. Should I wait until my CPU shows high temperatures to replace it or is it dried out already and needs replacing?
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