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When to re-apply thermal paste>

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July 15, 2012 6:11:15 PM

Hello tom's hardware. My question is, if I'm removing my heatsink, and re-installing the SAME heatsink (different MOBO, same CPU) do I need to remove the thermal paste and re-apply it? It's only been on for about a week.

Thanks.

More about : apply thermal paste

July 15, 2012 6:13:43 PM

yes
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July 15, 2012 6:27:49 PM

A perfectionist would clean the old off and reapply new. But in reality, you can usually get away with re-installing it as is if it has been that short of a period of time. If you don't have any on hand, try it and run a stress test like Prime95 and see what happens to the temps. If they rise too high, shut down and clean/apply new. But, if you have TIM available, there's no reason not to apply new.
July 15, 2012 6:37:34 PM

Read the thermal paste removal guide in my sig.
July 15, 2012 8:35:21 PM



Okay, the first link doesn't say (it says to clean if you're getting a new heatsink, but not what to do if you're re-installing a old heatsink).

The second (non-video) link says "every 2 to 3 years" so that's not what I'm looking for.

The third says to re-apply always, because you might get bubbles, but that's with non-spread thermal paste, so it's a bit of a different situation.

The next two are "how-to apply thermal paste".

The one after that is again, after 2 or 3 years...

And then the one after that is... this page.

So yeah that didn't really help much.

@amuffin

So, does that mean you're suggesting I do re-apply? I'd just rather not because I'm a wuss, and because I'm not sure I have enough thermal grease/paste/insulating material left for another application. How dangerous is the procedure - how easy is it to break the CPU doing it? I'm always shaky handling that thing!
July 15, 2012 8:52:28 PM

Whenever you remove a heatsink, you want to re-apply paste!
July 15, 2012 9:18:04 PM

amuffin said:
Whenever you remove a heatsink, you want to re-apply paste!


Okay then. I guess I'll order some AS5 just to be safe.
July 19, 2012 5:45:14 PM

Envirobear2000 said:
How dangerous is the procedure - how easy is it to break the CPU doing it? I'm always shaky handling that thing!


The procedure itself is fairly low risk. Just don't drop the thing, touch the pins, wear a grounding strap, etc. I've been able to perform the procedure several times when switching between processors.. frequently. (I used up 2 tubes of paste, total. The new processor still works fine)
!