Question Dried thermal paste

May 22, 2019
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I had to remove my Ryzen 5 to update my BIOS, so the thermal paste has dried on it, but I put my CPU in a container and closed it tight, so that dust wouldnt get on the paste. Can I leave the paste on and keep use it like that? Or do I have to clean it and get new paste on?
 

DMAN999

Respectable
Apr 17, 2019
1,765
443
1,890
65
Both of the replies above are correct.
I will just add that you should use 90-99% Isopropyl Alcohol and paper coffee filters to remove the old thermal paste from the CPU and Cooler.
And be sure to take your time and handle the CPU carefully so that you don't damage it/bend any pins while cleaning it.
I personally recommend that you put the CPU in the motherboard socket and lock the retaining rod before cleaning it.
Also apply the Isopropyl Alcohol to the coffee filter and not directly to the CPU.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Most thermal pastes use silicone oil as the suspension solution and technically never dries. All it does is slowly ooze out of the paste as whatever particles are suspended in the oil pack tighter together over time.

Most factory-applied pastes look "dry" because they contain much less oil. Aftermarket pastes have higher oil content to facilitate application out of syringes or squeeze-tubes while factory-applied paste only have as much oil as necessary to keep the particles in place which gives them their clay-like feel.

In any case, you generally cannot reuse paste, especially the clay-like factory stuff.
 

Mrgr74

Proper
Sep 2, 2019
121
27
140
7
Both of the replies above are correct.
I will just add that you should use 90-99% Isopropyl Alcohol and paper coffee filters to remove the old thermal paste from the CPU and Cooler.
And be sure to take your time and handle the CPU carefully so that you don't damage it/bend any pins while cleaning it.
I personally recommend that you put the CPU in the motherboard socket and lock the retaining rod before cleaning it.
Also apply the Isopropyl Alcohol to the coffee filter and not directly to the CPU.
Good point in regards to the Isopropyl as well as the coffee filters. The filters don't leave behind any "fibers" that paper towels/TP/cloth tend to, (not that you cant "dust" them off but still) while at the same time still providing a good "rough" surface to remove any excess old paste as well as being still soft enough at the same time.

To the original poster - Forgot to mention that both the CPU & bottom of the heat sink need to be cleaned & not just the CPU. However, only apply the thermal paste to the CPU itself & not the heat sink as well.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I wouldn't worry that much about leftover fibers. Unless you throw a whole dust bunny in there (which is to say a clearly visible lump of dust), a little dust won't make much of a difference, especially if you aren't aiming for extreme overclocking where 1-2C less might actually matter..
 
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