Is Thermal Paste Important?

What happens to a processor if no thermal paste is present?

Steve Smith talks about thermal paste, and why it is important to processors.

Episode #5-07 released on October 23, 2014

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Nothing good. It seems to be a frequently asked question, and one that is usually not tested or responded to accurately.

First, as I have previously explained, the thermal paste allows for the efficient transfer of heat from the processor to the heat sink. Why is this important? Because processors that overheat usually step down in power, known as throttling, which reduces the overall performance of a computer. This is an event that is immediately apparent to users that do high performance tasks or gamers. This will not be readily apparent in computers that are not pushed to their limits.

Second, most people will give you the scary story of how a processor will instantly fail. While it is possible, and in some cases true, it does not occur often enough. Usually instant, or near instant failure occurs with the heat sink not being installed correctly.

Thirdly, the damage that will occur from overheating can happen anyway if the computer is not being cooled properly, regardless of thermal paste use or not. Again, not readily apparent to light task users.

Processors that are subjected to higher temperatures will be damaged over time, and the higher the temperature the shorter the overall life span for the processor. Thermal damage is nothing new, and is certainly not unique to processors, it affects all sorts of electronics, and many of us have seen other types of electronics fail.

In short, if you don't use thermal paste, your processor will be damaged by heat over time reducing its longevity, how long it lasts depends on the tasks you do, and the heat the CPU ultimately gets exposed to.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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