Recently the GPU on my ASUS notebook computer suffered a slow miserable thermal death. Usually I am a bit squeamish about digging into a notebook or my Mac Mini. This thing was now basically a doorstop – so I decided to throw caution to the wind and dig in.
It turns out that for this particular machine being squeamish isn’t really required. It was fairly easy to get access to the innards and pull out the graphics board. To my dismay the thermal paste on the chip had dried to a crumbly afterthought.
A few days later I was breaking down an old computer. After pulling the heatsink off of the CPU I saw the same sad remains of thermal grease.
A few web searches confirmed my hunch. Periodic freshening the thermal grease on your CPUs and GPUs is a good idea. I’ve been a big fan of cleaning and/or replacing cooling fans (pun intended) but for some reason it never dawned on me to deal with the grease as well.
How often should you replace the thermal grease on your processors and heat-sinks? For the average user once a year or so. If you overclock your CPUs and GPUs you might need to change it every few months.
Lesson learned. I added a tube of Arctic Silver 5 to my last Newegg.com order.