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Dried up thermal paste or no thermal paste?

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#1
Hi, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I only have a used Intel stock cooler with several day old thermal paste that looks to be dried up. I need to show my client that his computer works. Would I be better off with no thermal paste (cleaned with alcohol) or using that old thermal paste?
 

erocker

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#2
Unfortunately neither will work and the system may crash while showing it off to your client. Get some new paste.
 
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#3
I would say neither, but some thermal paste is better than nothing. You risk damaging his computer if you do either option. If your goal is to show his computer works I would make sure you actually achieve that goal. :) Play it safe!
 

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#4
If it is only a couple of days, I would see no issues in reusing the older TIM. My issue is the thought of it actually drying out that fast in the first place.
 

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#5
Depends how dried out it is. If it is just a hard/powdery substance, no good. If it has some pliability left in it, it should work.
 

Random Murderer

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#6
It's overpriced as hell, but if you're in a pinch you could always grab some AS5 or Ceramique from RadioShack.
 

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#7
Depends how dried out it is. If it is just a hard/powdery substance, no good. If it has some pliability left in it, it should work.
Oh I agree, I just can't see that happening, I mean I have kept stock coolers in the box for a year and the TIM was still usable. Just seems strange.
 

cadaveca

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#8
Oh I agree, I just can't see that happening, I mean I have kept stock coolers in the box for a year and the TIM was still usable. Just seems strange.
+1. Stock paste will always seem dried-out if compared to, say, MX4 or similar. I've re-used paste on stock heatsinks more than once, a few days, OK, but not optimal, but after a couple of weeks, it becomes even more questionable...but I've still done it. :p
 
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#9
use old paste dab your finger on it with a drop of mineral oil to moisten it till you get some fresh paste.
 
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#10
ok ok, wait a sec. Can't you humidify the old paste somehow to make it good enough to use it?

Or just use toothpaste or mustard. As seen on youtube!! :)

If nothing works, disable CPU speed management (thus set it to a fixed high speed) or downclock the CPU...
 
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#11
+1. Stock paste will always seem dried-out if compared to, say, MX4 or similar. I've re-used paste on stock heatsinks more than once, a few days, OK, but not optimal, but after a couple of weeks, it becomes even more questionable...but I've still done it. :p
This, not the best thing to do but works like a charm even with several reuse :toast:
 
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#12
The point of thermal paste is to create a complete contact, given that both metal surfaces are not perfectly flat. To that end you've got two options:

1) You need a 20-30 minute demonstration, and will put good paste on later.
Try a small amount of oil. Heavier silicon based oils will make the paste somewhat motile for a short time (just use the oil extremely sparingly!!!). This isn't going to work long term, but it will allow you to hobble through a demonstration.

2) You're just trying to get this thing done, and out your door.
Neither option. Spend the money at Radioshack, or a local equivalent. Dried paste doesn't form a bond, and no paste forms such a poor bond that overheating is in your near future.
 

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#13
Since you pulled the heatsink off you have to replace that thermal paste. Clean the CPu and heatsink off using Rubbing Alcohol and get a Tube of AS5 or even Antecs stuff and apply it per directions. When in doubt change it.
 

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#14
you aren't gonna kill anything by running it with old paste modern pastes are fairly resilient unlike the older plastic goop they used to slander on pre pentium 4 chips just make sure you change it before it goes out the door
 

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#15
you aren't gonna kill anything by running it with old paste modern pastes are fairly resilient unlike the older plastic goop they used to slander on pre pentium 4 chips just make sure you change it before it goes out the door
erm P4s used that same crap
 
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#16
use old paste dab your finger on it with a drop of mineral oil to moisten it till you get some fresh paste
i have done this once...paste was powder dry so i just give it a drop of oil and mixed it nicely and it actualy work'd!well i dont know how it is holding now after few months..,i never heard from that guy i fix his pc! :eek: