Opened laptop and the thermal paste is rock dry, should I leave it there or clean it until I can buy some?

Anibaaal

Estimable
Jan 4, 2015
1
0
4,510
0
I just opened my laptop to clean the fan (kinda dumb from me) and the thermal paste is dry, I haven't ever changed it since I got this laptop 6 years ago. The problem is I can't buy thermal paste until two more days and I have to use my laptop now, should I leave the dry paste there or clean it? This is just until I can buy new paste.
Thanks
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
If you've gotten to the point where you can see the paste enough to tell it is dried out...you need to clean and replace.

Right now, you have no good options.
Clean and leave with no paste? Bad.
Put it back together with the dried gunk? Also bad.
 

Nerdy Nerd

Commendable
Mar 19, 2016
56
0
1,610
10
Dry paste is better than no paste in my opinion, leave there until you get your new paste. Either way though it might over heat as idk what your temps are.
 

SkyNetRising

Estimable
Jan 4, 2016
372
0
5,210
83
Dry paste actually is worse than no paste at all.
Clean the old paste and temporary you can use a tooth paste - it will dry out rather quickly, but for a day or two it will be ok.
 

Nerdy Nerd

Commendable
Mar 19, 2016
56
0
1,610
10
When I google that question it actually says dried up thermal paste is better than no thermal paste unless it is like a powdery substance, then neither are any good. Can you provide a link or proof that no thermal paste is better than dried?
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
If you've gotten to the point where you can see the paste enough to tell it is dried out...you need to clean and replace.

Right now, you have no good options.
Clean and leave with no paste? Bad.
Put it back together with the dried gunk? Also bad.
 

SkyNetRising

Estimable
Jan 4, 2016
372
0
5,210
83

Main purpose of TIM is filling micro-cracks and conducting heat away from heat source (cpu).
With dried up thermal paste heat conductivity is not so good anymore. Basically you're having a thin layer of bad heat conductor (insulator) between cpu and heatsink .
So ask yourself again - what heat transfer is better - with dried up thermal paste or without it?
 

Nerdy Nerd

Commendable
Mar 19, 2016
56
0
1,610
10
I know why its bad, lol, I just think neither is good but leaving old dry up is better than none cause with none then there is metal on metal contact. System may overheat faster without old thermal paste. So can you provide a link or something as evidence to suggest no thermal paste is better than dried. Remember metal on metal not good either or whatever the plates are made out of.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


Either way, it will almost certainly reach throttling temperature.
Old dried gunk or none.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


Right.
But if it takes 5 minutes with none, or 10 minutes with old dried gunk....really makes no difference in the grand scheme of things, if he is actually using it.
 

BFG-9000

Respectable
Sep 17, 2016
167
0
2,010
65
Just put a drop of a mineral oil such as baby oil or motor oil on it to redissolve the dried paste.

In those thermal paste shootouts, mayonnaise proved to be one of the highest performance TIMs because it's 50% vegetable oil. Of course it only lasts a week because repeated thermal cycling will pump the oil out but that's long enough for you. I would not suggest vegetable oil though because it oxidizes rapidly and leaves a sticky varnish to clean off later.

BTW chocolate proved to be the worst paste ever because it immediately burned into a carbon filled thermal insulator.
 
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