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How long does thermal paste last?

Like all things, thermal paste will not last forever. it has a shelf life, beyond which its performance deteriorates rapidly. Lots of manufacturers state that their thermal paste will last between 3-5 years but this can vary massively depending on your use conditions. Join us as we dive in and investigate why your thermal paste may last more or less than the manufacturer’s guidelines.

What is thermal paste?

Thermal paste is a thermal compound which sits between your CPU cooler and your CPU. I know, I know, it isn’t just used on CPU’s but this is the use case where most casual users will come across thermal paste. It can in fact be used in any situation where a heat spreader or heat sink is used.

The idea of thermal paste is that it is a great thermal compound which allows heat to pass very efficiently from your component into a cooler or heat sink. This helps to reduce the temperature of your components as efficiently as possible.

How to tell if your thermal paste needs to be replaced

If you have found an old tube of thermal paste lurking at the back of a drawer and are wondering if it is still good then we have a few quick tests you can do to see if it has expired. First of all, squeeze a little out and check the consistency, if it is too hard or goes the other way and is really watery and runny then don’t use it.

In most cases it will be worth your while to just buy a new tube of thermal paste, the stuff isn’t expensive and can make a massive difference to the cooling performance of your CPU.

How often should I replace the thermal paste on my CPU?

To be perfectly honest I have never had to replace the thermal paste on my computer. Whether this is down to constant upgrades or the fact that it just doesn’t need to be done that often is up for debate. I would not say there is a strict time guideline where you need to replace the thermal paste after so many years. Rather look at the thermal performance of your CPU. Keep an eye on your temps and if you notice your CPU getting warmer as the years roll by or suddenly start spiking then it may be time to replace the thermal paste.

I wouldn’t get into the habit of changing the paste for the sake of it as every time you do it you risk damaging components. I know this is only a small risk but if your some kind of madman that likes to change the thermal compound every few months then you are massively raising the chances you will do something stupid and damage your CPU.

Thermal pads

A lot of high-quality coolers will now include thermal pads so you don’t need paste at all. These pads come already attached to the cooler so you don’t really need to do anything. You can also purchase these pads to use to connect the metal base of any cooler you like. The advantage of thermal pads is that they are perfectly spread and don’t allow for imperfections in the application of thermal paste.

FAQ’s

Does thermal paste wear out?

Yes, it will wear out over time. This can vary depending on a lot of factors so I just like to look out for a reduction in cooling performance, this can be a good sign that your thermal paste may have expired and it is time to replace it.

What happens if you don’t use thermal paste?

This depends on the application but it is probably going to be a large problem. Both the metal on the bottom of your cooler and the top of your CPU or GPU will have imperfections. Because of this when they are mounted together there will be gaps, leading to poor heat transfer. therefore your components will overheat, probably very quickly!

Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean thermal paste?

Yes, in fact, this is the way I would recommend. Alcohol cleaners are great for cleaning computer components as the alcohol will evaporate so you don’t need to worry about getting your computer wet and causing damage.

Can you use too much thermal paste?

Again yes, you definitely can. Applying the correct amount of thermal paste is crucial to extracting the most efficient performance out of your cooler.

How much difference will applying thermal past make to an overheating laptop?

this depends on why the laptop is over heating. Applying new paste is a quick and easy method to try so it is worthwhile trying first and seeing what effect it has. If the root cause of the overheating is poor paste then this will obviously make a huge difference. However, there is a good chance the problem lies elsewhere and therefore it may not have much of an impact at all. However due to the low cost of thermal paste this definitely something I would recommend trying.

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Best Gandalf Quotes From The Hobbit

Gandalf is almost certainly one of the most likeable characters in both the lord of the rings and the hobbit. Gandalf the grey, as he is throughout The Hobbit and part of The Lord of The Rings is known for cracking great quips and quotes. Here we have gathered together some of the best Gandalf quotes from the hobbit movies, so settle in for some high-quality wizarding one-liners. While you are here why not check out our other LOTR posts, such as why does frodo become invisible? and why does frodos sword glow blue?

Gandalf Quotes From An Unexpected Journey

 

“True courage is knowing not how to take a life, but when to spare it.”

 

“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.”

 

“The world is not in your maps and books. It’s out there.”

 

“Home is now behind you… The world is ahead.”

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Why does Frodo’s sword glow blue?

Why does fordos sword glow blue

Anyone familiar with the Lord of the Rings films or books will know that Frodo’s sword, sting, glows blue whenever orcs or goblins are near. But why does Frodo’s sword glow blue? What gives it this magical property.

Sting

Frodo’s famous sword, an Elven dagger created during the first age, long before the events of the Lord of the Rings. The blade was forged by the famous weapon smiths of Gondolin. Little of the history of the blade is known but it is speculated that the blade was lost during the Fall of Gondolin. How exactly the blade came to be in a cave troll where it was then discovered by Bilbo is completely unknown. Bilbo then gifted the weapon to Frodo before he embarked on his quest.

Why does it glow blue?

The simple answer is that Elvish swords were made to glow around orcs and goblins, as this passage from the books explains:

“being the work of Elvish smiths in the Elder Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand.” 

Note here how the swords shine with a cold light, the only sword described as having a blue light specifically is Sting although we can determine that a cold light probably infers a blue hue.

Do all Elvish blades glow?

No, simply put not all Elvish blades are known to glow in the presence of Orcs. While it is true that Sting glows because it is an Elven blade it does not follow that all Elven blades glow. We are told in the books however that both Glamdring and Orcrist also glow. These three blades were all forged in the First Age in Gondolin, thousands of years old by the time Gandalf and Bilbo find them. These are special blades forged for kings and worthy warriors, so this could be special high tech not used in all Elven blades.

But Glamdring doesn’t glow in the films?

This is a mistake, as you can see in the earlier passage from the books all three of the swords found in the goblin cave glow. We must just put this down to an oversight on the part of the filmmakers.

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Why does Frodo become invisible?

Why does frodo become invisible

As we all know when Frodo slips on the one ring he disappears from sight, but why does Frodo become invisible?

The One Ring

The answer is quite simple, when the wearer puts on the ring they enter the wraith world and are hidden in the physical world.

Some beings exist in only the physical world such as humans, hobbits, many elves etc whereas others exist in just the shadow realm, such as the wraiths. Then there are others still who occupy both. Divine beings such as Sauron exist in both worlds, interestingly some of the elves also exist in both as does Gandalf. So if Gandalf was to wear the ring he would not become invisible.

We know this from the books, from passages such as this:

“You were in gravest peril while you wore the Ring, for then you were half in the wraith-world yourself.”

So why were Frodo’s clothes invisible then?

So the ring transfers the wearer partially into the shadow realm, why would this make their clothes invisible too? Well, its never really explained. The ring was originally created by Tolkein as a plot device to give Bilbo the ability to turn invisible. It would therefore also need to make any clothing invisible to work well as an invisibility device.

What would happen if Frodo never took the ring off?

Well to start with he would be in immense danger, being visible to Sauron. But if he somehow managed to evade Sauron he would slowly submit to the power of the ring, eventually becoming a wraith himself.

 

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Undervolting a GPU

What the heck is undervolting?

While many of you may be familiar with overvolting a GPU as part of the overclocking process, undervolting is as it sounds, the exact opposite. Higher voltages often lead to increased heat and obviously higher power consumption, and depending on your use case; this might not be ideal. Factory overclocked GPU’s are usually a prime candidate for undervolting. The overclocks applied at manufacture can often be sloppy and decrease the thermal performance of your GPU without giving any noticeable performance gains.

Why undervolt?

The main reason most people would consider undervolting their GPU is if they are continually running into thermal throttling. Thermal throttling is where the GPU reaches its peak operating temperature, and so the clock speeds are reduced to help with cooling. This translates to stuttering, frame drops and all sorts of nasty surprises. Some users may find that they are throttling way too often, and an undervolt can often be seen as a good fix.

Increased lifespan

One benefit often lauded at the humble undervolt is increased GPU lifespan. By running your GPU at a lower voltage, you will be easing the strain on it. This could then lead to an increased lifespan, although there is no hard and fast rule to how much of an effect this will have.

Reduced power consumption

Reducing the voltage will reduce the power your GPU draws, but not by much. I don’t really see the benefit here, if running costs are an issue for you then make sure you do your research when buying a new GPU to find the power consumption/performance sweet spot.

Fixing clock speed issues

Some users have even used undervolting to fix clock speed issues. In this thread on Tom’s hardware a user had an issue when they seemed to be hitting the power limit. An undervolt fixed their problems!