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NVMe SSD thermal pad: durability and when to change it

It is well known by all hardware enthusiasts that it is necessary to change the thermal paste between the heatsink and the processor from time to time, since it gradually loses its properties and its performance always deteriorates over time. . The same happens, although we do it less frequently, with the graphics card and, in general, with all devices that use thermal paste between the device and its heatsink, but does the same happen with the thermal pad of M.2 SSDs?

A thermal pad is not a thermal paste

Although the technology used in thermal pastes has changed and in many of them (according to the manufacturers’ indications) it is no longer necessary to renew it every six months but every two years or even more, the properties of thermal pastes differ in largely of those of the thermal pads, and for this reason the maintenance tasks are also different.

To begin with, the properties and resistance of a thermal paste, which comes in a viscous state (which is not solid but not liquid) are not the same as those of a thermal pad, which is a solid product (although in many cases it is soft. and padding), and therefore the wear suffered by the passage of time or by the effects of high temperatures is not the same.

With this we want to tell you that a thermal pad is designed to have a durability much higher than that of thermal paste, and therefore in general terms it should not be necessary to change it because they are designed to deliver decent performance throughout the useful life of the device. , even if we are talking about long periods of time (for example 10 years). Certainly, for so many years its performance may be compromised, so to enter to assess this we are going to move on to the next section.

Is it necessary to change the thermal pad of an SSD from time to time?

As a general rule, no. As we have explained, a thermal pad is designed to last throughout the life of the SSD and therefore should not be necessary to change it. Now, depending on the use, the temperature and the age of the device, we can see that its temperature has increased a lot compared to when it was new, so to know if it is necessary to change the thermal pad of an SSD, a personal assessment of their performance.

TeamGroup T-Force CARDEA II TUF interior

In other words: if you notice that after a few years of use the temperature of your device is too high, then it may be that it is necessary to change the thermal pad to be able to return the device to the thermal performance it had at the beginning, at least in part.

What is clear is that this maintenance task is not something you should worry about, and it is that as a general rule before having to change the thermal pad of the SSD you will retire it and buy a new one, either because you have changed the platform, because you are looking for better performance, because you want more capacity or simply because the SSD has reached the end of its useful life.