Seeing High CPU Temps? You May Have A Bad Batch Of Arctic MX-5 Thermal Compound

Arctic MX-5 Thermal Compound Applied to CPU
Under normal circumstances, thermal compound or paste should last at least a year once applied to your CPU (or GPU if installing something like, say, an Accelero Xtreme IV cooler), and potentially much longer (as in several years), depending on the type. However, that might not be the case if you picked up a tube of Arctic's popular MX-5. Arctic has issued a recall, saying some recent batches suffer a "premature hardening" issue.

"Current findings from our permanent quality assurance tests show that certain batches of our MX-5 thermal compound contain anomalies in consistency and shelf life. The affected products show an increased separation of oil within the paste, resulting in premature hardening. This can lead to adverse effects and application difficulties," Arctic explains.

Arctic knows exactly which batches are problematic and is in the process of removing them from circulation. However, that doesn't do you much good if you already purchased an affected tube, or managed to get one that is still stocked somewhere. There's good news, though—Arctic is offering to replace bad batches for free.

"For Arctic, it has always been a top priority to supply customers only with products of the best quality and durability. Should there ever be any doubts about products we’ve delivered, we stand by our responsibility to our customers," the company said.

"We regret that this quality defect could not be detected before delivery to distributors and customers, despite constant quality controls and diligent care during production. Affected MX-5 thermal compounds can of course be returned without exception, and we will offer a replacement product," the company added.

Arctic MX-5 Thermal Compound
The purpose of thermal compound is to fill in microscope nooks and crannies that exist on heatspreaders, both on the CPU and CPU, and on the plate at the bottom of your cooler. This ensures better contact for the dissipation of heat. Over time, however, thermal paste can wear out resulting in degraded performance.

For those who are comfortable doing so, reapplying thermal compound every year or so can be part of a deeper cleaning maintenance schedule to ensure peak performance. It's a bit more involved than cleaning out dust filters, but fortunately isn't something you typically need to worry about all that often, especially if your temps are holding steady where they should be.

In any event, if you picked up a bad batch of Arctic's MX-5, dig up your proof of purchase then head over to the company's support page and fill out a form to get your replacement.