What is Thermal Paste? What is Thermal Paste for?

This is a material that has good heat conductivity. It eliminates the temperature resistance of the contacting surfaces. Thermal grease is used to fill all the possible irregularities of the processing unit and radiator surfaces in order to provide the thermal transmission between them.

Do i need thermal paste for i5?

‘Do i need thermal paste for i5?’, some readers would ask. The answer is ‘No’. There are lots of good ways to keep mobile or smart phones from overheating but thermal grease won’t do. It is used in computer technology to provide heat energy release from the central and graphic processor.

Today the market is full of products and it can be hard to choose the thermal compound of good quality. This brief review is aimed to tell about the best CPU thermal paste, as well as the best laptop thermal paste, which can meet any customer demands.

Types of thermal paste

There is a plenty of paste types today. According to the cost parameter, pastes can be budgetary or expensive. They differ in the conductivity of heat and composition.

Budget-oriented thermal pastes (e.g., Arctic Cooling MX-4)

Budgetary thermal compounds are commonly used by enthusiasts for home PCs of small or medium power.

Costly thermal pastes

Thermal compounds from famous brands are notable for better thermal conductivity and high quality components. Correspondingly, due to their consistency they can be easily applied and cleaned off.

With respect to the thermal conductivity coefficient, greases are divided into three types:

Low thermal conductivity pastes (up to 5 W/mK)

They include budgetary components such as silicone or zinc oxide.

Medium thermal conductivity pastes (from 6 up to 10 W/mK)

They consist of carbon or diamond powder and provide the best ‘price and quality’ ratio.

High thermal conductivity pastes (from 10 W/mK)

Such pastes are comprised of silver or aluminum elements.

Best thermal paste for CPU or the best GPU thermal paste should be of high or at least medium thermal conductivity.

Amazing Facts

Here is the list of facts about thermal paste which seem to be challenging.

Fact 1. The joke about the tooth paste as a substitute for thermal paste shall not be taken seriously. This is just a myth;

Fact 2. Late replacement of thermal paste can be fatal for your device;

Fact 3. Replacement of the thermal paste can cool your equipment down by 10 °C;

Fact 4. Thermal paste has a durability varying from 1 year to 8 years depending on the manufacturer;

Fact 5. There are some types of thermal paste containing real micronized diamonds, for example, so-called ‘icy diamond thermal paste’.

Thermal Paste Testing Procedure

Thermal paste testing is quite a hard task as the difference between these products is not so evident at first sight. Besides, the process of application matters too. If the top rated thermal paste is spread unevenly in a thick layer, it will lose to its cheaper and low-grade competitor. This part of the review presents the testing of products which were high-ranked in the various reviews of the past years and could be found on the web when entering the query ‘the best CPU thermal paste 2016’, best CPU thermal paste 2017’ or ‘what is the best thermal paste’.

The aim of this testing is to show the most popular products in different categories and give the objective opinion including negative and positive sides of each product.

The procedure:

  • all thermal compound layers are as even and thin as possible;
  • CPU is then run through a minimum 2 hour run then the system is shut off for a minimum of 20 minutes;
  • the system is then started up and the minimum temperatures for all cores is noted within the first 5 minutes;
  • the system is then run through 2×15 minute tests. The average of the two is used as the final temperature. All temperatures are recorded in Celsius.

Best Products in Thermal Paste Category

According to the thermal paste review testing results, 6 under-mentioned products have shown the best performance in various categories.

  • ARCTIC MX-4 has the best durability;
  • Arctic Silver 5 has the highest density and optimized for the most powerful devices;
  • Noctua NT-H1 is very convenient to apply;
  • ThermalCoolFlux(TM) has the best packing.
  • Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut distinguishes itself with performance characteristics and can be described as top thermal paste;

Cooler Master outstands with the good performance and is supplied complete with the effective cleaning agent.

 Product Feature Comparison Chart

This chart is based upon thermal paste comparison and presents the product basic parameters which can be meaningful to the buyer. All the specified data are retrieved from various thermal paste reviews. Normally, users are interested in such product features as manufacturer, weight, color, density, thermal conductivity, durability, temperature range and price.

 

arctic mx-4 thermal compound paste, carbon based high performance

ARCTIC MX-4

arctic silver 5 AS5-3.5G thermal paste

Arctic Silver 5 AS5 -3.5G

Noctua NT,H1 thermal compound, retail

Noctua NT,H1

> ThermalCoolFlux(TM) high performance polysynthetic silver thermal paste

Thermal CoolFlux(TM)

Thermal grizzly kryonaut thermal grease paste - 1.0 gram

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut

master high performance thermal paste - (HTK-002-U1)

Cooler Master (HTK-002-U1)

Country of Origin China USA Taiwan USA Germany China

Colour

grey

silver

grey

silver

grey

white

Weight, gr.

4.0/20.0

3.5

3.5

5 packs x 1.5

1.0

3.5

Density g cm 3

2.5 4.1 2.49 2.49 3.7 2.37
Thermal Conductivity W/(K·m)  8.5 8.9 4.5 > 3.2 12.5 0.8

Viscosity poise

870 Data n/a Data n/a Data n/a 1300-1700 1400

Standard durability

8

Data n/a

3

Data n/a

4

Data

Temperature limits, °C

-50/+160 

 –50°C / >180°C (peak)
 -50 ° C / 130 ° C (working)

 -50/+110

Data n/a 

 -250/+350

0/+170 

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mx-4 thermal compound paste, carbon based high performance

ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Compound Paste, Carbon Based High Performance

Definitely, this arctic thermal paste is a great dielectric product with exceptional heat conduction. This is a good thermal paste which contains carbon micro-particles and can be used easily even by beginners due to its perfect consistency. Besides, the manufacturer claims its 8-year durability. Also, it is considered to be the best thermal paste for GPU as it contains no liquid metal.

Pros:

  • two variants of package;
  • best thermal conductivity;
  • dielectric;
  • good for CPU overclocking;
  • convenient syringe;
  • perfect consistency.

Cons:

  • price is quite high;
  • seems to be denser than usual.

arctic silver 5 AS5-3.5G thermal paste

Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste

Arctic thermal paste is composed of silver, alumina, hydrozincite and borazon components. Arctic silver thermal paste is suggested to amateurs and overclockers. It is a good thermal paste with high density optimized for the high-powered devices. It is also the best non-conductive thermal paste.

Tip: Arctic Silver can be applied easily if it is slightly warmed up beforehand.

Pros:

  • trustworthy brand;
  • dielectric;
  • exceptional heat transfer;
  • good density;
  • extended range of time limits;
  • easy to clean off.

Cons:

  • seems to be overpriced;
  • no proper package.

Noctua NT,H1 thermal compound, retail

Noctua NT,H1 Thermal Compound, Retail

It is a hybrid compound of various micro-particles which spreads easily under pressure, that’s why there’s no need to smear it over the heat-spreader. It is considered to be the best CPU thermal paste.

Pros:

  • high-quality brand product;
  • very easy to apply due to the good consistency (the best combination of thickness and viscosity);
  • very easy to remove;
  • affordable price along with extremely good performance;
  • supplied complete with a spreader for convenient application;
  • reasonable volume;

Cons:

  • narrow range of temperature limits;
  • average thermal conductivity

ThermalCoolFlux(TM) high performance polysynthetic silver thermal paste

ThermalCoolFlux(TM) High Performance Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Paste

This is a paste noted for great cooling and great performance. It is good for CPUs, GPUs, and other heat sources. One syringe is enough for at least 1 CPU or GPU.

Pros:

  • good value and quality ratio;
  • easy to use;
  • the package contains 5 separate syringes, 1.5 gr. each;
  • good cooling;
  • can be used for all the PC units.

Cons:

  • seems to be overpriced;
  • average thermal conductivity, won’t do for PC overclocking.

Thermal grizzly kryonaut thermal grease paste - 1.0 gram

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste – 1.0 Gram

This liquid metal thermal conductive paste is the top-rated product in various thermal paste reviews. It is perfect for overclockers due to its excellent thermal conductivity.

Pros:

  • high thermal conductivity;
  • increased indium content;
  • easy to apply due to synthetic needle;
  • temperature stability;
  • good viscosity;
  • package is furnished with a convenient applicator;
  • the thinnest layer is left after heating

Cons:

  • electrical conductivity;
  • quite expensive;

Cooler master high performance thermal paste - (HTK-002-U1)

Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste – (HTK-002-U1)

Cooler Master is a thermally conductive compound containing metal oxides and silicones. It ensures temperature stability and sufficient heat transfer.

Pros:

  • ratio of good price and performance;
  • easy application;
  • easy to use;
  • even thin layer due to applicator;
  • electrically non-conductive;
  • non-corrosive;
  • wide range of temperature limits;
  • supplied complete with a special cleaning agent making cleaning old paste off very easy.

Cons:

  • average performance, won’t do for overclocking;
  • a bit runny.

How to handle thermal grease

The paste usage is significant for the good result. Mostly buyers are concerned about the handling issues, e.g., ‘how to apply thermal paste to CPU?’ or ‘how to clean thermal paste off CPU?’, ‘how much thermal paste to use?’ and so on.

How to apply thermal paste?

The grease shall be spread over in one thin slightly visible layer in order to cover all the micro-cavities and ensure the best heat transfer.

How to apply thermal paste to CPU?

A pea-size dab should be placed in the CPU middle. Then the user shall spread the paste with the plastic card or the finger having a rubber glove put on the hand. Finally, some pressure shall be applied with the heatsink to make the compound layer thin and even. 

How much thermal paste to apply?

Applying thermal paste in exceeding quantities would create lots of problems. The best way to apply thermal paste is to squeeze out a pea-size amount and thoroughly spread it over.

How to remove thermal paste?

Many users find difficulty thinking on how to clean off thermal paste because the damaged surfaces can influence the temperature conditions. Cleaning thermal paste off CPU shall be very gentle. A normal eraser will help to rub the old grease off.

How long does thermal paste last?

Typically, manufacturers claim various durability of their products. For example, Arctic MX-4 will last for 8 years, Noctua NT will serve for a 3-year period, but mostly, thermal paste standard service life is 2 years. 

Computer Care Tips to Extend Paste Durability

It is not desirable to extend thermal grease durability out of the recommended limits but it is possible to keep the thermal compound in good condition within its service life. Here are some hints:

  • brush the dust off the ventilation holes from time to time;
  • take care of the device technical integrity;
  • check out overheating detector;
  • maintain the device cooling system.

The Agony of Choosing: Best Price and Quality

In total, the most important thermal paste parameter is its ease of use. Wrong way of application typically impacts thermal performance much more than the difference between price, composition and many other characteristics. For example, Noctua NT-H1 is very easy to apply and can be the best solution even for beginners.

But still, other parameters can be crucial too, depending on the customer’s demands. If the paste durability really matters, then choose ARCTIC MX-4. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is the best for extreme overclockers due to its perfect performance. Arctic Silver 5 is recommended for enthusiasts and gaming PC users as it is optimized for high-power devices. Cooler Master is suggested for normal PCS without overclocking. ThermalCoolFlux(TM) stands out due to its convenient packing.

No matter if thermal grease is bought for CPU or GPU, look through the trusted brands and also study all the new products which have come out recently, then choose the best thermal paste for your equipment. Having done this, it will be easy to find the best buy thermal paste using various sources.

 

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