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Oct 30, 2009
What is the best Thermal Grease? I am using Artic Silver 5. Also I apply a thin layer to the Heatsink and a thin layer on the cpu. I spread it with the top of a match book. My other questions are. How much is to much? What is the proper way to apply?
AS5 takes 200 hours to cure ....

After this article was first published, there was an immediate backlash from some of the manufacturers listed in this review. The primary argument was the lack of cure time. Here is the Arctic Silver 5 recommended cure time instruction from the manufacturers web site:

Due to the unique shape and sizes of the particles in Arctic Silver 5's conductive matrix, it will take a up to 200 hours and several thermal cycles to achieve maximum particle to particle thermal conduction and for the heatsink to CPU interface to reach maximum conductivity. (This period will be longer in a system without a fan on the heatsink or with a low speed fan on the heatsink.) On systems measuring actual internal core temperatures via the CPU's internal diode, the measured temperature will often drop 2C to 5C over this "break-in" period. This break-in will occur during the normal use of the computer as long as the computer is turned off from time to time and the interface is allowed to cool to room temperature. Once the break-in is complete, the computer can be left on if desired.

So by my estimation of this statement it would take almost a year of normal use to properly cure the AC5 compound, or almost nine days of continuous power cycles to meet their recommendation. Benchmark Reviews feels that this is a characteristically unreasonable requirement for any TIM product, and we do not support it. We want products that perform without the burden of sacrifice on our time, especially with some many competing products offering performance without this extra requirement.

AS5 is not the only one

Arctic Silver II Application Instructions(48-hours minimum curing time recommended)
Arctic Silver 3 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
Arctic Silver 5 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
Arctic Silver Ceramique Application Instructions (25-hours minimum recommended curing time)
IC Seven Carat Diamond Application Instructions (10-minute evaporation time, 2-hour curing recommended)

here's some hard comparison data on various options:

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