Question Can I use metal thermal paste on CPU?

Sep 15, 2019
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Hi, decided to buy some new components today since it seems that my motherboard has been fried. I bought some cooling paste without really looking what I bought so I ended up with Grizzly Conductonaut.

However, reading about the thermal paste I now noticed that it is liquid metal that can destroy aluminium. I do not know anything about delidding and I will use the stock IHS and shim for the cpu. Will I be able to use this thermal paste for my new i5-9600k and old H100i cooler without destroying anything, should I buy another thermal paste?
 
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Cdog042501

Respectable
Mar 14, 2017
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Over long periods of time yes it will break down the aluminium, liquid metals are usually used for delids, i would suggest running out to your local best buy and picking up some thermal paste instead.
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
It shouldn't damage the heatspreader or cooler cold plate, but keep in mind that liquid metal is electrically conductive so if it leaks or spills anywhere it could cause a short circuit. I think it will also stain the cold plate, but that's just cosmetics.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
No. Do not use liquid metal pastes on top of the IHS. Under only.
Liquid metal pastes are acid based, not oil based. This will destroy any and all screen printing on top of the cpu and void the cpu warranty totally. It also promotes dissimilar metal corrosion, like what you get on car battery terminals, pitting and corroding the surface of the IHS and the cpu cooler, destroying both over time.
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
No. Do not use liquid metal pastes on top of the IHS. Under only.
Liquid metal pastes are acid based, not oil based. This will destroy any and all screen printing on top of the cpu and void the cpu warranty totally. It also promotes dissimilar metal corrosion, like what you get on car battery terminals, pitting and corroding the surface of the IHS and the cpu cooler, destroying both over time.
Galvanic corrosion typically requires water, or some other polar solvent.

As I said above, liquid metal is safe with copper and/or nickel plated copper, other than staining.
https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3362-how-liquid-metal-affects-copper-nickel-and-aluminum-corrosion-test

Never heard of liquid metal being an "acid".
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Technically it's not an acid base. Well most aren't, some are. Liquid metal is primarily (@ 2/3) gallium which melts at 29.76°C. When alloyed with indium, tin and a few others that drops to @ -19°C.

With aluminium, it's highly corrosive, for lack of a better word, but what really happens is aluminium and the gallium alloy themselves to create a new substance, which acts exactly like acid, eating away at both. Takes minutes to get permanent damage and a few hours and both are totally useless.
Pure copper is better, it'll take months to a year before that happens, the alloy reaction is very slow. Nickle is best off, (the IHS is Nickle plated copper) with heavy staining possible, depending on which brand you use. Coolaboratory has a different chemical composition to Grizzly. The problem there is that the print on the cpu which identifies it and contains the serial code isn't Nickle. The liquid metal paste will destroy it in a short time, which renders the warranty for either amd or Intel, void.

Liquid metal is a one way trip. Pure copper heatsinks like used on most new aios and the direct contact heatpipes of many aircoolers are toast after a year. Only a solid surface Nickle base is safe (ish).

Heat makes the alloying faster, so even pure copper can be toast in a matter of months. IF you regularly reapply the liquid metal, the CuGa alloy will eventually saturate the copper base to the point where it's done with the alloying process and is now a solid coating of CuGa, at which point it might as well be solid Nickle. Kind of like how wood soaks up paint, but after a few coats stops soaking and now the paint stays on the surface.

By far the largest issue is lack of information from cooler companies. A pure Nickle coated base would be the safest. But the nickle may not be exactly pure, being alloyed with other components to make it cheaper, easier to work with etc. It's that extra component added that's suspect and if it happens to be aluminium....

Nickel aluminide (Ni³Al or NiAl³) is used as a strengthening constituent in high-temperature nickel-base superalloys. Nickel aluminide is unique in that it has very high thermal conductivity combined with high strength at high temperature.

Can't test just 1 cooler and say it applies to all.
 
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Sep 15, 2019
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I went with the liquid metal after all, I was really careful with the application and temperatures are good, now I am just hoping it will last and not degrade the shim or AIO. Thank you everyone that answered!
 

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