Thermal Paste Comparison, Part Two: 39 Products Get Tested

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pie85

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I've read a couple of similar articles in the last 10 years, and the results stand, I see. :)

Of the non-conventional pastes I've seen used in these tests, the best so far is lipstick.
In the short run it's almost as good as thermal paste.
 

Reynod

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I agree ... this is a great article.

I'd like to see new products getting added to build up a really comprehensive list.

Well done Igor.
 

mattcleeds

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I'm interested in the GC-Extreme product but wondered what application method you used?
I can see you suggest heating to 100F-120F but do you then spread it with the spreader or use the lentil ball approach ?
 
Very good Igor!

As one that has conducted these tests myself I know you are glad it's over!

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274824-29-thermal-compound-roundup-2011

I am extremely impressed with the detailed coverage of using the liquid metal products and how difficult it is to remove them and what it does to your CPUs heat spreader, tossing the CPU warranty in the process by just choosing those thermal compounds.

As we all know lapping a CPU is a warranty loss and once the liquid metal is thoroughly removed from the CPU, you may as well go ahead and lap it, because your warranty is gone.

One thing I wanted to share regarding the liquid metal compounds from my testing is I was warned to test the liquid metals last and I did, and since the liquid metal was tested last, I left Liquid Metal Ultra on my testing CPU under an air cooler.

I was delaying cleaning it off as I already knew what I was in for, so it was left running on that machine for a solid month.

Before I pulled the heat sink I decided to duplicate the test conditions with the exact ambient the other tests were run, to see if the results would be the same and was shocked to see the thermal performance had degraded as the liquid metal was loosing it's moisture content.

From my own discoveries the liquid metal long term thermal conductivity degrades the longer it is used while some of the other non liquid metal compounds do not.

That's something you could test yourself if you're curious.

Anyhoo, Excellent work Sir, Congratulations for a job well done! Ryan

 

InvalidError

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Eucalyptus oil is pretty volatile so it would dry off in seconds once the CPU starts heating up. I would expect performance to match "nothing at all" after this happens.
 

mouse24

Splendid
Good read. I enjoyed it. That ending picture though, jeez. Small fortune in pastes.

Off topic, I'd be willing to take any amount of it off your hands, I never seem to have enough paste around the house.
 

dgingeri

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"What will I do with all the partially-used syringes and paste packs? Honestly, I don’t know. There's enough of this stuff around to last a lifetime..."

I'll take the MX-4. I like that stuff.
 

jimmysmitty

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I am a bit sad that they didn't have the IC Diamond TIM in the mix. That stuff was some of the best I ever used.

Am currently using the Zalman STG2 which has proven pretty good so far.
 

digiex

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I am using ELECTROLUBE non silicon heat transfer compound. It is ultra cheap, $7 for 10ml. Very useful when you are maintaining several computers.

 

Maxx_Power

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A few things:

1) Have you looked at the technical specifications of that particular paste ? It says, the thermal conductivity is only 0.773-0.657 W/mK, which is about a order of magnitude LESS than tested products (AS5 at 9 W/mK and MX4 at 8.5 W/mK).

2) The compound is only made from zinc oxide and a binder oil. This is no different from the cheap Zalman compounds (the generic white paste).

3) These pastes are meant for low power density applications, I have 2 tubs, and they are piss poor on computers (high power density applications), but just fine for what they are made for - cooling very low powered circuits like voltage regulators (not for computer use, but analog use), opamps, low powered transistors (like for amplifiers). This is the stuff you find inside your stereo, between the transistors/chip amps and the heatsink, where the chip is dissipating about 50 watts of heat maximally (and not prolonged) over a surface area 10 times larger than a CPU-heatsink contact.

4) The AS5 isn't conductive. It doesn't contain un-oxidized silver. It is slightly capacitive, more so than other compounds. But it isn't going to burn out a computer by shorting it, it is not a conductor. That said, I much prefer Ceramique 2 (the original Ceramique was terrible) or MX-4.
 

Maxx_Power

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Those liquid metal-type solutions have a nasty habit of eating away (via Galvanic corrosion, I think) the metal of the cooler+CPU heatspreader, especially when a certain combination of alloys are present (presumably due to the choice of the cooler). This pits the surfaces, and hardens the liquid metal in between. Not to mention that in some cases, the heatsink becomes "welded" to the CPU after prolonged corrosion.

Perhaps that happened to some extent to your setup ? Either way, I would not recommend these types of thermal gap fillers.
 
I would like to see which of these pastes dry fast. Is their anyway to cook these pastes for a month or 2 at 80 Celsius? I know that AS5's drying out point is legendary. Just wonder if any of these pastes can match it long term. Also which paste requires reapplying after a year?
 
The industry uses centigrade which glancing at the charts would imply but the article consistently refer to Kelvin in the article. The two are quite a bit different but the latter unfamiliar to most PC users ..... the absolute Kelvin scale is based upon absolute 0, Centigrade puts 0 at the freezing point of water.

K=C+273.15

Curing should be addressed ..... Could pick up a few pointers here:

http://archive.benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=62

http://archive.benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=1
 

Maxx_Power

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From my cursory read, most temperatures were expressed as differences, in which case, there is no difference between picking Celsius or Kelvin, because the absolute difference (Delta T) is the same in either scale.

But I agree, in general, an author should pick a unit, and stick with it from there on.
 
I got a little disapointed in the AS5. Good to know the MX-2 is a very good all-rounder.

If you should give a prize to something for the common enthusiast to use, is the MX-2.

Cheers!
 

jimmysmitty

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The curing time for AS5 is probably why I moved away from it.

Also why I am surprised they didn't include IC Diamond which has a curing time of about 1 hour which is nothing compared to up to a year for AS5.
 

gonchuki

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Another vote to get the Antec Formula 7 tested. It's on the expensive end so it would be nice to get it into this comparison and see if the price is really worth it.
 

giltyler

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Tip of the Hat for all that went in to the testing and charting of the products.
Really surprising how close most TIM is despite the marketing hype.
To me it comes down to getting the perfect mount VS the most expensive paste.
 


I always "cook" my pastes by running at a higher OC and voltage than would normally use for 24/7 ....cycling it up over 80C and cooling down to room temp 5 or 6 times. I save those settings in the BIOS tools section and rerun after 6 months.





I'm more surprised at the absence of MX-4, TX-4 and Shin Etsu



 

daglesj

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Wow with some of those products, talk about making a really simple process appear 20 times more difficult than it really is.

Been using MX-4....cos it's cheap.
 

jimmysmitty

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Some are pretty hard. I have run into some that are very thick and hard to get out.

The IC Diamond was very hard to get out and you need to leave it sitting on the CPU for 10 minutes before you put the IHS on. I also had the same experience with the Noctus TIM as if you wait a bit after getting it out of the tube it will spread easier and better.
 
The missing thermal compounds some of you are asking about were more than likely not submitted to be tested.

The companies submitting their products to be tested are also giving their permission to do so.

It's not like Toms went out and bought every compound out there to be tested and left some on the shelves so to speak.

Some thermal compounds like IC Diamond require a guaranteed 50lb clamping pressure before they submit to testing, I ran into that with my thermal compound testing in 2011.

When I agreed to meet their clamping requirements of 50lbs but informed them the other compounds would also be equally tested at the same 50lbs of pressure, I got no, no, the other compounds don't need 50lbs.

None the less they were all going to be run at the same pressure so IC Diamond refused to submit a testing sample.

Wonder Why?

Because they already know what's going to happen when thinner consistency compounds are clamped to 50lbs of pressure, they simply stomp IC Diamonds performance.

If you don't believe what I'm saying do your own testing!

If a company is invited by Toms to submit a product for testing and they don't submit a sample, then it's not in the roundup, simple as that.

All thermal compound is supposed to do, is fill the microscopic imperfections between the 2 contacting surfaces filling the microscopic air voids and that's it.

Replace the air with a good thermal conductor, to transmit the heat from one surface to the other, no thick layer!

A thick layer is bad!

The least used you can get away with the better the cooling performance, I don't care what brand it is.
 
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