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Thermal paste round-up: 85 products tested
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-08-07 20:14:39

Several years ago, we published a round-up of thermal pastes that started with Thermal Paste Comparison, Part One: Applying Grease And More and concluded with Thermal Paste Comparison, Part Two: 39 Products Get Tested. Since it's so hot outside (at least in our U.S. labs), we're trying to cool so many new CPUs and GPUs, and readers keep asking for it, we decided to combine and update those stories, adding a range of new thermal pastes and pads.

Thermal paste and how to apply it are probably more divisive than anything else in technology. So many different methods, old wives' tales, folklore, and god knows what else.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-22
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RE[7]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Alfman on 2017-08-08 18:17:26
Thom Holwerda,

> Neither did my PC, actually - it's a 7700K and GTX 1070, both running at stock, non-overlocked speeds. I did it for the fun, the challenge, and the looks. Also it's really expensive. The cooling parts alone ran me ~€1000.

Rock on :)


If you want to see an example of tons of work on water cooling overkill, linus tech tips did a video series on watercooling his office and how it all went awry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E...

I'll give him credit for trying to "go big", but he wouldn't do it again, haha.
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RE[3]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Kochise on 2017-08-08 18:31:28
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y...

https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmaster... ( http://img.techpowerup.org/11101... : yes, even mayo!)

http://forums.overclockersclub.c...

And so on...

Edited 2017-08-08 18:32 UTC
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RE[4]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Alfman on 2017-08-08 18:49:51
Kochise,

Those are amusing, especially the last link :)
Edit: I don't know if the water based compounds would remain as effective over time after the water evaporates.
But I still don't see where any of those substitutes are compared to using no compound at all?

Sure you can use mayo, but did it actually help? That's my question.

Edited 2017-08-08 18:54 UTC
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Why oh why?
By quatermass on 2017-08-08 22:40:29
Ok, how come no reviewers ever look into the thermal rating of the paste as this one is easiest to fake?

This is the thermal conductivity of it. Usually rated in Wm/K. The higher this is, the more heat it conducts through it.

You want this to be well over 10.
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RE[5]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By quatermass on 2017-08-08 22:45:42
The shiny metal surfaces aren't that smooth on the micro millimetres scale. So we put a paste on to fill in the valleys of each surface.

Trouble is most people put far too much on.

In the Military work I used to do, we had a special applicator tool that basically made a 0.1mm thin layer.
You can't do this by hand without such a tool.
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RE[6]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Alfman on 2017-08-09 01:12:39
quatermass,

> The shiny metal surfaces aren't that smooth on the micro millimetres scale. So we put a paste on to fill in the valleys of each surface.

Trouble is most people put far too much on.


I'm not questioning that thermal paste improves thermal conductivity. However the authors tested toothpaste, and that got me curious how it compares to using no compound.

For example:
artic silver 5 = 37.2
toothpaste = 48.7

Of course I'd use thermal paste to get the max cooling, but it was just a hypothetical question: does toothpaste help at all or would it be just as good to not use anything? Obviously the data provided is inadequate to answer that question. I tried looking this up, but most people making claims have no experience/empirical data to back their claims:

http://www.tomshardware.com/answ...

http://www.tomshardware.com/foru...

Those who have tested cooling without thermal paste generally report not having any issues whatsoever, and even the temps are well within safe operating parameters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R...

https://linustechtips.com/main/to...

Edit:
This guy actually demonstrates what happens when one removes the heatsink entirely.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X...
It's pretty much what you'd expect: Some CPUs throttle down, maintain a low temp, and recover when the heatsink is returned. Others have no throttling and just go up and up in smoke as the temps climb to 370C!

Edited 2017-08-09 01:28 UTC
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RE[7]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Kochise on 2017-08-09 05:09:35
Old AMD Athlon Palomino that not had any throttling capabilities. Since Barton this is solved.
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Arctic Silver for me...
By Drunkula on 2017-08-09 12:36:34
It's the only one I've used in years. Works great for me! Funny they rated it so low.

Edited 2017-08-09 12:46 UTC
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RE: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Megol on 2017-08-09 21:58:12
> It all comes from the same factory in china. It makes very little difference what brand you buy.


No it makes a great difference if the product is as stated (but that can of course not be guaranteed in general). There are different compunds used for different things that have different characteristics. Large gap (relatively)? Use A. Need the best thermal transfer possible for thermal pastes? Use B. How coarse are the surfaces? If they are very coarse use C, if they are very fine then use D.

But then I generally use industrial products not made in China by the lowest bidder. IME even expensive top of the line unobtanium containing greases produced for overclockers are generally worse than the higher performance (for the application - see above!) inexpensive stuff for industrial use. If not at the time of application then after some months to some year - thermal pumping tend to destroy the performance of overclocker stuff.
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RE[7]: Comment by grandmasterphp
By Megol on 2017-08-09 22:08:40
> quatermass,

> The shiny metal surfaces aren't that smooth on the micro millimetres scale. So we put a paste on to fill in the valleys of each surface.

Trouble is most people put far too much on.



This exactly. In many cases the goop with worse on the paper performance will actually perform better IF it is easier to spread out (=viscosity) and the user have read about the advantages of a thin layer.

>
I'm not questioning that thermal paste improves thermal conductivity. However the authors tested toothpaste, and that got me curious how it compares to using no compound.


I actually knew someone that tested toothpaste for a short while. It worked reasonably well and better than using no paste at all. However even toothpastes have different formulations so one can't make a general claim. The layer used in the above case was very thin and it was tried for some hours IIRC which means outgassing wasn't a significant factor. Using it for longer periods will probably reduce the paste to a dry powder with little heat conduction.
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