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CS:GOPedia/Blog/Guides/The Best Thermal Paste to Use in 2018

The Best Thermal Paste to Use in 2018

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Introduction

Computers generate a great deal of heat, and they have components to mitigate that heat called heatsinks. A heatsink is a passive heat exchange component that takes the heat generated by electronic devices and uses an air or liquid coolant to dissipate the heat in order to regulate the heat from the device. This is important, on a simple level, to avoid overheating in the most efficient way possible. Part of this whole cooling equation is thermal paste.

What is thermal paste?

What is thermal paste?

Thermal paste is a heat-conductive paste that is placed between a heat sink and the device it is meant to cool. It can also be placed between other components, especially between a CPU and ac cooler. Thermal paste helps get better heat conduction. Heatsinks, CPUs and coolers have tiny, imperceptible imperfections on them that can potentially trap air and bring down the general performance of the heat sink. Thermal paste smoothes out these surfaces and makes them work as efficiently as possible. Air isn’t good for conducting heat, and conducting heat is what the heat sink is made for. Heat conduction is what takes heat and transfers it away from the component that is generating the heat in question.

How much thermal paste to use

When gaming on a PC, the CPU is the component that will require thermal paste. That said, there are many different ways to apply it. Your goal when applying thermal paste is to get a paper-thin layer of it over your CPU. For this, use just a dot of the paste on each side of your CPU.

How to apply thermal paste and remove it

When it comes to applying thermal paste, the first step is to insert the CPU into the proper socket on your computer’s motherboard.

The second step is to put a dot of thermal paste onto the center of the CPU. It should be the size of a tiny ball bearing, or potentially a bit smaller than a pea. Take the component and press it down on the dot. Lock that component into its proper place. This will spread the dot of thermal paste out. You can always lift the component to see if the paste was spread evenly. If it didn’t go as planned, mop it up and try again.

If you want to know how to remove thermal paste, well, that’s pretty simple. Wipe it up with a lintless microfiber cloth (a coffee filter will also do just fine as a cheap alternative). This will avoid creating even more microscopic holes that reduce head conduction while wiping up thermal grease. If you want to know how to clean thermal paste, well, that’s the best way. It’s very simple; just wipe it up with the proper cloth.

Now, let’s talk about a few different kinds of CPU thermal paste that you can use when building your perfect PC. This will help you choose the best thermal paste for your needs.

Great thermal paste for overclocking - Noctua NT-H1

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
 1.4ml  2.49 g / cm³ up to 2 years up to 3 years

Peak : -50˚C to + 110℃

Long term: -40℃ to + 90℃

Overclocking your PC creates a great deal of heat, and the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste is made exactly for this purpose. It keeps a computer’s CPU up to two degrees cooler, and the application process is remarkably easy with no settling time required. It’s also a very cheap alternative, though it should be noted that Noctua’s offering actually includes less of the paste itself (which is how the company keeps the price down).

Best high-end ceramic TIM — Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
0,27ml 3,7 g / cm³ -

-

Peak/Long-Term:-250˚C to + 300℃

The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is a very expensive paste, coming in at double the price of the Noctua NT-H1 and including quite a bit less paste. For this reason, this product is only intended for the most dedicated and hardcore PC gamers. This paste has no conductive power, which is very ideal for thermal pastes. It also has no settling time requirement, meaning it’s easy to apply to your computer. It has three to four percent lower temperature cooling capabilities than, for example, the Arctic Silver 5 and the Noctura NT-H1, which are also on this list.

Best carbon-based thermal paste — Arctic MX-4

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
4g 2,5 g / cm³ 8 years 8 years -

The Arctic MX 4 is very popular because it’s cheap and very easy to use. The applicator doesn’t have any metal components, so it won’t conduct electricity. It also doesn’t need to set at all, which is ideal because the waiting game isn’t there. It’s very easy to apply and gets done very fast. However, if you’re looking to overclock your PC, you should probably look elsewhere. In the world of thermal pastes, a couple of degrees can actually make all the difference. Look above at the Noctua NT-H1 for a better overclocking thermal compound.

99.9% silver thermal compound — Arctic Silver 5

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
3.5g 4.05 g / cm³ - years - years Peak: –50°C to >180°C 
Long-Term: –50°C to 130°C
 

If you’re looking for something unique with some very powerful cooling capabilities, look no further than the Arctic Silver 5. This thermal paste is made almost completely of micronized silver. This still makes it a ceramic paste, but it should not be placed on other components in your computer. The micronized silver that comprises this paste is very adept at conducting heat, meaning it will help dissipate more heat when the CPU is working overtime. This particular paste does have a settling time attached to it, so keep that in mind when you start the application process. It can take a few hours, so plan accordingly. Silver is far less harsh and abrasive than some of the other pastes on the market featuring micronized materials, so this is certainly the best paste if you’re looking for that silver touch.

Best thermal paste for GPU and CPU overclocking 2018 — Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
0,27ml 6,24 g / cm³ -

-

Peak: –50°C to >180°C 
Long-Term: –10°C to 140°C

Here’s a completely different kind of thermal paste. Keep in mind that this particular paste requires more skill than the decidedly easier-to-apply products also featured on this list. This heat sink compound is electrically capacitive, and the heatsink must be cleaned with alcohol before the application of this paste. Paste must be applied using a brush, which is included with the paste. This must not be used on aluminum materials.

All of these drawbacks and difficulties just might be worth it for your trouble, however. This thermal paste can reduce the temperature of your computer by more than 10 degrees, depending on the rest of the components in your PC. Weigh the options and be sure to read all of the included instructions before pulling the trigger on purchasing this particular thermal paste.

Cooler Master MasterGel Maker

 

Volume Specific Gravity Recommended storage time Recommended usage time ( on the CPU )  Recommended operating temperature
1.5ml 2,6 g / cm³ 2 years 2 years  Peak: -50 to 150℃
Long-Term: –10°C to 140°C

Here is yet another completely different product. Cooler Master was off the market for a while, but it returned with its Maker series of thermal pastes. These products are intended for high-performance CPUs and GPUs. This compound uses nano-diamonds, and while these can sometimes scratch up the materials they are meant to protect, the diamonds in this product are too small to do that. These tiny particles can get into very small places, making for better conductivity. Reviewers are very impressed with this paste, and in certain tests it was only beat out by one other thermal paste. It also includes a cleaning cloth, which most other pastes do not. This isn’t essential, but it’s a nice thought by the people at Cooler Master.

Conclusion

If you’re seeking to pick up some thermal paste, chances are you already know a bit about building a computer. If you don’t, be sure to read up on the types of components you’re using so you can buy the very best kind of thermal paste for the job. Different pastes are used for different purposes, so don’t, for instance, purchase the Arctic MX-4 if you’re looking to overclock your system. Leave that job to the Noctua NT-H1. Using the wrong paste can lead to damage and overheating, so be sure to avoid making the wrong choice when you add a thermal paste to your online shopping cart.

When you’re looking at where to buy thermal paste, there are a wide variety of options. Look at Best Buy thermal paste while you’re there, and compare the prices to online outlets like Amazon and Newegg. Remember to carefully consider pricing and your own gaming needs. If you have the best gaming PC, for instance, you might need a paste that works better for overclocking. Other needs will require other pastes, so do your research on each one presented here before going out and buying one.

 

Source

1. Arctic Silver Official Site

2. Arctic Official Site 

3. Thermal Grizzly Official Site

4. CoolMaster Official Site

 

 

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by yeellee 
  • Last Update 21 July 2018
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