Best TIM that is easy to spread

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Parja, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What's the best easy to spread TIM these days (emphasis on easy to spread)? I've gotten to the end of my tube of Kryonaut...applying that stuff is a PITA.
     
  2. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    I use the pea method. It's worked perfectly. If you're really concerned, use a credit card or similar to spread a THIN layer on the whole surface before mounting the cooler.
     
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  3. rgMekanic

    rgMekanic [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    I'm using Hydronaut on the sig rig, I can agree, it's a pain. For the test rig we used Prolimatech PK-3, it can be tricky, but it's much easier than Hydronaut. I will say though, Kyle had told me to start pre-heating the CPU and that has worked awesome. Just turn on the system with out a HSF attached and let the CPU get warm before application.

    Do this with the amount modified for the smaller IHS.. https://www.hardocp.com/article/2018/02/19/amd_ryzen_threadripper_tim_application

     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  4. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm asking about compounds, not methods.
     
  5. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    hes saying not to worry about spreading itbecause you dont really need to unless threadrippin. mx-4 is decent, spreads fine on its own and is thin enough to schmear it around if you really want to.
     
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  6. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    Chiming in to support this - MX4 is very easy to work with and is a good performer. Not absolute top, but certainly in the "the good stuff" performance bracket.

    Noctua's paste is also easy and works well.
     
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  7. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    I've used MX-4 and NT-H1 - I prefer using NT-H1 as it's easier to clean, but MX-4 is cheaper, and probably slightly better thermally.
     
  8. DTN107

    DTN107 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Noctua NT-H1 is my go-to paste.
     
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  9. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Fwiw, I also like the Noctua TIM.
     
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  10. dragonstongue

    dragonstongue 2[H]4U

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    depending on if it has "buried" exposed, separate by slight gap etc heatpipes for me ^.^

    example on something that is "flat" (visually) I use the small "dot" center of heatspreader and the cooler when mounted I give a few small left right twist (just a smidge, I can feel it "tighten" almost like the glue sets or something)

    for the gap style pipes I do a line per pipe, razor cut excess then do small strip (wide as hair type deal) on the metal of the heatpipe where it will contact cpu, same thing, ratchet down and small left right to "set it"

    thankfully I have not once had a "full pipe" style in which the flat base might as well just be "conjoined heatpipe twins"
    LOL

    anyways.

    took me a wee bit of time, but I have a hyper 212 so I trained myself method #2 and I pretty much have always gotten 3c "hotter" when did poorly, clean up, redo sometimes I get ~5c cooler than normal (all depends on how clean was clean, moisture in air etc)

    I use MX4, my current cpu if did good job idle 22c or so, gpu good job 24-26c (bounce around)
    if did "bad job" (like stock from factory more oft than not) would be no less than 26=27c cpu and 35-40c gpu
    (same case, fans, airflow etc etc, only change, the paste)

    I used to use AS-5 (like most folks at some point) I really really like MX4 is just "gooey" enough to spread easy, easy to come back apart (if need be, but be fk careful) and cleanup is nice and quick as well (iso 50% or higher)
    pretty much "eats it" (you can see it disolve it, AS-5 more or less flakes and smears in my experience very not good when potential short things, MX4 this cannot happen, well, if made big arse mess and drop something that WILL short (metal on metal, dust can short if real unlucky) that is not their fault.
     
  11. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    I use pcb cleaner to clean heat sink compound off surfaces. It dissolves it.
     
  12. DTN107

    DTN107 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Alright you know what, the title really bothers my OCD.

    "Best easy to spread TIM"

    Shouldn't it be something like "Easiest TIM to spread?"

    Maybe "Best easy-to-spread TIM?"

    /rant
     
  13. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I really like Arctic Silver Ceramique 2. It is my go-to compound for pretty much everything now-days.

    It is a good performer, spreads really easily, and it is super easy to clean off.

    If you want the absolute best easiest-to-spread "TIM", start using those graphite pads. They are very good performers and are re-usable. No cleanup whatsoever.
    https://www.amazon.com/Innovation-Cooling-Graphite-Thermal-Pad/dp/B07CKVW18G

    See Linus' review:
     
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  14. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Updated to de-trigger your OCD. ;)
     
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  15. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    I had a big tube of AS5, but switched to a big tube of MX-4. MX-4 is great, especially for the price. Way easier to cleanup and use compared to AS5.
     
  16. wicktr0n_

    wicktr0n_ n00b

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    Gelid GC-Extreme is my go-to easy to spread, high performance paste.
     
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  17. magoo

    magoo [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Notura NT-H1. Ive used AS5 and MX4 and Ceramique and Liquid metal and even peanut butter.

    NT H1 is the easiest to work with for me.
     
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  18. Solhokuten

    Solhokuten [H]ard|Gawd

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    I use the pads on my GPU and CPU. They work pretty damn good.
     
  19. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    What about it is a PITA? Try not spreading it and let clamping pressure do the work. Kryonaut has been good to me while testing these 1366 Xeons. Very nice viscosity. That maybe be your problem? It can be sticky and stringy. Small dab about half size of rice grain spreads evenly across CPU under pressure. No spreading needed.
     
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  20. doyll

    doyll Kyle's Thermocouple is HOT

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    As others say, a small dob in midde of IHS and mount cooler letting clamping do the spreading works on most if not all normal TIM. But don't use too much and a 'pea' size dob to is way too big. I use a dob about the size of a grain of dry rice. This gives me a round print a little bigger than CPU die under IHS .. if CPU has a larger CPU die a dob the size of a cooked grain of rice mght be needed. Key is to have metal to metal contact with TIM only filling the voids between the 2 two crystalline stuctured metal surfaces .. and of course other space if 2 surfaces don't match up to each other.

    We need to keep in mind:
    The IHS on the CPU is there to spread the mounting pressure to the edges of CPU socket, not to spread heat.

    Even more important, we need to remember:
    Copper is rated 400 W/m K
    TIM is only rated about 5.1-10 W/mK
    Air is only rated for 0.024 W/mk​
    So the more metal to metal contact we have .. the result of thinnest TIM spread over CPU die .. the better the heat transfer is from CPU die through IHS and into cooler base.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  21. RazorWind

    RazorWind 2[H]4U

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    I bought a tube of Kryonaut the other day, when I noticed I was almost out of AS5. I was kind of surprised, given how runny it seems to be, that it requires a great deal of mounting pressure to get it to spread out all the way. I find I kinda have to help it, or I get circular spot in the middle, and no coverage at the corners of the chip.

    I've been using it on the heatsinks in my GTX 690 resurrection thread, and it's surprisingly difficult to get it to cover the entire GPU die. I'm not terribly worried, since I really just need to test those for basic "do they produce a picture" level function, but I could see it being a pain with a full coverage water block.
     
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  22. DTN107

    DTN107 [H]ardness Supreme

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    +1 on letting the clamping pressure do the work. Spread method doesn't fill up the air gaps.

     
  23. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    Yep. Smaller CPUs just a dab in the middle and let the mounting pressure do its thing. Threadripper is a whole other animal.
     
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  24. thecold

    thecold Limp Gawd

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    In the last 3 month's I've used these

    Diamond IC I hate this

    I'd use any of the below

    Arctic Ceramique 2
    Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut
    Artic MX 4
     
  25. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    For a CPU with a heatspreader, that's fine.

    But on a large, bare GPU die, I don't trust the pressure spread method. Spreading Kryonaut on a GPU sucks balls. It just keeps gobbing up and won't spread.

    I bought some MX-4 for lower priority applications. That stuff spreads awesome in all situations and it's cheap for a big tube.

    Also picked up some of Noctua's new NT-H2. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet, though.
     
  26. DTN107

    DTN107 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Also whenever I am out of Noctua paste, I would use Antec Formula 7 nano diamond ($10 at bestbuy) as my back-up paste. Seems pretty solid and on par with other good paste. Easy to apply and remove as well.

    Though I don't see it bestbuy anymore but rather I see some iffy Insignia paste and this new Corsair TM30 paste.

    I wonder who supplies Corsair thermal paste? I know in the past that their AIOs with Astek were using Shin Estu paste.

    I don't see any review comparisons on google, but perhaps that is because the world of thermal paste has kinda gone stale.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  27. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    So I all of a sudden remembered to post in this thread. Got a replacement 1080 Ti back from RMA after the pump died on mine. Temps were looking a little high, so I pulled the block and redid the TIM with the NT-H2. That stuff is a dream to spread, and temps dropped about 5C.
     
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  28. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    Nt h1 by noctua or gelid gc extreme are my go to pastes. Both are very easy to apply and will self level if you use too much, and both are non conductive.
     
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  29. chameleoneel

    chameleoneel 2[H]4U

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    Gelid GC Extreme is the best. Its always top 3 in review tests, spreads easy, stays wet forever, no cure time. I've used it for videocards, CPU heatsinks, re-lidding a 7600k....its great stuff.

    I did recently decide to try Scythe's paste, as I had some which came with my Mugen 5. I used it on a laptop. Definitely better than the stock paste. Compared to GC Extreme, its thicker and had a cure time. However, reviews show it placing pretty high. Not too far off GC Extreme.
     
  30. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    GC Extreme isn't terrible to spread. The NT-H2 is night and day easier, though. Seriously. This stuff is like cheapy silicone paste easy to spread.
     
  31. freeagentt

    freeagentt n00b

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    In the last year and a half I've used AS5, Chill Factor 3, and now I am using TF8. Spreads easy, sets up fairly quick, and is supposed to be better than Kryonaut. I would have to say its the best paste I've used so far. I used AS5 since Socket A lol.

    I did try Ceramique, NTH1, ICD7, and I think I might be it.. When I get a few extra bucks I will order some TFX to try.