Thermal Paste Shootout - Q209 @ [H]

TheMead

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
96
I understand why such a substance would be needded, but I loath applying the stuff to my system since I tend to get it onto my fingers and eventually it works it's way onto a piece of clothing, smeared onto component or something else. As someone who has lived by the Ron Popeil coined slogan "set it and forget it" whet it comes to thermal paste, It opens my eyes that I might need to re-apply thermal paste besides on the ultra rare occasion I would remove the heat sink from the motherboard.

So I understand that this community and website revolves around the Upper crust of PC hardware society, but how about suggesting a thermal paste that is best to apply to a computer and leave in place for the lifetime of the systems? You know for a system that might be in use for half a decade or more, where the most hardware maintenance would be to lug it outside and spray it out with compressed air?
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
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Messages
49,869
Kyle...where was the editing on the spelinng errrs..??
If you would care to point them out to me I will happily get them fixed. This is where you can step up your part in our community by helping out with lending an extra pair of eyes. We do understand that we miss things and we fully appreciate help in fixing in them rather than just fielding comments that offer no help whatsoever.
 

sephkeene

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Messages
95
I was trying to be funny...but...grap this one...Loved the Article...

Also, we wanted to share our data with the community. You can grap the Excel file from here in a zip. Feel free to use this data for your own graphs or articles, all we ask in return is that you give us a link in your article and please send it to us. We always like to see how others represent the data and what can be mined from it. Thanks!

I had another one, but I've lost it now...

Great job nonetheless.
 
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Menelmarar

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2001
Messages
5,472
The cheese is funny. But a better and more interesting control group test may have been no thermal paste. Bare metal on metal. *shrug*

I'd be curious anyway.
 

Crosshairs

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
24,270
Nice write up...thanks for the time invested


Edit:
I just wanted to add, I have used the shin-etsu and its great paste, but I find it very difficult to apply...it seems to be very "stiff" and I found it hard to get a good application...
Maybe I got a bad tube, but when I had to redo my chip, I just went back to AS-5....its was so much easier to apply.
 

ALL4AMD

I Go to Court for Fun.
Joined
Jun 5, 2002
Messages
7,072
I would like to see what effect running without any paste would do with a HSF mounted to the CPU

 

v0rtic3s-x

n00bie
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
38
AS5 (silver-based) degrades? You sure about that?

I've used AS5 since it's release, and I've had it on a system for 2+ years that was usually on for twelve hours a day, for work and gaming. When I finally changed-out the CPU, the AS5 was still in a smooth layer on the CPU and heatsink base. I never use the drop method either, and my temps are always super-low.

I've never noticed any degradation on any system, even high-end gaming rigs in which I only have changed-out the CPU probably after 1.5 years, but it's worrisome to hear if it is a possibility. I hate messing with my systems once they've been running solid for a period of time.

Would temp rise be the first indicator of degradation? I've never experienced this, but if others have, I'm wondering if I should check my two newer higher-end gaming/art rigs after a year to check again...
 
Joined
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3,441
My teeth are much whiter and brighter since using AS-5. :D

Good review. Applying paste can be a mystery for some and this addresses a lot of those concerns.
 

Aielman

n00b
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
53
That is a very cool review. The groove for the thermocouple is brilliant. I was feeling like I'd try it as I read the pdf until I got to the soder instructions. I'm not that confident in my soddering skills, heh.
 

Riccochet

Fully [H]
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Apr 11, 2007
Messages
23,776
Would like to have seen LM Pro as well.

Really nice write up though. Good read!
 

Sacrilego

Lurker
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Jul 26, 2004
Messages
346
Very nice review, now I know that when it comes to it, it's not really all that diffrent in temps, especially when not overclocking.
This was the real deal Thin-Cut deli sliced American cheese...mmmmmmmm ...
I hope you guys "cut it" at the end of all the testing :p
 

ShagnWagn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,233
You forgot to lick the cheese. Its ok, rookie mistake.
fixed. :D

Thanks for the review. I'm still using a tube of AS3 I bought way back with my Athlon 1.2ghz... I think it's about out and I'm building two new systems this week. Great timing.
 

BladeVenom

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 29, 2005
Messages
7,707
American Cheese? Everyone knows cream cheese is better and easier to apply.
 

Bo_Fox

[H]ard|Gawd
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Aug 23, 2006
Messages
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I use a combination of Tuniq TX-2 and Thermalright Chillfactor. Since Chillfactor is a bit too runny (white stuff), I just spread it around on a very thin layer, in a circle around the center. Then I drop a pea-sized amount of TX-2 in the middle. Works the BEST for me, especially on my wife's rig that is a vertical tower.

Already having so many TIM's like AS-3, AS-5, Ceramique, etc.., I would like to try out MX-2 and OCZ Freeze, but MX-2 seems way too similar to TR Chillfactor (probably 98% identical with the ingredients), and OCZ Freeze also seems identical to Tuniq TX-2 in terms of ingredients, fluidity, and curing time.

LOL @ the cheese!!! Didn't the cheese fry itself and become hardened? Was it hard cleaning up the mess that leaked out???
 

F1N3ST

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
184
Thats the only review I ever actually like laughed at I think, also, I heard OCZ Freeze is great, but seeing how low the shin-etsu went I doubt it could beat that.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Yeah I've used that stuff many times. You gave me a little jar of it with my first review kit and I still have some of it.
Heh, what else did this kit of Kyle's include? A cardboard box of death perhaps? :D

Awesome work though, that sure took a lot of time but it's nice to have updated results on something that's just not tested/reviewed as often anymore. Guess I've got a few options once my current tube of AS5 runs out...

So I understand that this community and website revolves around the Upper crust of PC hardware society, but how about suggesting a thermal paste that is best to apply to a computer and leave in place for the lifetime of the systems? You know for a system that might be in use for half a decade or more, where the most hardware maintenance would be to lug it outside and spray it out with compressed air?
If you're not overclocking or anything, you can probably set most of these and leave 'em on a system for 3 years or so w/o really worrying about it, I doubt it'd degrade to the point where you'd see any more than a 3-4C degradation in performance after several years (and that wouldn't mean much on a system running stock speeds).
 

vengence

Level capped
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Messages
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If you're not overclocking or anything, you can probably set most of these and leave 'em on a system for 3 years or so w/o really worrying about it, I doubt it'd degrade to the point where you'd see any more than a 3-4C degradation in performance after several years (and that wouldn't mean much on a system running stock speeds).
Most of these actually improve over time. Note the graph from the article. They all improve over time as they literally cure.

 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
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Well, they improved over the span of a 5-day period or however long it was, as the paste cured and settled into every nook and cranny, after a couple of years they can degrade for any number of other reasons though.
 

Bansin

Limp Gawd
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May 28, 2008
Messages
152
Artic Silver 5.
Additionally, A.S. 5 is not electrically conductive which means you won’t short out your motherboard if it drips off the CPU. Be warned though A.S. 5 is slightly capacitive and may bridge electrical paths if they are in very close proximity. You’ve been warned.


You state that it is not conductive but it is slightly capacitive.

Conductive is transfering electricity.

Capacitive is storing a charge.

Now if it can bridge electrical paths, isn't that conductive? What does capacitive exactly mean if the paste isn't conductive? How is it bridging the paths? Looking for a science lesson here.
 

vengence

Level capped
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Artic Silver 5.




You state that it is not conductive but it is slightly capacitive.

Conductive is transfering electricity.

Capacitive is storing a charge.

Now if it can bridge electrical paths, isn't that conductive? What does capacitive exactly mean if the paste isn't conductive? How is it bridging the paths? Looking for a science lesson here.
Lets look at heat instead of electricity. You can have a material that does not transfer large amounts of heat (an insulator) but still have a large specific heat. Asbestos for example, can hold the same amount of KJ/Kg as Aluminum, however it will take roughly 1000 times longer to transfer 1KJ across the same temperature differential. AS-5 is the same with electricity. It can hold a large charge, but will take a long time to discharge that charge. You are probably not going to fry anything like a short would, however you could have components temporarily stop working.
 

WarMace

Gawd
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
962
Thank you for all your hard work. When I am not actively building, I skip all the "Letter Letter Letter Numbers" hardware reviews. This one caught me and held my attention. Bravo!

I would like to see more basic component reviews, such as:

Case fans - do they meet their advertised CFM? will they burn out when restricted? Noise levels?

or

Fan Filters: Who reigns king?
 

vengence

Level capped
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Well, they improved over the span of a 5-day period or however long it was, as the paste cured and settled into every nook and cranny, after a couple of years they can degrade for any number of other reasons though.
IIRC, Artic silver says 200 Hours to fully "break in". (200 hours till the matrix is fully formed) I've seen nothing about degradation over time with it, and I've looked as we looked into using it on some products at work. I don't know as much about the other products that were featured.

Honestly, I don't know many people who use a computer for longer than 4 years. :shrug:
 
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Impulse

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
10,232
CFM and dbA ratings on case fans are notoriously fudged a lot, since there's really no standard to measure and report those (distance, etc.). The boards over at www.silentpcreview.com used to be a great resource for finding the absolute best ones, asking how they perform when undervolted, etc. Filters I doubt you really need to go do a review on, if it feels like it's restricting too much air then it's no good, if it doesn't stop enough dust then you need something better, heh.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
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IIRC, Artic silver says 200 Hours to fully "break in". (200 hours till the matrix is fully formed) I've seen nothing about degradation over time with it, and I've looked as we looked into using it on some products at work. I don't know as much about the other products that were featured.

Honestly, I don't know many people who use a computer for longer than 4 years. :shrug:
Really? I know plenty of people still using machines as old as P3 933MHz (that'd be 10 years old, ish), office work and such, they have absolutely no need for something better so as long as it doesn't die there's no reason to upgrade 'em. Not all of those were OEM rigs either, there's a P3 at home that I built and my dad still uses too, I upgraded the RAM a few years ago but that's about it.
 

Blackforge

Gawd
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Nov 16, 2004
Messages
711
Careful with that Ceramique if you use the thin layer method. It gets VERY sticky after awhile. I had it yank out a locked down Athlon 3800x2 out of the socket of an AsRock Socket 939 board. I even slowly twisted it off as recommended. I about crapped myself when it happened and seeing all those bent pins.. :( I was able to straighten them all out and the processor still worked... but still...

As a result I don't use the thin layer method anymore for any paste. I just used OCZ Freeze on my Core i7 build. Pretty good so far.
 
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commissioneranthony

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2008
Messages
1,135
Two things:
-well, it would have been even better if a control was introduced into the experiment, such as the cpu and bare metal heatsink.
-In addition, the beginning conclusion paragraph on page 5 was composed of very incoherent sentences which are in dire need of repair, reproduced below:

Word omission fixed, thanks. - Kyle
 
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