Choosing the right thermal paste can increase performance but you have to use it the right way
Our Top 3 Choices
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste – 1.0 Gram
ARCTIC MX-4 Carbon Based High Performance Thermal Compound Paste
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Thermal Grease Paste – 1.0 Gram
Heat management is an extremely important thing to take into consideration when you are focusing on the maintenance of your computer. Heat in excessive amount can turn out to be a destructive death spell for sensitive components of your PC.
And if you are involved in it’s overclocking it can be a bigger issue. That is why thermal pastes are used to cool off your system and disperse the heat.
What this grayish material does actually is it conducts all the heat from GPU and CPU and disperses it into the cooler and heat sink. You will get almost 10 degrees lower temperature as a result, which depends completely on the quality of the thermal compound you are using for your PC’s components.
Some coolers and heat sinks seem to perfectly fit your computer’s processor; the thermal compound is still needed to fill up all those microscopic spaces between the components, in order to improve the overall performance of your PC.
Thermal paste is also called heat paste, CPU grease, thermal gunk, TIM, heat sink paste, heat sink compound, thermal gel, thermal compound, or thermal interface material.
How Much Thermal Paste Should I Apply
Learning how to apply thermal paste rightly is one of the basics of computer cooling. Choosing the best thermal paste according to the needs of your PC and applying it properly can considerably perk up the performance of your GPU or CPU and help you maintain the right temperature.
Selecting the wrong kind of thermal compound and a bad application technique can worsen the performance capabilities of your CPU.
However, if you are planning to overclock your computer, try getting a thermal compound which is composed primarily of gold, copper or silver. These are the conductive metals that are commonly used in the best thermal compound.
The first step after choosing the right kind of paste for your PC is to clean the surface heat sink and CPU. Wipe the entire surface with a light hand using a cotton swab or ball dampened partially with isopropyl alcohol. If you use a higher percentage of alcohol the results will be better. 70 percent usage is considered good but it is best to go for 90 percent.
Then sand the processor and heat sink surfaces if needed. The two touching surfaces should be flat, which eventually eliminates the need for using thermal paste. If the heat sink base you are using is rough, you can use emery cloth or fine grit paper to make it smoother.
Then place a minute drop of thermal paste to the middle of the cooler base. The bead of the compound should always be smaller than a grain of rice or BB. If you have read somewhere that it should be pea-sized, then according to experts that is too much of paste, which will make you end up with paste on the motherboard of your PC.
If you are applying the thermal paste on circular coolers then there is no need for you to spread the paste, as the stress of being applied will extend it evenly across the entire surface. One needs to be extremely careful and avoid spilling the paste on the metal links of the motherboard while applying the thermal paste.
Some thermal pastes also come along with a tool for an application like a brush which can be used to spread the paste evenly. If you are dealing with a liquid metal paste, then, in that case, spreading the compound is not really necessary at all.
How to Remove and Reapply the Thermal (Heat Sink) Paste
If you want to remove the old thermal paste, and you are wondering how to do that the answer is quite a simple one, you can use 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove it. It is the only effective tool used to clean thermal paste off CPU, processor surface and heat sink.
Carefully pour some isopropyl alcohol on the part that you want to clean, just let it sit there for a while and wait for its magic to happen, then wipe it off with a fresh piece of cloth.
There is no specific time limit after which you are supposed to detach your CPU cooler, get rid of the old thermal paste, and apply the new one. There will be no changes in the performance even after a whole year or two.
It is just that, simply cleaning your PC and its components are very beneficial than you can always re-apply the paste. The change of paste is not required unless it has been more than five years.
Best Non-capacitive Thermal Pastes
There are many different kinds of thermal paste found in the market; you are supposed to choose a compound according to the requirements of your PC. These kinds include ceramic, metal, silicon, and carbon-based.
The metal paste is suggested to be the most effective heat conductor among all kinds, but the drawback is that it is capacitive. Here I am listing down some best non-capacitive thermal pastes which are as follows:
Arctic MX-4: Best Carbon-based Thermal Paste
Arctic MX-4 is the most popular thermal paste available in the market today due to its remarkable thermal performance and extremely amazing price.
The compound is grease based and contains carbon particles, which produce thermal conductivity of about 8.5 W/mK. It doesn’t contain any metallic particle, so you won’t have to stress over electrical conductivity problems. The performance of the paste will stay the same over time.
When it comes to price Arctic MX-4 is quite affordable. It comes in a syringe device which makes the application process quite easy. It doesn’t require any setting time so you can easily set the cooler instantly after applying it. The Arctic offers pocket friendly innovation to its users that is why it is called the best CPU thermal paste.
The downside with this thermal paste is that it is not that effective for you if you are an overclocker. You will have to look for a sturdy thermal paste to cover that additional workload caused by overclocking. It weighs around 0.14 ounces. Its dimensions are 5.9 x 1.2 x 2.8 in.
Noctua NT-H1: Great thermal Paste for Overclocking
It is a ceramic-based thermal paste. It works quite well for OC. Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste typically comes along with Noctua’s art coolers. This thermal compound can also be purchased separately, and when it comes to its performance it won’t disappoint you at all.
It is a hybrid thermal compound. It contains different particles that maximize stability and lessen thermal resistance in the long-term. Its max out the temperature of operation ranges around 50 – 1100C. It has been priced very reasonably.
The only thing you may be troubled about is that it is drier and thicker than most of the other thermal pastes. The application process is extremely simple and it doesn’t need settling time. This product works ideally for overclocking.
Arctic Silver 5: 99.9% Silver Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 comes in as an incredible option when compared to the above mentioned thermal compounds. It performs amazingly due to the presence of 99.9 percent micronized silver in its composition.
It was the Thermal paste best buy at a certain point before some newer products touched the market. Even though it contains micronized silver, it does not conduct electricity. It can produce a thermal conductivity of about 8.7 W/mK.
One of its drawbacks is that it requires some time to settle into the CPU, which means it will only start working after several hours of its application. It is a quite affordable product and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It weighs around 1.44 ounces. Its dimensions are 4.7 x 1.6 x 0.8 inches.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut: The Best High-End Ceramic Tim
Thermal grizzly kryonaut is a ceramic based thermal paste. Performance wise it is quite good. The only problem with this product is that it is quite expensive. Not everyone can afford using it.
You will surely notice the temperature on your CPU and GPU drop a few degrees after using it. If you can cut off to 2-3 degrees C by spending a little bit more on this premium product it surely will add up for the better. It is labeled as the best CPU thermal paste by most of its users. It works quite better than all the other brands.
This is probably good for 3 to 4 applications. It comes along with a plastic applicator which makes the application part a lot easier. Instructions also come along packaged with it in a small foil and airtight sealed bag.
Best Liquid Metal Thermal Compound
As the name suggests that liquid metal thermal compound is an innovation in the thermal paste technology. It is composed of liquid ingredients, which very successfully smooth out and fill all the tiny pores and gaps, something which is only possible to a very partial extent when it comes to conventional thermal pastes due to their composition of solid particles.
The most significant factor to evaluate the performance of a thermal compound is its thermal conductivity. The liquid metal heat-conducting paste is made out of metals, which makes it superior when compared to all the other alternative pastes for example solid oxide or silicon based pastes like silver.
It possesses an unparallel thermal conductivity of about 73 W/mK. However applying the compound is a little tricky, once you have roughened the surface use a small brush to apply the liquid in the form of drops on the surface. Try to avoid spilling it on the motherboard.
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut: The Best Thermal Paste for GPU and CPU Overclocking
Thermal grizzly conductonaut is a metal based thermal paste and performance wise it is one of its kinds. It comes along with a very handy 1.0 gram syringe, which makes this thermal paste extremely easy to apply.
It delivers the best possible heat transfer for large scale cooling systems. It is specifically designed for application where heat dissipation is of significant importance. It is the most popular choice among experienced PC builders.
It offers a thermal conductivity of 73 W/mk. Avoid using it with aluminum because it will dissolve it. It weighs around 0.16 ounces. Its dimensions are 0.5 x 3.9 x 7.1 inches.
This buyer’s guide was specifically designed to facilitate all the PC users who are constantly looking to buy the best products to improve the efficiency of their systems.
If you wish to choose Best thermal paste for CPU then you should weigh all the pros and cons of each and every thermal paste, check your PC’s requirements, consider your budget and then choose whichever brand suits all of your requirements.
If you are wondering where can I buy thermal paste? Then you can order all the above listed products directly from Amazon.