Looking for the best thermal paste?
But, don’t know how to choose the perfect one and what you should look for??
Well, in this post I am reviewing top 8 best thermal compounds along with buying the guide. This will help you to select the perfect one as per your needs.
If you are building a gaming PC then cooling system is important. So, if you want to keep cool your system then consider buying a case fan. Also, apply thermal paste to run your system smooth. A good quality paste can help you to reduce the temperature of your PC.
Everyone who builds their own computers for quite a while knows what I am talking about here. However, if you are new to this, it can be pretty confusing to you. That’s why I have also written a thermal paste buying guide. So, read this full guide to become an expert.
Best Thermal Paste 2018
|Noctua Nt-H1 (Editor’s Choice)||Compound||8.9W/mK|
|ARCTIC MX-4 (Editor’s Choice)||Compound||8.5W/mK|
|Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme||Compound||8.5 W/mK|
|Arctic Silver 5||Compound||8.9W/mK|
|EGC Thermal Paste||Compound||5.15 W/mk|
|Cooler Master HTK-002-U1||Compound||11W/mK|
|Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra||Compound||38.4W/mK|
1. Noctua Nt-H1 – Best For Overclocking (Editor’s Choice)
Are you looking for the thermal paste for overclocking?
If your answer is yes then go for Noctua Nt-H1. Noctua Nt-H1 is the best thermal paste for overclocking.
A few months back I rebuild one of my old PC and I applied this paste. Before applying, my desktop was idling around 70°C and card 90°C. After applying this paste the result is impressive, around 47°C and 82°C under full load.
The best part about the Noctua Nt-H1 Thermal Compound is its durability and great performance. You can be sure that it will last you many years with a smooth performance.
The thermal paste was manufactured in a way so that it can be ideal for compressor cooling systems and liquid cooling systems. Therefore, if you have a compressed cooling system and liquid cooling system, this one is your best friend.
Note: Noctua recommended the storage time of this product up to 2 years (before use).
2. ARCTIC MX-4 – Carbon Based High Performance Paste
In my opinion, the ARCTIC MX-4 is arguably the best Carbon-based thermal compound I have seen ever after Noctua Nt-H1. The brand Arctic is also well-known popular brand and I have added another model of Arctic Silver 5 in this list.
It is Carbon Based High-Performance thermal paste.
The product has an 8.5 W/mK conductivity rating. That is a bit lower than its predecessor. It does not contain any metal such as silver as well.
However, despite all of its shortcomings, the thermal paste gives a better performance than the Arctic Silver 5.
It is not electrically conductive, therefore, you don’t have to worry about short circuits. The product is compatible with nitrogen, liquid, air coolers, and compression.
You can even tackle overlock temperatures without any trouble
3. Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme – Good For Laptop
One of the thermal paste that would be best suited for anyone is the Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme.
The product, despite its low conductivity ratings, has a better performance than the Krayonaut thermal paste, which is a very good one. It has a lower price tag as well.
The temperatures this product delivers are similar to that of thermal pastes of higher conductivity ratings such as Krayonaut with 12.5 W/mK conductivity rating. The Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme holds a conductivity rating of 8.5 W/mK.
Just like the aforementioned product, this one is also not electrically conductive. This adds to its safety as there are no risks of short circuits
4. Arctic Silver 5 – Alternative Best Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 is another best thermal compound that I can suggest you. The thermal paste has an 8.9 W/mK conductivity rating. The rating is the same with many of the newer products that are out there on the market.
Contains fine silver particle, which is an excellent heat dissipator. As a result, you will get much higher thermal conductivity. You can use it on liquid-based systems and compressed based systems even it being a metallic thermal paste. The reason behind it is the product does not contract or expand after it has been set.
Even though the product is non-electrically conductive, it can cause short circuits. The reason behind is the silver particles
Arctic Mx-4 vs Arctic Silver 5 (Quick Comparison)
|Specs||ARCTIC MX-4||Arctic Silver 5|
|Types||Non-electrical conductive||Non-electrical conductive|
|Thermal Conductivity||8.5 W/(mK)||8.9 (W/mK)|
|Buy on Amazon|
5. EGC High-Performance Thermal Paste – Good For CPU Heatsinks
The EGC High-Performance Thermal Paste is another good paste you can buy right now. It is best suited for the people who are only starting on the work of building their own computers.
This thermal compound is suitable for CPU heatsinks. So, if you are looking for this purpose then you can go for this paste.
The thermal conductivity rating of the product is 5.15 W/mK.
This thermal compound icludes 45% Carbon Compounds, 45% Matal Oxide Compounds and 10% Silicone Compounds.
6. Cooler Master HTK-002-U1 – High Performance Paste
If you are looking for a best High Performance Thermal Paste from Cooler Master then I would recommend Cooler Master HTK-002-U1.
The product is perfectly suitable for chipsets, Processor, on Mainboard, VGA card, etc. The best part is you can use it easily and it’s come up with cheap price.
It has a vast range of application temperature. The thermal paste has a ZIF socket template. This socket template helps you to apply paste correctly on any CPU socket types.
It has amazing heat transfer and heat dissipate capabilities. It can handle temperatures of up to 177-degree Celcius or 350 F.
High thermal conductivity can tackle even immense overclocking conditions with ease. So, you don’t need to too much worry when you are overclocking.
So, I would say this is another best alternative thermal paste for overclocking.
Has a vast range of application temperature, giving you more control.
7. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut – Thermal Grease Paste
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is a best liquid metal thermal compound suitable for experienced users. If heat dissipation is your primary concern, this product is definitely made for you.
Brilliant 73 W/mK thermal conductivity rating makes it good enough for any job that comes in its field.
It helps your cooler and processor efficient in tackle overclocking problems.
The thermal paste is not compatible with aluminum. The reason behind this is the presence of gallium in the paste. The product can cause short circuits, it is suggested to use it with caution
8. Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra – Best Liquid Paste:
Another big player in the game, Coollaboratory, has a nice product under their belt. This is the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Paste. It is a best thermal compound for liquid cooling.
It delivers the high-temperature performance similar to that of liquid metal. However, it is much easier to install adding to its benefits. Also, the product is extremely safe to use.
High conductivity rating of 38.4 W/mK. As a result, it can transfer it with ease even while it is on overlock sessions.
The Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Paste is easy to install and use. Not compatible with compressed based systems and liquid-based systems, as well as with aluminum
Thermal Paste Buying Guide – Things You Must Know
What is Thermal Paste?
A Thermal Paste is a paste that is used to fill in all the microscopic imperfections between two objects, that can trap air in them, so as to help in achieving better heat conduction. It is normally used between a GPU/CPU and a heat sink.
Functions of Thermal Paste
Air is a very poor conductor of electricity. A Thermal Paste is mostly used to remove air gaps, which may act as thermal insulators, so as to maximize heat transfer between two objects. It is not used to add mechanical strength between two objects. Thermal Paste conducts heat almost 100 times better than air. But, Thermal Paste is not as good a conductor as copper. And Thermal Paste should be applied in limited quantity. If overused, it will reduce the ability of the heat sink to cool properly.
Conductive vs non-conductive thermal paste
Thermal Paste is of two types:
- Conductive Thermal Paste
- Non-conductive Thermal Paste
Conductive ones are considered to be the superior ones but they are more prone to accidents like electrical shorts if applied on the electrical pathways on the circuit board or applied to the microprocessor’s pin. Aluminum-based, copper based and silver based greases are called conductive thermal paste.
Non-conductive ones mostly include Silicone and Zinc Thermal Greases. They are a non-conductor of electricity and are substantially cheaper than the conductive ones.
Types of Thermal Paste:
As we discuss above conductive and non-conductive thermal greases. There are different types of thermal paste like Metal-based, Ceramic-based, Carbon-based and Silicon-based greases you can see available on the market. Now let me explain all types of pastes.
The metal-based thermal paste contains solid metal including (silver, aluminum) particles and are mostly gray in color. They are the best for lowering temperatures but they are also a conductor of electricity. So there is a major drawback, if spilled onto the CPU pins or motherboard by accident, it may lead to a short circuit and they tend to be more expensive (especially those with silver content).
The Ceramic-based thermal compounds are non-conductive and usually light gray to white in color. Its a suspension of silicone compound which contains ceramic powder. Zinc oxide and Aluminum Oxide are mostly used as ingredients for ceramic powder. These are not top of the line performers but are adequate for day to day operations and are quite cheap. The biggest advantage of using them is that they are non-conductors of electricity, so there is no risk of electric damage.
Being equipped with some uncommon materials like graphene oxide, carbon particles or even diamond powder sometimes, it is the costliest one and the least common. This types of paste offer superior heat transfer and safe fool-proof application. They are a non-conductor of electricity, hence safe to use. Carbon-based paste work just as well as metal based ones in lowering temperatures and they can last for almost eight years, once applied.
It is white in color and is non-conductive and waterproof in nature. It is mostly used for its heat transferring abilities rather than for friction reduction. They are usually embedded on thermal pads that directly attach to either the processor or the heat sink. It is the worst performing Thermal Paste. Example- PTI-G3606 is a silicon-based Thermal Paste
Which types of thermal paste are best?
Choosing the right thermal paste for your computer can be a difficult task. It depends upon the type of the computer that it’s going to be applied to, and the skill set of the person performing the task of applying it. For general users, it’s suggested that they ignore the liquid-based pastes. Metal-based pastes are dangerous for inexperienced users.
Liquid-based pastes normally contain metal bits in their solution which means that even a drop of it is enough to destroy your processor and nullify your product warranty. Once spilled, it’s almost certain that it will have some damage done. Newbies should generally stick to silicon-based or ceramic-based pastes.
The choice of Paste depends on the following factors-
- Price of the paste.
- The lifespan of the paste.
- Quantity of the paste
- Viscosity and Ease of Installation
So, In conclude If you do multitasking, play high-end games and your PC temperature increase then you must buy a best thermal paste to get rid of this problem. A good quality paste can improve your PC performance and helps to decrease temperature.
So, these are the top thermal paste dominating the market. In summary, If you are looking for the thermal compound for overclocking then go for Noctua Nt-H1. ARCTIC MX-4 is the best overall compound that I have been using for my secondary PC since 2014. Arctic Silver 5 would be another great option for you. Make sure you buy only quality paste. Don’t go for cheap.