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Thermal Paste Mini-Roundup!

Thermal Paste Mini-Roundup!

Thermal Paste Mini-Roundup!

It seems that you just can’t get away from thermal paste in the hardware industry these days. Just about every heatsink manufacturer now offers some form of “premium” thermal paste product. I’ve seen some pretty lofty claims by some of these makers—“lower CPU temperatures by 3-5 degrees!” or “Drop your CPU temperature by 10%!”. That sounds great on paper, but I’ve always been very skeptical of these claims. Don’t get me wrong—I do not discount the importance of a quality thermal paste being used during HSF installation, but I’ve never really been convinced that there is enough variance between pastes to concern me.


Rather than get into a lengthy and scientific analysis on the thermal resistance of various substances, I’m going to focus strictly on hard testing data. What I hope to answer in this article is simple—are there measurable performance differences between premium grade thermal pastes? And if so, how much?

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Comments

  1. Leonardo
    Leonardo Thanks, Mike. Expect to get complaints that you did not apply each paste in accordance to a particular guide posted hither or yon. I think your methodology was sound, testing each the same way and taking pains to be consistent. That's what it's all about - comparison.

    BTW, I'm quite sure why the article states that TX-2 has been out for only six months. I've been using it for over a year.
  2. Zuntar
    Zuntar Nice review Mike, solid and to the point without all the fluff that some sites go for!

    Thanks for your hard and consistent work!!
  3. lemonlime
    lemonlime Thanks for the comments guys.

    I was a bit concerned about that too, Leo. But like you mentioned, consistency is most important when comparing paste products. With half degree deltas, I had to rely on an application method that I could reproduce over and over again. The problem with the bead and line method is that pastes with varying thickness may spread differently under mounting pressure. Spreading it as described allowed me to see exactly how thick the applied paste was.

    You are right about the TX-2 being around for over a year. Our PR rep contacted us about six months ago regarding TX-2 and I incorrectly assumed it was freshly released at that time. I corrected that statement in the review. Thanks for catching that! :)
  4. jokerz4fun
    jokerz4fun Great job Mike, I always thought they were all the same.

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