Which is the Best Thermal Paste? – 2015 (Update)

The thermal paste comparison update you have been waiting for! Next update to follow sometime in 2016!

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Which is the Best Thermal Paste? - 2015 (Update) 5

Which is the Best Thermal Paste? – 2015 (Update) – August

Due to many requests by readers, followers and even some companies wanting their pastes to be included in our comparison, we decided to do an updated “Which is the best thermal paste” article.  The previous article can be found here – http://www.play3r.net/reviews/cooling/thermal-paste-comparison-2015-best-thermal-paste/

We have added the following pastes to our graphs and tested them using the same methods as the previous comparison:

– TOP SECRET X (Sorry, it’s NDA)
Cooler Master E1
Cooler Master E2
Arctic Silver 5
Prolimatech PK1
– Phanteks TH-NDC (Supplied with Phanteks coolers)

We also re-tested a couple of other thermal pastes based on readers questions, discussions and disagreements; we like to do what the people want!

Click each thermal paste below to purchase or learn more about the particular paste on test from the previous article – http://www.play3r.net/reviews/cooling/thermal-paste-comparison-2015-best-thermal-paste/!

Akasa Pro-Grade 460
Arctic Ceramique 2

Arctic MX2

be quiet! DC1

Coollaboratory Liquid Copper

Coollaboratory Liquid Pro

Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
Cooler Master Generic
EKWB Ectotherm
Gelid GC Extreme
Generic
IC Diamond 7 Carat
JunPus D9000

JunPus DX1

Noctua NT-H1

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut

Thermalright CF III

Xigmatek PTI

XSPC K2

Test Setup

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K (3.9GHz @1.1v & 4.5GHz @1.25v)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 OC Formula
RAM: Kingston GSkill TridentX 2400MHz 8GB (2x4GB)
PSU: Cooler Master V1200 1200w Platinum
OS: Windows 7 Premium 64 bit

Testing Methodology:

As each thermal paste requires different curing times, different bedding in times, it made testing each thermal paste quite an arduous task in terms of time; no fear, taking our time is what Play3r does best and the following method was devised for the testing, something each of the thermal pastes had to go through prior to obtaining results.

Step 1 – Applying each thermal paste by each of the manufacturers recommended methods; where no methods were given, common sense and experience comes into play.

Step 2 – Running the test system for 24hrs with a run of Prime95’s torture test for an hour to help cure the paste in; some don’t need curing, but tough, we did it anyway!

Step 3 – After 24hrs, I ran Prime95 for 30 minutes on each of the following settings saved from BIOS; 3.9GHz @ 1.1v and 4.5GHz @ 1.25v; this is to give a completely level playing field

Step 4 – Delta temperatures were taken due to any variance in ambient temperatures; British weather can be a marvellous thing and be cold and wet one day, to warm and sunny the other. Bare this in mind when reading our results. Delta temperature is core temperature minus ambient temperature which is believed to give more consistent results, some will disagree, but I prefer this method.

With the test setup noted, the entire testing methodology being laid out in an understandable and tedious way, it’s time to see who reigns king…

Thermal Paste Comparison Results

Lower is better

Lower is better

Final Words

It’s quite apparent that Coollaboratory with their Liquid Ultra and Pro compounds are king of the castle in terms of cooling performance, although these do have their pitfalls and some people prefer to go elsewhere.  The main issue with Liquid metal is it is quite abrasive and personally, I have found it removes CPU information which is indented into the IHS; it becomes a problem if you like to know which CPU you are installing prior to booting up etc.

With the addition of a few thermal pastes, the TOP SECRET X compound does very well and is nearly comparable to IC Diamond 7 Carat; one of the pastes which we re-tested due to sour plums from their company rep.  I guess it paid off for them as they gained a degree or 2 and moved up the charts a little, but it isn’t a precedent which we intend to set, but we felt we should give it another chance at least.  Like the liquid metal options, it does cause abrasion too so bear that in mind before purchasing it.

The Cooler Master E1 and E2 also do very well in our charts, which gives us a trend that the metallic pastes tend to do a little better than ceramique/creamy compounds etc.  The E1 is made from silver with the E2 using gold as its substance of choice and both with their merits, the E2 does outperform the E1 in our tests.

So what’s the verdict?  Well the graphs speak for themselves, but there is always new compounds coming to the market to challenge the stalwarts such as Arctic Silver 5, MX-2 etc, but it isn’t often one can change one’s preference without showing a noticeable difference, not only in performance but in application to.  What will come around in 2016 to rival the industry leaders and will any come close to Coollaboratory?  Only time will tell!

If there are any thermal pastes you would like to see in the graphs which have not already been included, leave a comment below on the article!

If you are a company and would like us to take a look at your thermal interface/compound, feel free to contact us via our contact form! Or you can CLICK HERE!

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  • Hi,
    Nice article since most of the top ones aren’t available in India I still use the Arctic Silver 5 and believe me it never lets me down even with an Intel i7 5930K OC at 4.6Ghz and ambient temp 30°C

    • Gavin Bonshor

      Really nice temps! Isn’t there Amazon deliveries in India?

  • Kevin

    So when does the NDA for “top secret x” run out so we can get a name?

    • Sorry, there’s no date for the NDA – just keep an eye out for an update 🙂

  • Discrepancies in mounting can result in vastly different results.

    I suggest at LEAST 5 separate mounts for reach compound, and the average of the temperatures for those 5 mounts.

    • Gavin Bonshor

      So 5 x 24hrs testing for each thermal compound then? Might take a while? lol

  • AI

    Another one for you to test. TIM Consultants Quantum: http://www.tim-consultants.com/matrix2.html

    Extremely cheap and in my testing it works super well. It has been on my computers CPU for multiple years now and the temp has not gone up even a tiny bit. Very long lasting.

  • Thunderwt99

    It’s so confusing. Plz advice me one .I can’t test everyone of them in my GPU. yah u read right. It’s GPU. My Asus N551jx laptop’s GPU chip is getting so hot that computer become shutdown. I’m afraid sometimes it may be blow up. So , Plz tell me one name then I’ll buy it & apply it. Tnx

  • Sark

    hey gavin, have you tested any tuniq?

    • Gavin Bonshor

      I haven’t actually heard of it before, you got a link? 🙂

  • Kasam

    I’d like to see a few more actual generics – i.e. pick a few off ebay for £1 and the actual version, what it claims, and how well they fare, compared to this.

    Also the price would help so you can get a comparison of price v temperature.

  • Hi Gavin,

    For the next review, could you please consider the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut? It’s supposed to be rated at 73 W/mk, which is incredible, compared to the current winner CLU, rated at 38.4 W/mk.

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/thermal-grizzly-conductonaut-high-performance-thermal-grease-1g.html

    Thanks!

    • Gavin Bonshor

      Of course we can; it will be added into the 2016 version 🙂

  • Mike

    Hi Gavin,

    I would also like to suggest Innovation Cooling Diamond 24. Would be very interesting to see it in comparison with IC Diamond 7 Carat.

    And btw. great comparison!

    • We’ll try to get it added to the list when we do the next update.

    • Jwarn11

      IC Diamond 7 is the same as IC 24, only difference is the amount you get in the tube. 1 gram with the 7 and 3.5 grams with the 24.

  • James

    I have one I’d love to see tested as well. It’s a thermal paste using graphene! The specific paste is ANG STP-K10. It has literally no reviews or comparisons and I’d love to know what it does.