Thermal Paste Comparison 2015 – Which is The Best Thermal Paste?

Which thermal paste reigns supreme?

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Note: – Updated for August 2015 – http://www.play3r.net/reviews/cooling/best-thermal-paste-2015-update/

Final Words

So, what have we taken from the aforementioned testing and results?  Well, firstly, with advances in thermal paste and interface technology, all of the manufacturers have done a good job; of course there are some new pastes and old pastes in the graphs and the amount of difference between a lot of them is marginal at best.  This article/shoot-out isn’t about bashing lower performing pastes or praising the top performers because each paste is usually attributed to different fields of CPU cooling; prime example is Gelid GC Extreme which is geared towards sub-zero overclocking or Noctua NT-H1 which is designed for general all-round use.

Take that into consideration when looking at the results as this was meant for a general look into differences; some parts for us to determine which the best thermal paste is for our own systems and, of course, for your benefit as it’s a general use test and unless you live in an oven or arctic region, your temperatures given the same settings should be close or thereabouts to ours.

So with everything above in mind, this isn’t about giving awards out and awards won’t be given out, nothing is graded, it’s purely informational!  That being said, I do intend to pick a couple of stand-out ones based on performance, ease of use etc.; no-one likes to buy a thermal paste and have to read a 10 page booklet on how to apply the chosen interface.  Of course, some thermal interfaces such as the Coollaboratory pastes need to be treated with care when applying; this is to obtain optimal performance etc.

So what are my stand-out picks then?

Performance – Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra/Pro

As you can see by the graphs, this particular duo from Cool Laboratory tops both our testing at 3.9GHz and 4.5GHz; so what’s the reason?  What makes these thermal material so much better than the others on test?  Well,  Liquid Pro is made from 100% metal so the only material being used between the cooler and the heat spreader, is of course metal in liquid form; hence the name.  This not only allows the compound itself to fill any gaps in the metal which aren’t present with the naked eye, but provides one of the best forms of heat conductive materials (metal), into one great package.

The only downsides to Liquid Pro/Ultra are, any branding/writing on the actual CPU corrodes off after a while as this particular past is a little bit viscosity.  Another downside is that Liquid Ultra or Pro cannot be used with Aluminium heat sinks; nickel and copper plated ones are however fine so bare that in mind!

Below is the process in which Liquid Ultra should be applied; it does require a degree of patience and skill and those wanting to just quickly apply, whack your cooler on and fire your machine up, you may want to look for another option!

Easy to Apply – be quiet! DC1/Noctua NT-H1/EKWB Ectotherm

In terms of application and how easy it is to apply some thermal materials, it can be a nightmare and not as simple as first thought out.  However with be quiet! EKWB and Noctua, their premium thermal compounds are nothing short of simple when it comes to application.  The easy way to apply these in my opinion is a pea sized blob in the middle of the CPU/GPU (please use common sense in the amount depending on the size of the die you require cooling) and simply allow your heat sinks mounted pressure to evenly spread across creating a thermal barrier between heat sink and chip.  If you aren’t too confident in your ability to mount a CPU cooler optimally, you can of course spread the thermal paste evenly across the entire HIS; this is a method preferred by some people and of course, it boils down to whichever method you prefer to use.  What works for one person might not work for another!

The main reason in my opinion why these particular pastes are the easiest to apply, comes down to their consistency; they aren’t too runny but do hold an element of consistency.  This is easy to control from the compound tube and these thermal pastes don’t really require a curing time to get good performance.  Quick, easy and good performers all round!

Last Words

I hope today’s comparison helps you when selecting a thermal compound for your system; if you have any feedback, any comments or even disagree with our method of testing, feel free to let us know in the comments below or via social media.  If you did like this, please share via Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, it helps us out a lot!

Thanks for reading guys and stay COOL!  Get it? No… Oh, Gav out!

Note: – Updated for August 2015 – http://www.play3r.net/reviews/cooling/best-thermal-paste-2015-update/

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!

12 COMMENTS

  1. What about articooling MX4? It would be nice to see how it performs. For legacy purposes i would also like to see ArticSilver 5 in the test.

    Regards from PT.

  2. You missed two very good ones Gav! Lol :p

    Test Phanteks TH-NDC and Prolimatech PK-3. GC-Extreme will still win but those two are the next best. The Phanteks one I don’t think that you can buy on it’s own as it comes with their coolers. I’ve got a spare tube if you want it.

    -RawZ

  3. Agree with the rest, where is Artic Silver 5? Ive been using it from some time, how is possible that one of the most used and highest rated brands is not in this review?

    • It is awaiting to be tested this week; you have to bare in mind that I paid retail price for every thermal paste on test bar a couple of them (companies were kind), so I didn’t have the budget to buy “every” brand. Rest assured it will be added over the next 7-10 days etc!

    • If you were to send us a sample or the company in question, we would give it a test in 2016’s upcoming round-up this summer 🙂

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