When it comes to choosing a good quality thermal paste there are certainly plenty of options with tons of different price points and specialist features. Some are designed with serious subzero overclocking mind, while some are more suited to everyday systems that are water or air cooled. For most Overclockers and enthusiasts it can be case of simply going with the one that your peers recommend, or the one that suits your budget. Gavin Bonshor (known to HWBOT members as gavbon) writing for Play3r.net decided to separate myth from reality and embarked on a mission to find out the truth – the result is an exhaustive study of 26 different thermal paste products. Over to Gavin:
What is the best thermal paste to use? - It really depends on the type of cooling you are using. My recommendations are different based on if you’re using conventional cooling methods such as air, water and even sub-zero; liquid nitrogen and dry ice. What I will say though is for air and water cooling, most of the ‘decent’ aftermarket thermal pastes will have a couple of degrees Celsius between them…aside from those with high thermal conductivity ratings such as liquid metal.
Different types of thermal paste consist of different materials; some are better than others in terms of thermal conductivity. A good example is liquid metal against ceramic based pastes. The liquid metal not only plugs the gaps better between the IHS and the CPU cooler, but it also features better conductivity meaning more heat can be transferred per application than other types used. The drawback to liquid metal paste however is the application can be messy, the paste is more expensive and overall, some people just prefer to go with the easiest route; I don’t blame them in all honesty!
You can find all the data from Gavin’s thermal paste testing session here on Play3r.net. You can also watch this great video where Gavin tackles the issue in person here on the Play3r TV YouTube channel.