Best Thermal Paste

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 10, 2020
Thermal paste is a cheap difference between the graphics card and the processor working as intended and frying out under the lightest load. The best thermal paste will even able to support ambitious overclocking endeavors (assuming that the hardware and the fan also support that). ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Kit Contents
Volume
Thermal Conductivity
Density
Warranty
 
PROS

Using the lint-free cleaning pads, you can easily remove the old paste without worrying about damaging the processing unit. Increasing the indium content, this high-efficiency paste ensures that even the most extreme loads will not be able to overheat the CPU and/or GPU. 

CONS

The paste is not good with aluminum surfaces. 

OUR VERDICT

With the paste's thermal conductivity stretching 73 W/mK and the package including 2 cleaning pads (lint-free), 5 cotton swabs, and 2 applicators, Thermal Grizzly TG-AL-3 Conductonaut is worth every penny that the folk at Thermal Grizzly are asking for it.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Syringe with thermal paste, protective cap, 2 x applicators, 2 x lint-free cleaning pads, 5 x cotton swabs 

Volume

1 g (0.035 oz)

Thermal Conductivity

73 W/mK

Density

6.24 g/cm³

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

You can apply the paste between most heatsinks and semiconductors. The resealable packaging will guarantee that the paste does not dry out, which's important since the 8-gram syringe will enable covering the entire case with paste and you'll still be left with half the syringe.

CONS

The syringe is not always fully filled. 

OUR VERDICT

Unlike cheap thermal pastes made from liquid metal, ARCTIC MX-4 does not cause short-circuiting or corrosion damage. When applied, this paste should last 8 years without losing its excellent initial thermal conductivity properties.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Syringe with thermal paste, protective cap

Volume

8 g (0.282 oz)

Thermal Conductivity

8.5 W/mK

Density

2.5 g/cm³

Warranty

8-year durability

PROS

The syringe is shipped in a durable cardboard package that makes sure the syringe does not deform during transportation. There's a QR code on this package that enables you to immediately access thorough application instructions. 

CONS

The paste dries out pretty quickly once you open the syringe. 

OUR VERDICT

Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Compound Paste offers premium-grade performance at a budget cost. With this paste, you'll be able to ensure top-notch heat transferring from the processor (on a CPU or GPU) to its heatsink. 

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Syringe with thermal paste, protective cap

Volume

3.5 g (0.123 oz)

Thermal Conductivity

8.9 W/mK

Density

2.49 g/cm³

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

Mixing micronized silver with sub-micron zinc oxide, aluminum oxide, and boron nitride particles, this thermal paste is able to knock off the temperature 3-12 degrees compared to what most pastes can do.

CONS

Avoid contact with miniature circuits. 

OUR VERDICT

Experienced users that are into overclocking cannot go wrong with Arctic Silver 5. Even though this paste can easily handle the most expensive, high-performance rigs, it will cost you virtually nothing. Also, the paste fits gaming consoles.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Syringe with thermal paste, protective cap

Volume

3.5 g (0.123 oz)

Thermal Conductivity

Not stated

Density

Not stated

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

As long as you don't forget the protective cap, the paste will last years inside the syringe without becoming less effective. The company's socket templates will enable easy application onto various socket types.

CONS

The paste is a little on the runny side. 

OUR VERDICT

Cooler Master HTK-002-U1 fits mid-range PCs like a glove. With this thermal paste, you can squeeze every last drop from the system without worrying about overheating its middling components. The 2-gram syringe will easily cover both the graphics card and the processor. 

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Syringe with thermal paste, protective cap

Volume

2 g (0.07 oz)

Thermal Conductivity

~8 W/mK

Density

2.37 g/cm³

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

Thermal Grizzly TG-AL-3

Liquid Metal Thermal Paste

Thermal Grizzly TG-AL-3 Conductonaut tops this list not just because the paste is as good as it is but also because this is the biggest, most comprehensive package. While most products sell you a syringe filled with thermal paste and nothing else, this package includes two applicators, two lint-free cleaning pads, and five cotton swabs, so you have everything you need to replace old paste and apply the new one.

That being said, this product costs more than most thermal pastes not as much because the package is so extensive but because this paste is made from liquid metal. Thanks to that, the paste is more suitable for those applications that require the highest efficiency. We're talking about components with the best heat dissipation where the temperature ranges are above eight degrees Celsius.

With its high thermal conductivity, the paste increases the indium content, making sure that the most expensive, high-performance parts do not overheat under extreme loads. But, even despite its thermal conductivity reaching 73 W/mK, this paste is not good with aluminum surfaces.

Nevertheless, considering that the thermal compound here is almost 10 times more effective than most thermal pastes' and the aforementioned extensive package, Thermal Grizzly TG-AL-3 Conductonaut towers above its competition.

Review of Thermal Grizzly TG-AL-3 Conductonaut Thermal Grease Paste (Liquid Metal)

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ARCTIC MX-4

No Short-Circuiting and Corrosion Worries

People that feel like paying 20+ bucks for thermal paste is not reasonable but still do not wish to settle for a middling product will find that ARCTIC MX-4 does not disappoint. To start with, apart from GPUs and CPUs, this paste can be used between most semiconductors and heatsinks. To continue, unlike liquid metal pastes, this product is metal-free, which means that it isn't electrically conductive.

In other words, you don't have to worry about short-circuiting and corrosion damage that cheap liquid metal pastes can cause. When applied, the people at ARCTIC guarantee that the paste will last at least 8 years before it starts losing its thermal conductivity properties.

Before that though, you need to apply the paste, which is not the toughest challenge that you'll face that day since, thanks to its balanced consistency (not too thick yet not too runny either), even beginners can easily apply this paste. Still, we would recommend following the video on the company's website to make sure you don't create air pockets between the processing unit and the cooler.

As long as you do that, ARCTIC MX-4 will serve you faithfully for almost a decade. Also, the packaging is recyclable, so you can buy this product knowing that you're not increasing your environmental footprint.

Review of ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Paste

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Noctua NT-H1

The Best Budget Option

Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Compound Paste is the best budget thermal paste. Despite being so easy on the pocketbook, the premium-grade hybrid compound used here ensures optimal heat transferring between the processing unit (both on the CPU and GPU) and the heatsink. To add more, most thermal pastes usually start becoming less efficient within the first 2-3 years, whereas this paste will normally last 5 years before the initial efficiency starts deteriorating.

Having said that, while the paste is quite durable when applied, inside the syringe, it will usually dry out in 2, 3 years tops. With that in mind, we would recommend using the entire syringe within the first 2 years, so share one with a few friends, the 3.5-gram syringe will give you somewhere between 4 and 20 applications (depending on the unit's size) anyway.

Last but not least, the cardboard package that this syringe is shipped inside will prevent deformations during transportation and the Quick Response (QR) code on the package will let you easily access application instructions.

In closing, anyone who builds his own computer will be able to benefit from Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Compound Paste. Then again, people with laptops and most consoles (especially PS4) can use this paste to prolong their favorite platform's lifespan too.

Review of Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Compound Paste

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ARCTIC Silver 5 (AS5-3.5G)

Enhancing Thermally Conductive Ceramic Particles

Arctic Silver 5 costs practically nothing (around 6 bucks at the moment). Nevertheless, this high-density paste, filled with a micronized silver compound, is excellent at enhancing thermally conductive ceramic particles, fitting not just high-end graphics cards and processors but also most heat-sinks and coolers.

More impressive is the fact that, besides micronized silver, this product contains sub-micron zinc oxide, aluminum oxide, as well as boron nitride particles, which is why (and how) the paste is able to keep the temperature somewhere between 3 and 12 degrees lower than usual. But, this is also why you must make sure the paste does not come in contact with miniature circuits since the metals here can easily corrode these circuits.

Its thermal conductivity and density are not stated but, from what we can tell, the paste is denser than standard metal-free thermal pastes and more conductive but not as dense and conductive as high-end liquid metal pastes. That said, considering that this one costs 5 times less than its high-end liquid metal relatives, we cannot really complain about that.

To summarize, if you have a high-end system but don't trust pastes made from liquid metal, you should try Arctic Silver 5.

Review of ARCTIC Silver 5 (AS5-3.5G) Thermal Paste

 

Cooler Master (HTK-002-U1)

Complementing Average Builds

Everyday users with limited experience that are looking or have just bought the parts for their first custom PC should complete the system with Cooler Master HTK-002-U1.

First things first, volume-wise, this product caps at 2 grams, while most syringes are filled with 3.5 grams. In case you're not aware, 3.5 grams is usually an overkill since 2 is more than enough to cover both the CPU and the GPU (even the most powerful high-end models). Nevertheless, this paste does not dry out inside the syringe, so if you don't end up using the whole thing - don't throw it out, you can remove it and apply a new layer after a couple of years.

But keep in mind that the paste is a little runny, so be careful when applying it. Don't worry though - the Zif Socket Templates will ensure that you can easily apply the paste onto different socket types, while the applicator on the syringe will let you produce an even layer without any prior experience.

In short, average and even most above-average systems don't need a high-end thermal paste. No, generally speaking, Cooler Master HTK-002-U1 will prove more than enough to keep the system running without hiccups and without overheating concerns. Also, the protective cap will prevent the paste from leaking out, enabling safe storage.

Review of Cooler Master (HTK-002-U1) High Performance Thermal Paste

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is Thermal Paste?

Building your own PC is a milestone that any self-respecting PC user should hit. Until you do, you cannot truly claim to be part of the glorious PC master race. Plus, it is more fun than probably think and will let you save somewhere around 100-300 bucks (depending on the rig) and build a system that fits your needs and preferences unlike any pre-built system available on the market. Of course, even the least experienced users know that you need a graphics card (GPU), a processor (CPU), a system board (motherboard), some RAM, a storage drive, a power supply, and a case that will house these components.

But what these users probably don't know is that you also need some thermal paste, the least expensive part of the equation but, without one, your most expensive parts (CPU and GPU) will fry. Maximizing heat transfer and dissipation, this thermally conductive chemical compound prevents them from overheating. As long as you apply it correctly, the paste can last a few years and ensure that the system can handle the toughest loads. There are mild but important differences between thermal pastes though, so read the reviews before purchasing one.

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Publish Date: 2020-08-10 13:50:55