Guru3D Thermal Paste Roundup - Round 2 (2021)

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, May 13, 2021.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    It has been almost two years since we made part 1 of Thermal Paste Roundup. The community gave us good feedback and appreciated the initial article; thus, we have prepared our second round of that art...

    Guru3D Thermal Paste Roundup - Round 2 (2021)
     
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  2. tunejunky

    tunejunky Maha Guru

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    thank you for doing all of the work and the (tedious) clean-up
    well done ;)
     
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  3. Kool64

    Kool64 Maha Guru

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    I still use AS5. I tried some of the conductonaught it squished out from under my heatsink too easily.
     
  4. Pictus

    Pictus Member Guru

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  5. wavetrex

    wavetrex Maha Guru

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    So Kryonaut still "the best"... until you notice the differences are mostly academic.

    Nevertheless, if only buying it to use on your one-two systems and is basically a one-time operation, it's worth getting the best, as modern CPUs boost higher the cooler they are... not that it matters in practice, since differences in performance will also be academic / margin of error.
     
  6. Reardan

    Reardan Master Guru

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    I'm looking at this chart and the difference between the best paste and something I would consider to be pretty standard picks like AS5 and MX-4, you're looking at 5-10C differences. If those kind of differences are "mostly academic" then I'm really wondering like... What wouldn't be "mostly academic", to you? Would you need like a 20c delta..?
     
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  7. TigTex

    TigTex Member

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    One extremely important factor with thermal compounds is the pump out effect. Laptops with crap cooling that cause high temperature deltas are extremely prone to that and I'm still having issues finding a thermal compound that doesn't escape from under the heatsink after a couple of months (somes are just days!).
    For example, I have a Lenovo T490 that only spins the fan after 80ºC (nice design, right? no). The constant heat cicles cause the thermal compound to escape from the CPU die. So I start by having max temperatures of 85ºC and almost no fan spin and 1 week later the temperatures are above 90ºC and the fan spins everytime I do any activity like opening a simple browser tab. When I see the heatsink, the paste has migrated to the corners of the cpu and the die is almost without paste.

    MX4 suffers a lot from this. I used it on thousands of laptops when I repair them at my shop and I see that almost all of them fail after short term. Coolermaster mastergel pro v2 provided me the best results but it is still not working with my lenovo laptop. Kryonaut was one of the worse, causing thermal throttling in less than a month.
    Probably one of the best "paste" is the carbonaut because it doesn't suffer from the pump out effect.

    This issue only affects laptops and gpu's with poor mounting pressure and I've never seen anybody running those tests. Should be easy to replicate (but time consuming): low mounting pressure with high temperature deltas
     
  8. Silva

    Silva Ancient Guru

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    @TigTex you bring an interesting topic, I didn't know thermal compounds could "run away" or migrate to the corners worsening performance. Thankfully I've never experienced this.
    And ya, laptop designs are generally trash, I don't know if it's incompetence or they just fracking with us.

    I've been using a single 4g MX-4 syringe for the past, I don't know, 10 years? Never had a single issue and I recommend it to everyone who asks.
    It's a great cost/performance option and I never got the "glued CPU to cooler" situation ever again.

    PS: never use pre applied thermal compounds: they suck! (I'd say literally, but they are more like glue)
     
  9. Glottiz

    Glottiz Master Guru

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    NT-H2 is missing :( (upon more reading I see that NT-H2 is present in one test, but not others).
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
  10. vestibule

    vestibule Master Guru

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    Yay, a thermal paste round up. Ouch, I just burned my self.
     

  11. Undying

    Undying Ancient Guru

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    Honestly i would just use carbonaut and be done with.
     
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  12. TLD LARS

    TLD LARS Master Guru

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    I can not recommend NT-H2 for chips like the Vega 64, i tried repasting 2 times and really buttered the biscuit the last time, but the paste pumped out and the CPU core had dry spots and a high hot spot temp.
    It starts out with good temps but after 3 months it slowly gets worse and worse.
    I replaced NT-H2 with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme and got around the same temps as fresh NT-H2 gave me previously, but it has lasted longer now then NT-H2 managed to.

    Works fine on my Ryzen 1700 with Noctua aircooler and 120W TDP overclock, has lasted 2 years with same good temps.
     
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  13. Glottiz

    Glottiz Master Guru

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    That's odd because Noctua rates NT-H2 service life for 5 years. I've been using NT-H1 (came with my NH-D15) for about 6 years now (single application) and haven't had any problems at all. NT-H2 is supposed to be even better.
     
  14. UZ7

    UZ7 Ancient Guru

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    Bought my bro a tub of Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme for his bday, thing was expensive lol :eek:
     
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  15. Mineria

    Mineria Ancient Guru

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    Use a thermal pad like Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut or IC Graphite instead, those two are pretty much on pair, just need to be careful with these since they are conductive, advantage is that they are dry and won't run out at the corners like paste does.
    If those are to thin you can try getting some thicker thermal pads, think some of those sold for servers are thicker.
    As for mounting pressure, laptop CPU coolers don'' t need a lot of it.
    Weird that your T490 only spins up when the CPU hits 80C, I have around 200 6-10 year old T510-520's on my regular maintenance schedule and not a single one of them spins up that late.
    Only had to replace a cooler on one of them, rest still goes strong with their original thermal pad.
    Even the batteries refuse to give up, unlike newer HP 640-650's where batteries already started to give up within a year.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  16. SplashDown

    SplashDown Master Guru

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    Been using Artic Silver 5 since forever never had a need to change. I know there are better ones out there but not by much.
     
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  17. Fierce Guppy

    Fierce Guppy Active Member

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    I was not expecting AS5 to be almost last. I've been using it for years...
     
  18. TLD LARS

    TLD LARS Master Guru

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    Have you used it on a small hot die like the Vega with 200-250W TDP?

    Like I wrote it works just fine on a larger colder surface like a Ryzen 1700 at 120 W overclock and i am also using a NH-D15.
     
  19. Mineria

    Mineria Ancient Guru

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    Been using AS5 for ages too, with Zen 2 and 3 I did switch though, 5-7C makes a lot of difference.
    Some of the tested pastes perform a lot better at sub zero temperatures as well, if one is into such that is. :D
     
  20. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Active Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for the tests.

    I am gladly willing to sacrifice 5c for something that lasts longer. Some of the new pricey hot shots can dry out much earlier. Even heard of some of them needing to be reapplied within months!

    Using the cryonaught stuff now, so we'll see. But I'll say this for AS5, never had an issue with anything unexpected after pulling a hsf off after 5+ years of use.

    So far have had an issue with dry paste on mx and the NT. Also recall a review where a paste had performed way below expectations and the review contacted company and got sent a fresh the tube and it made a big difference. I seriously wonder what these benchmarks would like after months plus years and thousands of power cycles. But the effort involved in that dang.
     

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