SILVER THERMAL PASTES - BUYERS BEWARE!

Test of silver content in popular silver greases – Silversinksam

UPDATE 1/23: OCZ is recalling OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound – Details HERE.

I decided to test Arctic Silver 5, Arctic Silver 3, OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound, and CompUSA Silver Thermal Grease. This test was not conducted to test performance, but rather to determine if these compounds have Silver as an ingredient.

All Testing was done twice, once on a jeweler’s acid free ‘Black stone’, and the test was repeated on paper. The testing solution was Nitric acid and Muriatic acid that was pre-mixed professionally.

Test 1

The tests produced some very disturbing results:

OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver compound and the CompUSA Silver Thermal Grease has ZERO silver in it.

The testing solution stayed orange – if it had any silver in it, the acids would turn varying degrees of red, depending on the purity of the silver present. OCZ claims that OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver compound is, “Made with 99.9% pure micronized silver, Over 70% silver content by weight”.

I cannot concur and my tests conclusively show that there is Zero micronized silver present, and Zero silver content by weight.

Arctic Silver 3 and Arctic Silver 5 were also tested and both produced a blood red color, indicating 90% – 100% purity of Silver in both Arctic Silver 3 and Arctic Silver 5. Arctic Silver’s claim of, “Contains 99.9% pure silver” by my testing is accurate and of the compounds tested, only Arctic Silver products produced results showing that Silver is in fact present.

The tubes in the picture below from left to right, Arctic Silver 5, Arctic Silver 3, OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound and CompUSA Silver Thermal Grease.

Test2

In picture 3 below, from left to right is Arctic Silver 5, Arctic Silver 3 and OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound. The compounds were placed on the paper and the acid was place on the compound undisturbed. Notice how the acid drop placed on the OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound remains orange, indicating zero silver present:

Test3

When you go into a jewelry store and buy a sterling silver or a fine silver necklace, you expect the jewelry to be made of sterling or fine silver. The same should apply to silver thermal pastes – if the silver paste has no silver in it and the manufacturer says it does, that is misleading.

Based on my testing, I can not recommend OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound or CompUSA Silver Thermal Grease, as they are both misleading products with zero silver in them. If you want a product that actually has silver as an ingredient, Arctic Silver 3, Arctic Silver 5 or Arctic Silver Adhesive tested OK.

Ed Note: Silversinksam’s conclusions have been verified by an independent testing laboratory – details will follow in Part II of this article.

Part II

As promised, I am releasing the Laboratory findings that were conducted before I even wrote one word regarding Part 1 of my article.

I appreciate all the support and inquiries I received via email; many people asked me what prompted me to test for silver, so I will explain this first.

One afternoon I decided to test the composition and abrasiveness of my thermal paste and material collection.

Greases

I had them all lined up and rubbed my finger over each sample, cleaning my finger after each was sampled. After doing this, I noticed something very peculiar – the pastes containing ‘Silver’ on the right caught my eye.

I looked at the Arctic Silver products and they seemed to be a light grey to almost silver color (Arctic Silver II and Arctic Silver adhesive was the most silver in color amongst the Arctic Silver products I had). I couldn’t help noticing that the CompUSA and the OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver Compound was extremely silver in color. It was perfect in its silver color – too perfect! When one is in the market to buy a Diamond and you find a stone that is perfect upon inspection, it’s either very, very expensive or it could be a Cubic Zirconium.

Here is the picture of exactly how silver in color Compusa’s Silver Grease and OCZ’s Ultra II Premium Silver Compound looked:

PII Case Diagram

Now my curiosity got the better of me – I looked at the packaging the CompUSA Silver grease came in and it stated, “Made with 99% pure micronized silver, 85 to 90% silver content by weight”.

Front
Back

I then hopped over to CompUSA’s website and looked up this product: Silver Thermal Grease, 2-pack, Manufacturer FMI, Mfg Part # EQ40096J, Product Number 288619. Then I noticed a discrepancy: the website listed this – “Made with 97% Pure Micronized Silver, 75%-80% Silver content by weight”.

There was something rotten in Denmark – I needed to do some more investigating.

My sister is an accomplished jeweler and I asked her if I could use a topical Nitric acid and Muriatic acid that was professionally mixed to simply spot check the pastes for traces of silver. This is exactly what I did and, as noted in part 1 of my article, I was shocked at what I discovered.

All of the Arctic Silver products I tested (Arctic Silver II (silicone based) Arctic Silver 3, Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Silver Adhesive) all tested positive for silver on the topical level, as well as Nanotherm Silver XTC (not pictured). CompUSA’s Silver grease and OCZ’s Ultra II Premium Silver Compound did not test positive for any silver.

I went to OCZ’s website and confirmed that they stated their paste was made with 99% pure micronized silver with over 70% silver content by weight. At this point, I was shaking my head wondering if my topical testing was wrong. So I decided to get a lab report on CompUSA’s Silver grease and OCZ’s Ultra II Premium Silver Compound. I am not stupid enough to start pointing fingers if I cannot prove conclusively that I am 100% correct.

The Lab reports concurred with my findings and they included much more detailed information. Here are the laboratory findings:
{mospagebreak}

Silversinksam

Laboratory Test Results

Lab
Lab
Lab

OCZ Ultra II Silver Thermal Compound and CompUSA’s Silver Paste are composed of Aluminum Oxide in a Polymeric binder of dimethyl Siloxane (silicone); it appeared to have contained some organic silver coloring to give it a silver ‘appearance’, and possibly a small amount of aluminum flake. There were traces of hydrocarbons, copper and zinc.

The lab report also states that OCZ Ultra II Premium Silver compound AND CompUSA’s silver grease were most likely made by the same manufacturer and their chemical makeup was very similar, probably different batch numbers from the same manufacturer. That I found interesting. The Lab reports and my topical test clearly and unequivocally showed there is ZERO silver (Ag) in either.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank OCZ, especially to Ryan. Upon his hearing of my findings, they immediately sent a sample of their Ultra II Premium Silver compound to another laboratory. OCZ did their own testing, and they did this in less than 24 hours! OCZ’s testing concurred with both my initial testing and the Laboratory findings I had. OCZ Immediately issued a Product Recall!

On behalf of the Overclocking and hardware community, I want to formally praise OCZ’s fast action and this product recall – this is a testament to OCZ’s dedication to customer support.

Now the burden is on CompUSA to either prove or disprove these findings. Stay tuned – it should get interesting.

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