Finally, a product targeted at the extreme overclockers: EVGA Frostbite Thermal Grease. It’s TIM mind you, but still, it is refreshing to see manufacturers recognizing this market segment as a powerful buying force within the larger technology realm. Below is the press release straight from EVGA followed by some analysis. Plus, we asked some overclocking celebrities and EVGA for comment.
EVGA Frostbite Specifications
Introducing the EVGA Frostbite Thermal Grease, the world’s first thermal paste validated for extreme overclockers as well as everyday users. The high conductivity ensures maximum thermal transfer for the absolute lowest temperatures. It’s not only about performance though, the EVGA Frostbite Thermal Grease was voted easiest to install in a random survey that compared the top thermal pastes today!
EVGA Frostbite Thermal Grease was tested and certified to be the best on the market by the one of the top overclockers in the industry; Vince “k|ngp|n” Lucido:
“The EVGA Frostbite Thermal Grease is easy to apply and can hold up during extreme benching sessions longer than I have ever seen any thermal great do. On other brands I have used in the past, the paste can act like an insulator and can be really stiff or difficult to work with.”
- Excellent Thermal Transfer
- Ranked Easiest Installation
- Engineered for Extreme Overclockers, Gamers and Everyday Users
- Over 30% Silver Content
- 6.5W/M-K Thermal Conductivity
- 2 Gram Syringe
For more information:
Frostbite Performance Claims
EVGA also included some interesting graphs and images that are worth exploring:
These graphs are a little vague since they leave out the names of the competitors. After speaking to EVGA directly, it appears as though they tested their product against top competitors, as they mentioned several TIMs that community members here swear by when benching sub-zero.
When looking at the “Freezing Temperature” graph, it looks as though EVGA Frostbite (as well as the other TIMs tested) freeze at at temperatures between -5 and -80 C. This is not the case, in fact the chart represents optimal performance temperatures. While pastes like Ceramique are rated for up to -150 C, the rating temperatures and the useable temperature differ quite a bit according to EVGA Product Manager, Jacob Freeman. “We tested multiple thermal pastes and their ability to be effective at lower temperatures. What we found is that most pastes really start to have issues at around -10 c, and a few at around -60 c. The EVGA Frostbite was able to still maintain consistency at below -80 c.” So there you have it, EVGA Frostbite will function at lower temperatures than the competition. That makes it worth some consideration when picking up my next batch of TIM.
Even though Vince “k|ngp|n” Lucido is employed by EVGA to some extent, we asked him for further comment on the new thermal paste and testing methodology used:
“We tested some pastes in the lab when trying to find a good solution for our own testing and overclocking here at evga We tested things like IHS coverage and viscosity after LN2 container is mounted, but most important to us was freezing points and the condition of the pastes once temps of at or below -100c were applied to the paste itself. The frostbite paste will stay to form at temps of -80c on an Ln2 pot, while others we tested would freeze rock solid and actually get brittle, breakdown, and crack off the bottom of the pot The frostbite paste stays somewhat malleable at -60c which are temps well above most phase change single stage compressor temps while other pastes we tested would freeze rock solid at much warmer temps. Sometimes during overclocking at extreme cooling Ln2 temps, there is a tendency for the thermal paste to break down and there will be a degradation of overclocking in terms of raw mhz that can be observed. With the frostbite paste, that’s tends to not happen and the clocks remain pretty consistent throughout lengthy bench sessions.”
Experts like Vince may notice a difference with sub-par TIM at frosty temperatures, but for most of us thermal grease is unlikely to cause any major issues when benching LN2 or DICE. However, there are advantages to the potential better thermal contact offered by Frostbite, like keeping the pot and CPU temperatures consistent for example. By stabilizing these forces, the user can accurately adjust temperatures to navigate cold bugs and other potential issues by avoiding quick spikes in temperature. More experienced overclockers will likely spend the extra money to have better control of their rigs. Similar to golfers who prefer soft-core balls to control backswing and spin on the greens, whereas inexperienced golfers tend to prefer the brute force of harder distance-focused golf balls.
EVGA also claims a more consistent spread pattern for this new paste. In my opinion, spread pattern is more dependent on your method of application and less on the type of TIM used. Vince offered his advice here as well:
Best way to use [EVGA Frostbite] is with a pea sized dot in center of IHS and letting in naturally spread out from center when mounting the container. Most importantly for any paste to have good results, you have to have good contact between the mating surfaces of container and IHS of pot. This is critical to maintaining temperatures and stability when a cpu or gpu goes from idle to load. If the container shows X temp, its only an indication or reference point of the bottom of the container, not the on die temps of the part your cooling. There should be only a trace amount of grease left between the surfaces when container is removed and the imprint of the container on HIS should look even and consistent. No thermal grease in the world can make up for having poor contact between your mating surfaces.
No Overclockers.com article would be complete without an outsider’s perspective as well. We consulted Massman, overclocking guru and owner of HWBOT.org. He pointed out that EVGA’s claim to being the first to manufacturer TIM for extreme overclockers is completely false. OCZ Freeze was the first (and only), but has since been discontinued. That makes EVGA’s Frostbite the only thermal grease on the market specially-designed for sub-zero temperatures, but not the first.
Massman also presumed (like we did) that the graph indicated Frostbite would not work properly past -80 C, which would render the paste “no good” in his opinion. We already cleared that up above, but he makes a valid argument. Until the TIM is tested by an independent third-party, we will not have a clear understanding of useable, freezing and optimal temperatures for Frostbite. After further consideration, Massman suspected the EVGA Frostbite could be basically the same as the Antec Formula 7 paste, as tested here, which was outperformed by OCZ Freeze by a significant margin in sub-zero testing. All in all, Massman was skeptical, but was “very much open to being surprised.”
When asked about his choice in TIM, Guatam, resident expert and world renowned-overclocker, said: “I’ve been using OCZ Freeze lately. Ceramique doesn’t cut it anymore for GPU’s and CPU’s with very low or no cold bug. As far as this stuff goes I just found out about it yesterday like everyone else. No idea how it is, but it’s probably going to be pretty solid cold if Vince tested it to be.”
In order to avoid breaking the bank on lot’s of high-priced grease, Guatam recommends to:
“use Ceramique for most testing and something more expensive for when you think you’re ready for a run that’ll count. IC Diamond is also on the same level as Freeze…actually some people say it’s better. These pastes just yield either slightly better or way better clocks depending on the temperature that your cpu or gpu can run at. Ceramique will just harden up and might possibly be worse than using no TIM in some circumstances. People have picked up up to a couple hundred MHz on the GTX580’s since most of them can run more or less as cold as possible. Same for some Gulftowns and most AMD chips.”
Pretty good strategy there, use the cheaper grease for testing, then when it comes time for the big boint runs slap on some high-quality TIM like IC Diamond, OCZ Freeze or even some new EVGA Frostbite.
The jury is still out on this product. It will be exciting to see how it performs once it starts infiltrating the market, which is dominated by a few major players. EVGA Frostbite is available now, it’s a little pricey relative to competitors, but I encourage users to give it a try. Please let us know what you think!
– Matt Ring (mdcomp)