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I had no idea that Thermal Paste was so competitive.

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Uber Folding Senior
Jul 17, 2003
I'm asymbling my new "main" rig and ran into some trouble. Skipping the story, I had to remove my HSF from the CPU and will have to do it again for further troubleshooting. I used the thermal paste that it came with and when I reinstalled, I used the last of my Noctua NT-H1. Before you start posting about how bad it is and how great liquid metal is....

I went and read a bunch of reviews on paste. Some big names were at the top to include liquid metal (always at the top) and many silicone based pastes. Now many of the top rated pastes are just not available. Try getting anything Arctic that isn't AS5. MX4? Yeah maybe. MX5? Nope. MX6? Still no. Noctua NT-H2? Not from my preferred retailers. So struggling to find a highly rated TIM (Thermal Interface Media), looking at whatever chart you find, you'll see that the difference between exceptional TIM and "good" TIM is very little. Like maybe 4c? Maybe less. That is, compared to liquid metal it's only 2-4c different. I'm just not gonna waste my time and money with liquid metal.

I can recall when Arctic Silver 5 was the king. While It gets a bad rap today, it's still good according to reviews I read but I didn't get that. I mean even today AS5 is in the middle of the pack. I ended up getting a large tube of Prolimatech Pro-PK3. As it is towards the top of many reviews and because the difference between this and other high end pastes is so small, I think I will be happy with this TIM. Now if shipping was instant.
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I have seen the same, and I get stoned as if I release the devil inside, if I mention AS5.

AS5 has always been consistent in application and performance for me and beats anything I have tried that is pre-applied on heatsinks. I will continue to use AS5 on the majority of my builds and projects that will stay assembled long term, and thermal grizzly kryonaut for personal projects thay I expect to disassemble after a year or so.
Who's stoning people for AS5? It's fine........ just middle of the pack. Most pastes are within a couple of degrees C of each other anyway... so, I never really got all the hullabaloo between most of them. A proper application of the product often matters more than the product itself so..............yeah. :)
Who's stoning people for AS5? It's fine........ just middle of the pack. Most pastes are within a couple of degrees C of each other anyway... so, I never really got all the hullabaloo between most of them. A proper application of the product often matters more than the product itself so..............yeah. :)
Ita usually groups outside of the OCForums or the like. The LTT message board and reddit are two that come to mind right off the bat. It is usually a comment made by the PCMR generation that are constantly chasing the absolute best, not coming back down to earth realizing that in the real world applications, thay 1-2, or even 4 degree difference, makes any performance increases, especially when you are already under 70c full load.
I go through a lot of paste, so I'm always looking for a good deal. I found some stuff on amazon that looked interesting and purchased some TG Kryonaut at the same time. I can say through testing that this JLJ TIM works just a well or better since it's so much cheaper. I have since purchased more and will continue as long as it is available.
I find most of the other overclock forums chase name brands and mob mentality more than real life results. They jump all over people for suggesting otherwise or calling them out on it but in reality can't back up anything. I think it is an age thing, the people who only know custom computing like it is now think brands that promote are the only ones that work. It's the primary reason I frequent here more than any other forum. Here I get reasonable answers with real time thought not just some regurgitated press release.
I have a tube of Ceramique 2 and its not bad, I kinda like it.. better than the first version iirc. But atm I am using Thermalright TF7, they give it away with heatsinks and accessories. Its pretty decent. Would recommend :cool:
i was using AS5 in all my builds for over a decade, from my Socket A to socket 939 to AM2 to Ivy Bridge Extreme almost 10 years ago. my newest build (5900x) uses Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut because i started reading too much on the intarwebs about top ten lists of thermal paste. seems fine. with a 80F room temperature (occasionally down to 70F) the CPU package runs about 50 C idle and about 60-65C while gaming, one core is usually around 4900 MHz under unOC'd boost or whatever it's called.

i especially value this forum for the no BS assessments of how certain things are still plenty good enough, and a lot of the info out there is basically just marketing. there are many enthusiasts here that don't forget about bang vs buck, yet totally accept the advice "buy what you can / desire to afford". OC keeps it real instead of demanding / bullying advice-seekers to spend money on things they don't need.

PS: thanks everyone for all the great suggestions and info about paste. i'm almost kicking myself for not asking about it myself.
i started using TG Kryonaut too. Mainly because it was decent and i could get it in a big tube for a decent price.
pretty much the only reason i dont use AS5 any more is because i cant get it in a big tube any more.

while on this, has any one had AS5 separate? a long time ago i was regooping a cpu and my tried and trusty AS5 went wrong. it came out as this kinda runny orange goo about half way and then the "silver" part was major thick and dense. i only had it happen once but it was super strange. tried running the thick "silver" stuff on the cpu since i didnt have anything else and in about a month i had to redo again and it turned into this thin dried out grey sheet on top of the cpu.
AS5 has one problem, it gets dry in 1-2 years (depends on temps etc. it can be 5-6 months too). Then you can see that separated "orange goo". New TIMs last for 7-10+ years. At least this is what you can read in some TIM specs. AS5 was a good choice ... 15+ years ago.

When I'm changing CPUs more often then I'm using Noctua NT-H1 or NT-H2 as I have some more of those from coolers. They spread well and perform well. NT-H2 is better but also cost more.
I also received some Streacom TX13 a while ago which works great on everything and spreads much better than most other TIMs.
I have similar results on Thermal Grizzly, Noctua NT-H2 or mentioned Streacom TX13 (and some others that I don't remember now). I had bad experience with TG as once in a while I had a dry tube and this stuff is expensive, so I'm not buying it anymore.

In general, it looks like when you apply the TIM correctly, then everything rated at 10-17W/mk will give you +/- 1-2°C difference. For me it matters more so the TIM spreads well and I won't waste it too much to apply another time when something is wrong. It happens on large IHS when optimal is to spread it on the surface. If you use a "grain of rice" method then it won't cover the IHS.
There is also Alphacool Apex rated at 17W/mK, but the one I tried was so dry that after two attempts I just used something else.
Gelid Extreme was popular a while ago and performs similar as TG or some others, but it's not available in stores recently.
Cheap and good stuff is Arctic MX5. There is a slightly improved version since last year.

I'm not using liquid metal as most my PCs are changing specs too often and liquid metal reacts with most surfaces leaving stains. It's hard to clean it later and most my CPUs are planned to be sold when I'm done with tests.
Huh. Interesting thread. I'm looking into getting the Kryonaut for my new build.

EarthDog said:
A proper application of the product often matters more than the product itself so..............yeah. :)

Interesting how the Noctua article mentions AM5 application as the traditional single-bead in the middle...I'm concerned about those "spider" edges. I'm tempted to add tiny dots on each of those protrusions when I do my build.
I have always preferred placing a small dab in the middle and letting the pressure of the HSF spread it out. When I bought my Threadripper 1900x, AMD recommended a version of that placing two dab near the middle and four near each corner. Never a problem with temps running folding 24/7.
With AMD's new design, I almost have to use the big drop in the middle and four corner to reach the 'jagged' edges of the IHS. That said, when it didn't reach it, there didn't seem to be too much of a difference.
Another TIM out there is KingPin’s.. I’ve used it and think it’s very good, use it when running sub-zero. I also have Ceramique 2 that I use for everything else :)