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Thermal compound recommendation

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sup3rcarrx8

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Location
Folding in California
Hi All. I still have a bottle of AS5 from probably over 4years ago and using it on my latest build. However, I see there's MX-4 compound now. Is it worth it to upgrade to MX-4 or the results would be minimal? I haven't checked CPU temps much lately but the stock AMD cooler doesn't get loud at all even under gaming.
 

dejo

Senior Moment Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
you wont find a large difference in any of them really. I would say that MX-4 is better than the Arctic stuff. There are the facts that MX4 is non conductive and non capacitive that are benefits that could make a difference.
 

mackerel

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
If the AS5 still looks good might as well keep using it until it runs out. Unless you're really looking for a few degrees at best here or there...
 

freeagent

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Location
Winnipeg!
AS5 is still ok. Its not conductive either, which is a plus. If it hasn't separated just keep using it. I went from AS5 to TF8. Good stuff.
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Just a side note: Arctic Cooling who make MX-4 has no relation to Arctic Silver compounds.
 

JLK03F150

What have I done! Member
Joined
May 17, 2005
Location
Georgia
I'm still using AS5 because I still have a tube of it. I don't switch hardware around anywhere near like I used to, so it is being used very slowly. I will switch to MX-4 once my current tube is gone though.
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
I bought a new tube of AS5 specifically for my new build. Last I knew it was one of the best TIMs out there... and I have heard that now a days it is among the worst performers. I've yet to try something new, but I'll be checking back into this thread because I'll probably be switching to a new paste this month.
 

yoadknux

Member
Joined
May 6, 2016
I played around with compounds recently. Here's what I think based on some on my experience on GPUs:
- Gelid GC Extreme has excellent thermal performance, but not easy to apply, and since it's an old, it is more suspectible to dried-out batches (happened to me). Might also not available where you live.
- Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut performs at least as good as Gelid and easy to apply, but really expensive (1g of this stuff costs more than 3.5g of some of the other compounds).
- Arctic MX-4 (not sure if I tried the 2019 or 2020 version) performs a bit worse than the top pastes, but easy to apply, cheap, in my country it is available in all computer stores. Might need to re-apply more often than the other two to keep temps great.
- Noctua NH-1 has all the pros of Arctic MX-4, but performs a bit worse
- Antec Formula X easy to apply, cheap, comes with a nice kit (not just the tube) - but is the worst performer I tested, and either scratched or stained the surfaces of both GPUs I tried it on - I'd advise against using it.

I also want to try Noctua NH-2 and Cooler Master MasterGel Maker, but I just moved to a new place and I'm low on cash, so...

By the way, may I ask, where do you want to apply the paste? If it's on a non-delided CPU, and you don't plan to overclock, then it really doesn't matter which paste you pick, just go with something that is reliable. On a water cooled, overclocked GPU where 4c could be the difference between clock speeds, then you might wanna invest in something premium like the TG.
 

Dr. McCoy

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Been using MX4 Carbon 2019 Edition with my stuff and it's been good. Easy to apply, spreads easily with good coverage and seems to do well with subzero too.
Note the following is for subzero use from my experience.
All of my Ln2 runs this year have been done with it. While in my case it has done well I do suspect it's cracked once or twice once temps were down which would account for some crappy sessions I've had.

Noctua is another I have onhand, probrably a bit worse than the MX4 stuff but still works well and cheap enough to consider if you must.

Gelid; I've used it before and honestly I'll not use it again. Too expensive and as mentioned earlier it's prone to have bad batches come up and I'm not playing "Russian Roulette" with my money or hardware either.
Kryonaut; It works fine but even it's had a few bad batches show up before but overall the quality control is there, just too expensive to use for a single session per application of it.

For everyday use AS5 Ceramique is cheap, easy to get and lasts a long time.
One of the cons with it is it's kinda thick and you have to be careful when removing a cooler from an AMD chip - It will make the chip pull right out of the socket and not be too easy to separate from the cooler. I have to slide it to the side and separate them that way, that beng the easiest way I've found to do it without risking the chip just flying off somewhere if you try to simply pry them apart.
If the CPU socket is like an Intel 1155 for example it's no problem to remove the cooler from the chip.
The MX4 stuff I mentioned above is great for everyday use too, have some on this machine right now and temps are just fine. It and Noctua are good for everyday stuff and since the cost of it isn't bad I'd suggest those two for everyday stuff period over all else but that's my opinion of it.

I'll add I will NEVER use anything with diamond dust period. That kind of stuff, although it works is way too abrasive and can damage stuff.
If using a direct die setup you definitley want to avoid it like the plague.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I also want to try Noctua NH-2 and Cooler Master MasterGel Maker, but I just moved to a new place and I'm low on cash, so...

NH-2 is about the best you can get and spreads better than most other high series TIM so you simply need it less to cover a large IHS. Costs more than NH-1 but is simply better. I have about the same results on NH-2 as on Gelid Extreme or Kryonaut but it spreads better so is easier to apply. I won't tell you what about sub 0 temps as I was testing it only on ambient temps.
CM MasterGel has a nice description but for me, it's a pretty average TIM, worse than MX-4, and far from the specified temperature range. It was rated up to -70°C as I remember (and I don't remember exactly) but it was cracking near -30°C.

Gelid; I've used it before and honestly I'll not use it again. Too expensive and as mentioned earlier it's prone to have bad batches come up and I'm not playing "Russian Roulette" with my money or hardware either.
Kryonaut; It works fine but even it's had a few bad batches show up before but overall the quality control is there, just too expensive to use for a single session per application of it.

I have never had problems with Gelid Extreme but 1/3 of my Kryonaut tubes were somehow bad, like too dry or something. I'm not buying it anymore but I have 2 more small tubes which seem fine and I had them as a free addition to some other components, AIO coolers, or something like that.

I find MX4 a perfect balance between price and performance. Noctua is always good like I never had a bad batch, but also almost all my tubes were from cooler bundles. I can recommend NH-2 but it's not cheap.
 
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yoadknux

Member
Joined
May 6, 2016
NH-2 is about the best you can get and spreads better than most other high series TIM so you simply need it less to cover a large IHS. Costs more than NH-1 but is simply better. I have about the same results on NH-2 as on Gelid Extreme or Kryonaut but it spreads better so is easier to apply. I won't tell you what about sub 0 temps as I was testing it only on ambient temps.
CM MasterGel has a nice description but for me, it's a pretty average TIM, worse than MX-4, and far from the specified temperature range. It was rated up to -70°C as I remember (and I don't remember exactly) but it was cracking near -30°C.



I have never had problems with Gelid Extreme but 1/3 of my Kryonaut tubes were somehow bad, like too dry or something. I'm not buying it anymore but I have 2 more small tubes which seem fine and I had them as a free addition to some other components, AIO coolers, or something like that.

I find MX4 a perfect balance between price and performance. Noctua is always good like I never had a bad batch, but also almost all my tubes were from cooler bundles. I can recommend NH-2 but it's not cheap.
Ended up getting both compounds because, why not. Also got Noctua's wipes, I always use too much ethanol for cleaning and it runs out quick.
uVyzK5d.jpg

The tube on the MasterGel Maker is really beautiful, and so is the packaging. It comes with a built-in applier. The 1.5g of this stuff was almost the same price the 3.5 of the NH-2.
The MasterGel has extremely high viscosity, so it's not easy to apply on GPU (I always use spread method on GPU), even with the built-in applier. It sticks to the applier instead of spreading, so I compensate by putting more. I ended up with a lot more paste than I intended, definetly a messy application (perhaps because of lack of experience on my part with this paste).
The NH-2 is somewhere between the MasterGel and the MX-4 in terms of viscosity, it's easier to spread, not as clean as MX-4 or Antec Formula X but better than the MasterGel
Anyway, I ran TimeSpy Extreme stress test loop on my OC 2080ti a few times, and the results were consistent. Note GPU1 and GPU2 temps in the following:

Arctic MX-4:
SviNohB.png

MasterGel Maker:
BJtCNwV.png

Noctua NH-2:
lgAUu8z.png

I ran out of Kryonaut and GC Extreme so I couldn't compare it in the same test conditions, but the temps were pretty much the same, give or take a degree here and there.

All the results were taken with the same initial conditions: same OC and power limit, case fully closed, same type of application (spread). Ambient temperature of MX-4 and Maker was probably the same (early morning), the ambient of NH-2 was maybe a few degrees higher (early noon).
the point here is that unless you're going for the highest of highest OC with the best possible cooling, then it really doesn't matter which paste you use as long as its a well known brand. The only two cases in which I'd go for best possible paste is if:

a) I had a delidded chip, cooled by an extremely large radiator, and I was pushing for highest OC possible
b) I had a hybrid or water-cooled GPU

In all other scenarios: non delidded CPUs, air cooled configurations, etc... the cooling bottleneck will not be the thermal paste between the heatsink and the chip.
 
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samsa

Registered
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Location
Chile
Can add that Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is a good performer just like Kingpin KPx or TR TFX. Differences will be lower than 1°C.

TFX is harder to apply but performance over time is better than Kryonaut which has thermal degradation althought you would notice differences after 3-4 months of application.

NT-H2 is a sweet paste and comes with a good retail bundle. Is not expensive if you consider all the extraws (like wipes). Regards

For now I'm using KPx new batch (the one thats cyan coloured and more "liquid") for OC stuff. Some daily PCs here runing stock use MX-2 or AS5. Won't see much difference switching from MX-2/AS-5 to Kryo/KPx/TFX.