Use Test – Brian
SUMMARY: A new version of Arctic Silver, and it’s sibling.
The good guys at Arctic Silver
recently sent me these items to take a look at:
I’ve had a chance now to run both of these in my “main/gaming” rig, and can draw some conclusions on these thermal compounds.
Somehow, in my travels and wanderings through computerdom,
I manage to “skip generations” along the way… I went straight from Win95 to WinME to WinXP, I got Unreal Tournament and UT2003, but neither Unreal or Unreal II, I skipped every other release of
Sierra’s NASCAR franchise…you get the idea.
I (way back when) got a tube of the original Arctic Silver, on the advice of a lot of members in the Overclockers Forums. AS2 came and went before I even needed another tube of thermal compound,
and then I got the newer (at the time) AS3.
Arctic Silver did the “skipping” for me this time, by going straight to AS-5…. I’ve read around the internet their reasoning for skipping “AS4”, and the reasons I read were marketing.
They also (from Arctic Silver’s standpoint) seemed like very good ones. But I digress… What sits before me is Arctic Silver 5, and it’s sibling Arctic Silver Ceramique. Let’s look at those
and leave the marketing strategies to those better suited to discuss them. 😉
First off, let’s look at the newest incarnation of Arctic Silver, Arctic Silver 5…
While I could copy verbatim the technical specs of this new compound, it’d be just as easy to hit the highlights, and link to Arctic Silver’s page.
The major items of interest are (quoted from Arctic Silver’s website):
- Contains 99.9% pure silver: Arctic Silver 5 uses three unique shapes and sizes of pure silver particles to maximize particle-to-particle contact area and thermal transfer.
- High-Density: Arctic Silver 5 contains over 88% thermally Conductive filler by weight.
- Controlled Triple-Phase Viscosity: Arctic Silver 5 does not contain any silicone. The suspension fluid is a proprietary mixture of advanced polysynthetic oils that work together to provide three distinctive functional phases.
- Not Electrically Conductive: Arctic Silver 5 was formulated to conduct heat, not electricity.
- Absolute Stability: Arctic Silver 5 will not separate, run, migrate, or bleed.
- Performance: 3 to 12 degrees centigrade lower CPU full load core temperatures than standard thermal compounds or thermal pads when measured with a calibrated thermal diode imbedded in the CPU core.
- Coverage Area: Arctic Silver 5 is sold in 3.5 gram and 12 gram tubes. The 3.5 gram tube contains enough compound to cover at least 15 to 25 small CPU cores, or 6 to 10 large CPU cores, or 2 to 5 heat plates. At a layer 0.003″ thick, the 3.5 gram tube will cover approximately 16 square inches.
I can only speak for myself when I say this, but the “coverage” numbers quoted seem low…. Perhaps I just don’t waste much, but I seem to get a lot more “CPU’s per tube” than they quote. At least I did with the original AS and AS3.
This is one of those “Your Milage May Vary” type of things… I guess I get “good milage”. =)
The “test machine” I used is watercooled AMD
XP2100+ machine, that’s got a healthy overclock up to 2200MHz (1733MHz is default).
Two things I noticed right away when I went to apply AS-5 for the first time, is it appears darker, and thicker than it’s predecessors. The content of the “suspension fluid” the silver particles are carried in changed with the new version,
and I assume this would be why it appears this way. It’s a bit more difficult to “spread” on the CPU core, due to this increase in viscosity.
Once it was on, and had opportunity to “settle in”, I did notice a slight reduction in CPU temperatures, probably between 2 to 3 degrees celsius, versus the previous version (AS3).
Another thing I read is that it’s recommended to store your tube (capped, of course) with the tip pointing down. This is mentioned at the end of the “Installation Instructions” page at Arctic Silver’s website. This is to lessen the separation of the particles in the tube
while in storage. They also mention refrigeration helps preserve the compound further from this particle separation.
Next up, let’s look at Arctic Silver’s Ceramique….
The highlights of this compound (also taken from Arctic Silver’s site):
- High-Density ceramic content: Ceramique uses a high-density layered composite of five unique shapes of thermally conductive aluminum oxide, boron nitride and zinc
oxide sub-micron particles to maximize particle-to-particle contact area and thermal transfer. This exclusive combination provides performance exceeding most metal based compounds.
- Controlled Triple-Phase Viscosity: Ceramique does not contain any silicone. The suspension fluid is a proprietary mixture of advanced polysynthetic oils that provide
superior performance and long-term stability.
- Excellent Stability: Ceramique is engineered to not separate, run, migrate, or bleed.
- Electrical Insulator: Ceramique does not contain any metal or other electrically conductive materials. It is a pure electrical insulator, neither electrically conductive nor capacitive.
- Performance: 2 to 10 degrees centigrade lower CPU full load core temperatures than standard thermal compounds or thermal pads when measured with a calibrated thermal
diode imbedded in the CPU core.
- Coverage Area: 2.5-gram syringes (About 1cc): At a layer 0.003″ thick, one tube will cover approximately 20 square inches. 22-gram syringes (About 8cc): At a layer 0.003″
thick, one tube will cover approximately 160 square inches.
Once again, YMMV (Your Milage May Vary) with the “coverage area”.
On using this, when applying it to the CPU core, it closely resembles visually the cheap “white goop” compound widely available commercially, but is somewhat “thicker” in viscosity.
However, it works far, far better than that “white goop” could ever dream of. I noted a reduction even further in my CPU temp with this compound over the AS-5. Arctic Silver
could well have jumped on the “XP” (eXtreme Performance) bandwagon when naming this product, because that is precisely the results I’ve gotten with it. I’m very impressed with this
I could bombard you with technical jargon and numbers, but I’m not going to. All I need to say is two words. It Works. Darn well too, I might add.
Once again, Arctic Silver has improved the breed. And they hit the ball out of the park with the Ceramique. I’d strongly recommend either product to use when overclocking, and even when running
at default speeds. In either situation, these compounds will help keep the temperature of your CPU down, and down is where you want that number to be. The cooler the better, and these compounds
are the best for doing just that.
I’d like to thank Colin at Arctic Silver
for sending these over to evaluate.