Best Thermal Paste:2018’s Definitive Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
It is common knowledge that most of us complain about our consoles or devices heating up when we play heavy graphic content games that require a lot of processing, rendering and uploading. Some people even get pissed off that they want to discard the console or game and get another one. Well, permit me to burst your bubble: the problem might still persist because the solution to this problem might just be using a simple thermal paste in the right place.
Now there goes another challenge. Many of us do not know what a thermal paste looks like, let alone what it is and its functions. We will look more extensively at what this paste is later in this post, but in a nut-shell, it is used to reduce or regulate the working/heating temperatures of a CPU or graphic card.
Although most CPUs and graphic cards of nowadays come with a cooling fan or a heat sink, a good paste also known as a heat sink compound, thermal gel, thermal compound, or CPU gel is still needed to absorb and probably transfer the excess heat to the surroundings.
Best Thermal Paste
The thermal paste is such that serves as a medium between the heat sources and the heat sink. However, getting the best thermal paste is usually not enough because if it is not applied sufficiently, or applied too sufficiently, it will still cause harm to the processor or graphic card. Therefore, getting the best graphic card is not enough. Knowing how to apply it is equally very important.
This is why you have us here. This delicious new post is about showing you the best thermal paste out there, their features, pros, cons, as well as their modes for proper applications. This post is also highly beneficial to electronic engineers/technicians and not only gamers as there could be a thing or two to learn as you read along.
Best Thermal Paste I Picked In 2018
The best thermal paste is picked for 2018 is definitely the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut. This remarkable thermal paste work for both your CPU and GPU which is a very rare characteristic. Depending on the cooling system and design mock-up of your device, this paste can reduce the temperature to more than 10 degrees Celsius. The decrease in temperature will allow your processor or GPU to function properly even when working with an overclock.
This paste is one of the best based on its versatility and pro gamers and technicians will really have fun working with it. You should just be cautious when applying so that you can get the best out of it.
How We Picked
There are certain factors we had to put into consideration as to why we picked the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut as the best thermal paste for 2018 aside its ability to work for both CPU and GPU.
Firstly, the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut has good conductivity rating which allows it to transfer heat to the sink. This factor also allows it to reduce temperatures more efficiently.
Secondly, I must admit that this particular paste is electrically capacitive. Even with this, there seems to be no trouble as the heat sink should just be cleaned with isopropyl.
Lastly, the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut has low density. This will allow it to spread quickly and evenly when applied.
In – Depth Review on Choosing Your Best Thermal Paste
Very soon, I will be showing you the 10 best thermal paste to use in 2018. There are a lot of products in the market today and this could cause a conundrum for people who want to get one. Apart from providing a list for you, we will also be giving you their specifications, advantages, disadvantages and our final take on these items. We decided to do all these so as to guide you to make an informed decision on the one to buy based on what you want.
7 of the Best Thermal Paste of 2018
Now, before we give you an in – depth review of the 10 best thermal paste to use in 2018, we want to quickly present to you the 7 best thermal paste of 2018 at a glance.
- Arctic Silver 5
- Arctic MX-4
- Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
- Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut
- Noctua NT-H1
- Phobya LM
- Coolermaster MasterGel
Quick Tips for This Pick
As stated earlier, these thermal paste all have good density, consistency, capacitive and conductive (thermal and electrical) properties. Some of them are non – capacitive while the others are liquid metal thermal compounds. They all have different features and characteristics as well as pros and cons. Some of these will be seen later in the post should they reoccur in our top 10. They are all easy to apply and have good efficiency and effectiveness. You could easily make a quick pick from here.
Enough said, let us now take an extensive look at the 10 best thermal paste to use in 2018:
Top 1: Arctic MX-4 Heatsink Paste (4 grams)
About Arctic MX-4
This is a non-capacitive thermal paste having carbon micro particles that gives it good thermal conductivity. This will make sure that the heat generated will be dissipated to the heat sink properly. It is highly stable and can support overclocked CPU and GPU.
There is no issue of short-circuiting as it is non-metallic and does not conduct electricity. Your internal components are therefore protected. It is really durable and can last as long as 8 years when applied unlike silicon and thermal compounds. It is easy to use by both professionals and beginners.
- It has good thermal conductivity and electric insulation due to its carbon-based compounds.
- Easy to use and spreads well.
- It is compatible with coolers of different compositions.
- Extremely durable, lasting 8 years after application.
- As compared, to its competitors, this thermal paste is quite expensive.
For the number of advantages, we can see that it has a lot of positive features. I believe that the 8 years’ durability can really compensate for the steepness in price.
Top 2: Arctic MX-4 (with spatula)
About Arctic MX-4
Arctic started this product far back in 2001. It consists of carbon micro-particles which increases the thermal conductivity of the paste, thereby making it very effective. And since there is no metal in it, it is non-conductive. This means there is problem of short-circuiting if it comes in contact with electrical/electronic components.
The Arctic MX-4 is really easy to apply especially with the fact that this one has a spatula added to it. The spatula will help you spread it to the actual places you want it to cover in case the syringe doesn’t do the job.
- It doesn’t conduct electricity and is non-corrosive.
- Once applied, it can last as long as 8 years.
- It is also easy to apply with the spatula added to it.
- It is quite expensive.
I guess Arctic just try to make their products better and better. The difference between this product and the other ones reviewed is that this one comes with a spatula that helps you spread the thermal compound better around the desired place. This way, effectiveness is ensured.
Top 3: Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste
About Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste
It is good to use on CPU, chips and components on an electronic board, VGA card, GPU, etc. The Zif socket makes sure that paste is applied in the right place as it adapts to different CPU sockets. It is easy to use and spreads evenly when applied. It can adapt to a variety of temperatures.
- It has a variety of temperature applications.
- It spreads evenly and will not spill into pins in the circuit board.
- The applicator makes it uniform and consistent when used.
- The templates that comes with it does not really fit into all chipsets.
- The Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste only last for 2 years.
For professional PC technicians and builders, the Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste is a house hold name. The company producing it has stood the test of time, hence, providing quality through the years. It might not last for so long, but is one of the best and efficient to use.
Top 4: Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Grease Paste
About Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Grease Paste
It comes with a 1-gram syringe which makes it very easy to apply. It is very effective and efficient for large cooling system. When heat removal is of high importance, this is the thermal paste to turn to.
Professional and experienced PC builders usually go for this one. It has a thermal conductivity of 73 W per mk.
- It has good performance with systems that are liquid cooled.
- Blends very well with different metals.
- It dissipates heat from processors quickly, thereby handling overclocking properly.
- Could prove difficult to remove from heat sinks.
- It contains gallium which does not work well with aluminium.
- Since it is conductive, you have to be weary of contact with electrical parts to avoid short circuiting.
The Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Grease Paste is a good and quality product but since it is conductive, it could pose harm to the circuit. As with liquid metal mixtures, it does not work well in cold conditions. The good part of all these is that is good for both CPU and GPU.
Top 5: Halnziye Thermal Conductive Silicone Plaster
About Halnziye Thermal Conductive Silicone Plaster
This thermal paste helps to join the heatsink to the CPU, having a melting capability of up to 200 degrees Celsius in 24 hours. Though it is conductive, if this thermal paste accidentally spills on the motherboard, it will not spoil it. Though you will need to clean it off on time. Apart from this being a paste, it also acts as a plaster. In only three minutes, it clogs and helps to dissipate heat effectively. It is very easy to apply and is silicon based.
- It is thermally conductive and only clots in three minutes.
- The adhesives properties help to protect the heatsink and VGA card.
- The silicon based formula makes sure application is easy.
- It comes at an affordable price.
- The tube is quite small, so for large jobs you might need two tubes.
- Upon excessive spilling, there could be damage to the motherboard.
Apart from this thermal paste having a small tube, it is highly effective for dissipating heat from the heat sink. It dries up real fast and has an affordable price. It’s a yes from us.
Top 6: Arctic MX-4 (20 grams)
About Arctic MX-4
It has a thermal conductivity and is really efficient for CPUs and GPUs. I must say that is light and consistent during application with a good viscosity.
Therefore, it lasts for a very long period of time because it is non – curing. It is also non-conductive and non-corrosive, thereby making it very easy to clean. Even a non-professional person can apply it easily. It is also non-conductive and non-corrosive, thereby making it very easy to clean. Your inner and outer components are thus safe.
- It is very easy to use.
- Its heat conductivity is great and has good cooling performance.
- It does not have a burn-in period.
- It is non-conductive, non-curing and non-corrosive.
- Excellent choice for GPUs.
- It is quite expensive.
- Its lasting potentials is still subject to verification.
Arctic MX-4 is one of the most reliable thermal pastes in the market today. It is 4 grams, but worth the buy because it is easy to apply and is non-corrosive and non-conductive. Its main goal is to improve the performance of your GPU and processor by dissipating heat properly, and my word, does it do it!
Top 7: Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound
About Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound
It can be used for at least 15 different applications and can be stored for around 2 years. The compositions of different micro particles allow it to have good thermal resistivity. It is very easy to use and has good stability for a long period of time. It can last for up to 3 years upon application.
- It is highly durable and performs greatly.
- It is quite affordable.
- It is easy to use and spreads evenly with low viscosity.
- It is applied with the help of a syringe.
- It is a hybrid compound and has good heat resistivity.
- The constituents that makes it hybrid are unknown.
- Once it sticks, it is difficult to remove.
- Not as efficient as the other thermal pastes and only good for mid users.
Even though the Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound has a wide fan base, some people still have their reservations because it did not resolve their overheating problem. Anyway, it is still subject to review because it might just have been applied wrongly for all we care!
Top 8: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5G
About Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5G
It has ceramic particles that have been thermally enhanced. It has pure silver particles that comes in 3 different shapes and sizes. It makes good physical contact with the heat sink and the CPU. When it comes to the point of how to apply thermal paste like this one, I must say that it spreads evenly and will not bleed, run, migrate or separate. You shouldn’t use all of it at a go as it has 3.5-gram content.
- It has a high conductivity rate.
- Boasts of a whopping 99.9% silver content.
- It is quite easy to apply and equally easy to remove.
- It tends to last really long.
- Upon application, its needs some curing time for the device to cool, sometimes there are no noticeable differences.
- Although they say it is not conductive, it is not entirely true because silver is the best conductor!
The Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5G is one of the best thermal pastes and gives you good value for your money. Just be careful to apply properly so as to avoid short circuiting.
Top 9: Phobya Liquid Metal Thermal Paste
About Phobya Liquid Metal Thermal Paste
It is one the most recent type of thermal paste about which I realized that it does not have non-metallic properties like silicon and oxides, making thermal transfer a lot easier. It has a 3.7-gram syringe which is sufficient enough to apply on components. It is adaptable to both CPU and GPU and cools a further 30C to 70C as compared to other thermal compounds. You can apply it to copper, nickel, gold and silver components.
- It is made up of 100% pure metal.
- It has a 40W/mK thermal conductivity level.
- Really good for over clocked and liquid-cooled systems.
- Even with the syringe, it’s still not really easy to apply.
- Since it is made of pure metal, it is electrically conductive.
- It is expensive to purchase.
The Phobya Liquid Metal thermal compound is notoriously good for handling heat dissipation of gaming consoles and processors, so gamers will really like this one. Whilst it does not work well with aluminium and is highly conductive, if enough care is given during application, all of these would not be a problem at all.
Top 10: Thermal Grizzly Aeronaut Grease Paste
About Thermal Grizzly Aeronaut Grease Paste
This thermal paste is easy to apply, more so with its 3.9-gram syringe. It dissipates heat efficiently from rookie and mod level computer systems. People who use computers on a mainstream level and who play games only moderately can always use this thermal paste. It has good thermal conductivity and resistivity.
- It has very good thermal conductivity and no electrical conductivity.
- It also lasts very long once it is applied.
- No curing time is needed for this thermal paste.
- The kryonaut product of this same brand performs better and is everything this one is not.
The Thermal Grizzly Aeronaut Grease Paste is quite different from the rest and is quite easy to apply using the applicator provided. It offers very good value for its amount which is quite affordable.
Accessories and List Table
Thermal pastes don’t just work alone. They work with a combination of items to work effectively. Some of these accessories are:
- Heat sink cooler fin
- Thermoelectric peltier cooler
- Thermal conductive grease paste
- Multi-functional meter
- Solder wire
- Soldering bit/iron
- Thermal pads and back plate cooling
- Closed loop liquid cooler
- GPU and CPU air cooler
With all or some of these, you can be rest assured that your processor or GPU will last for a long time.
So now, we have given you a tour on the review of the best thermal paste to use in 2018. The pros and cons apart from the specifications should help you make a well informed decision. The accessories section will also guide you to make sure that you get the right gadgets and tools to work alongside your thermal paste to enhance the life and performance of your processor or GPU.
The One I Will Choose
All the products listed here are all good and efficient, depending on what you need them for. But if I was to choose from all the products here listed above, it will have to be an Arctic product. So for me, I think I will go for the Arctic MX-4. Here are my reasons:
- It is very easy to use and spreads evenly when applied.
- It has very high thermal conductivity which means that heat conducted will be dissipated quickly.
- It can last for as long as 8 years. So once you apply it, its effect is almost permanent because it can out-live most computer.
How to Choose a Thermal Paste?
Choosing a thermal paste can be dicey. There are some things to put into considerations. Nut before we go into that, we still need to take an in-depth look at what a thermal paste really is. Knowing what it is and the factors to consider before purchasing will help us to choose the right one. We understand that there are lots of products in the market today, and you do not want to make a mistake. That is why you have us here. We will surely come through for you.
What Is A Thermal Paste?
At the beginning if this post, I promised that we will be giving a thorough explanation of what a thermal paste is. So I guess we saved the best for later. A thermal paste is a greyish heat conductive compound used when fixing the heat sink or cooler of a CPU or GPU.
It is important to know how to apply thermal paste even though you have a means of cooling your device and transferring heat to the heat sink is that the heat sink has some microscopic gaps that are unknown to the physical eyes alone. Only the thermal compound can cover these holes. These gaps can lead to poor dissipation of heat. This will cause your CPU or GPU to be over heated all the time, and in the long run it will get damaged.
The thermal paste or compound covers up these gaps effectively and since it highly conducts heat, it will then dissipate the heat generated by the CPU or GPU to the heat sink. The role of a thermal paste is very key to the functionality of your CPU or GPU.
Types of Thermal Compounds
There are basically three types of thermal compounds available to us. These thermal pastes could be metal based, ceramic based or carbon based. They all have different characteristics and perform different functions due to their physical properties.
- Carbon-based thermal paste
Carbon-based thermal pastes are considered the best thermal paste to buy. They are a scarce commodity, quite expensive and hard to come by. Professional PC technicians like to use this type. This type of thermal paste contains materials like carbon dust and graphene oxide. Another reason why carbon-based pastes are expensive is that some of them have carbon dust.
The price you will pay for this type of thermal paste will not go in vain as it also bridges the gap between ceramic paste and metallic pastes. It has equal or more dissipating properties like the metallic paste and is as non-conductive like the ceramic pastes. Another reason why carbon based thermal pastes are the best is that they last very long, as much as 8 years to be precise. That’s four times more than what metal based and ceramic based paste offer.
- Ceramic-based thermal paste
Ceramic based thermal paste usually come with a light grey colour or whitish and have fine ceramic powder or dust suspended in silicon paste. Though the cheapest type of ceramic based paste contains silicon, others also contain aluminium oxide and zinc oxide. The major advantage that ceramic based paste has over metal paste is that they are non-conductive. So even if you get sloppy and spill some over the motherboard of your CPU, there is no danger of short circuiting. The down side is that ceramic based thermal pastes do not dissipate heat as much as the other two types. However, it’s still functional for computers that are not over worked or gamers that do not in pro level.
- Metal-based thermal paste
As the name implies, this type of paste has metallic compounds attached to it, and the type of metals found are either silver or aluminium. Metal based paste are very good for heat dissipation. The only issue with it is that since metals are conductors, if this type of paste is accidentally applied on processor pins, there could be a short circuiting. Metal based thermal paste are also quite expensive.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Thermal Paste
Since we now know what a thermal paste is and the different properties that make one unique from the other, let us now look at some of the factors to consider while choosing a thermal paste:
- How much work will your CPU be doing?
We can all agree that the CPU of a computer that just does some office work, surfs the internet and used for light multimedia functions will not do as much processing as the one that is used for high end gaming, audio and video editing, programming and graphics designs. The more task you subject your CPU to, the more heat it produces. After all, whenever work is done, heat is produced. For the later type of CPU, a carbon or metal based thermal paste is advisable. But for the former, a ceramic based thermal paste will just be ideal.
- What level of PC builder are you?
Pro level PC builders will of course know their way around a thermal paste of different types. But if you are just a beginner, we can’t trust you to not spill the grey compound everywhere. To this effect, we will be recommending you use a thermal paste that is nonconductive like carbon based or ceramic based that are quite easy to remove or clean.
- What is your budget?
If you know that the work load of your CPU or GPU will require it to produce a lot of heat that means you probably spent a lot to purchase the PC in the first place, and that’s why you can be expecting too much from it. The point is if you can spend so much to get a high end PC, why you should not get a high end thermal paste to go with it. It is only for your betterment as it will improve the performance of your CPU.
How to Apply and Remove Thermal Paste
Thermal paste should be applied carefully. But no matter how careful we are, mistakes are bound to occur. What eraser is to pencil is what 99% isopropyl alcohol is to thermal paste. It’s about the most effective mode of removing thermal compounds from heat sinks, processor surfaces and CPUs.
If you want to know how to apply thermal paste, let me tell you that all you have to do is pour some of it on the area you want to clean, allow it to dissolve for a few minutes and then wipe with a clean towel. As for applying, make sure you apply gently on areas needed and avoid contact with the processor pins. Allow to dry before mounting the heat sink and other components.
Recommendations for Our Best Thermal Paste Of 2018
Before now, we have already made two recommendations on the best thermal paste to get in 2018 and the one to choose from amongst the ones listed in the preview above. We even went a step further to show you the types of paste available and which type to get based on what you want. Sadly, we will not be making another recommendation now. With all the information at your disposal, the onus is on you to get the type of thermal compound you want. We trust that you will be able to make an informed decision all by yourself. Please don’t let us down.
Ultimate Guide to the Best Carbon Based Thermal Pastes
If you want further explanation on carbon based thermal paste and how to apply thermal paste, we have an extensive review that covers that topic. So we indulge you to check it out and get more information concerning the topic.
I’m sure that before now, some of you did not even know that something like thermal paste existed. But now, you know that it is a very integral part of your PC setup or gaming rig especially if you don’t intend to fry your motherboard with overheating.
I hope that the review done here will help you choose the best thermal paste 2018 that you need. Go ahead and get one so that you can have a life that is void of overheating!