Thermal Compound Test

Discussion in 'Sager and Clevo' started by Danishblunt, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    So I was testing thermal compounds and bought the most prominent ones and tested every single one of them on my P375SM-A. Here are the contenders, I've also added 2 cheap ones to the mix:
    [​IMG]

    So here are some information about every single Thermal compound and how they were:
    Coolermaster htk-002
    Now this one was really really strange compared to the other ones. It was really liquiddy, almost like water. It also had a rather interesting color which was white. And I don't mean light grey, I mean white, as in paper. Overall if your heatsink fit is not at least perfect, this thermal compound won't work at all. Very easy to apply and clean off.

    - Thermal Conductivity 0.8 watts/meter-C

    Artic cooling MX-2
    This one actually had the perfect liquidity it was very easy to use and it seemed perfect for most heatsinks, color was typical grey. Easy to apply and clean off.

    Thermal Conductivity 5.6 W/(mK)


    Noctua Nt-H1

    The noctua is a little bit on the thicker side making compatibilty with most systems, it has a more dark tone to it and was rather easy to apply and clean off.

    Uknown Thermal Conductivity

    IC Diamond
    This thermal compound is like noctua on the darker side, however the thickness of this paste is insane. It's perfect for terrible heatsink fits, however applying it is a nightmare, spreading the paste is really really difficult, cleaning is is harder than other pasts however not to bad.

    Thermal Conductivity 8.5 W/(mK)

    Gelid GC-Extreme:
    Pretty much like MX2, easy to apply and to clean, it was slightly thicker but no issues at all. Pastecolor is the typical light grey.

    Thermal Conductivity 8.5 W/(mK)


    Thermal grizzly
    Light in color, and similair to Artic MX-2, easy to apply, cleaning is also very easy and compatibility with almost all kind of heatsinks, be it tight or bad (not terrible).

    Thermal Conductivity 12.5 W/(mK)


    Coolaboratory Liquid Pro
    The first liquid metal to be relased. The tube is annoyingly terribly designed and getting liquid metal out of the tube is a main in the bum. Cleaning it is also a nightmare and applying it is also rather hard. It takes quite a while to spread because the liquid metal doens't like to stick on the surface of the heatsink or CPU die.

    Thermal Conductivity 32.6 W/mk


    Thermal Grizzly conduconaut
    Pretty much the same as Coolaboratory, however the tube is much much better so chances of spilling liquid metal isn't as high, applying it is the same hassle, however removing it was easier, still a pain.

    Thermal Conductivity 73 W/mk


    Results:
    I only did stresstest with XTU for 10minutes and ran it idle for a little time to give an idea what we got. I did run it 2x for each tim to ensure a somewhat reliable result.

    Specs:
    P375SM-A, 4940MX, 4ghz, 1.050Vcore ~60W TDP

    Idle results:
    Coolermaster htk-002: min 39c, avg 43c, max 45c
    Arctic MX-2: min 34, avg 35, max 38
    Noctua NT-H1: min 34, avg 35, max 38
    ICDiamond: min 33, avg 35, max 37
    Gelid CG Extreme min 34, avg 35, max 38
    Thermal Grizzly min 33, avg 35, max 37
    Liquid Pro: min 33, avg 35, max 37
    Conduconaut: min 33, avg35, max 38

    Now take these results with a grain of salt. Except for the coolermaster every tim basicially performed about the same. I already expected this kind from coolermaster since it really is incredibly fluid, I don't think it makes contacts on all areas of the CPU.

    Now lets get to the interesting part:

    XTU 10min Stresstest:
    Coolermaster htk-002: avg 96c, max 98c Thermal throttle to 3.2ghz
    Arctic MX-2: avg 79, max 87
    Noctua NT-H1: avg 79, max 86
    ICDiamond: avg 76, max 81
    Gelid CG Extreme avg 74, max 79
    Thermal Grizzly avg 77, max 82
    Liquid Pro: min avg 78, max 85
    Conduconaut: avg 77, max 85

    Now this is interesting,I don't know why and how but for some reason the Gelid CG Extreme did perform noticable better than all the other thermal compounds, followed by ICDiamond and then the Liquid metals. All in all all temps were really realy similair to each other. However Gelid was the winner, never breaching 80c on any core, which was suprising, since I was thinking that either ICD would win or the liquid metals. Never used this paste before, but I guess I'll use it in the future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  2. camberman3000

    camberman3000 Notebook Consultant

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    Great info, thanks for sharing! Did you by any chance take pics of each application before you installed the heatsink and after you pulled it off? I'd be curious to see the amounts you applied and the shapes of the resulting 'squish' after taking the heatsink off.
     
  3. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    I didn't really do that, all looked rather similair tho, I took the paste and spread it over the CPU so there is a thin layer on the entire die. When pressing the heatsink on the die, then it pushes the thermal paste to the sides, only a very thin layer will be left. Which is between the CPU and heatsink.

    I didn't deem it neccecarry to make a picture of each application since I do know what I'm doing. However I suppose I could make pictures about it, since people do some weird shapes such as a dot in the middle or an x, which is kinda bad when you do direcly on the die, as opposed to a heatspreader.
     
  4. camberman3000

    camberman3000 Notebook Consultant

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    Ok, yeah that's kinda what I was wondering. It seems like everyone has a theory on how to best apply paste (thick/thin/x/dot, etc). I do the thin layer as well since, in my experience, the other methods usually end up squeezing too much out the sides and makes a mess.

    Aside from all that, I'm surprised the metals didn't have a noticeable performance difference since they are hyped as the superior choice when choosing paste.
     
  5. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    It does make sense tho. My fit is good, but it's not perfect, neither is the heatsink huge nor is the fan anything special. I'm pretty sure liquid metal would destroy on desktop PC's, while on notebooks it isn't really worth it.
     
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  6. jaybee83

    jaybee83 Biotech-Doc

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    question concerning the metal pastes: did you apply them on both the cpu and the corresponding contact area on the heatsink? cuz thats required for optimal fit, just putting a thin layer on one side (cpu) is not sufficient to make proper contact due to the high fluidity and thus very superthin layer of liquid metal tim when spread out.

    ICD being a tad worse than GC Extreme doesnt surprise me, GCE is definitely the superior paste. on bad contact heatsinks, however, ICD is king due to its high viscosity.

    what really surprised me, aside from the above discussed liquid metal pastes, is the comparably bad performance of kryonaut! it it actually kryonaut that u tested? or was it either hydronaut or aeronaut? cuz u only mention Thermal Grizzly (manufacturer), but not the name of the paste. im assuming it is kryonaut due to the thermal conductivity of 12.5 W/mK that you stated.

    In any case, based on personal experience and reviews, Kryonaut performs a tad better than GCE but should definitely not be 5C worse o_O something must be going on there, I either suspect a really bad heatsink fit or improper / varying applications between the pastes.

    Ure running bare die, correct? in that case id recommend the line method in the center of the chip along its long side. applying a thin layer across a chip has the disadvantage of creating a lot of air bubbles in the paste, thus causing higher thermal resistance. for larger surface areas such as an IHS i can recommend the X / cross method for complete coverage. Dot in the middle might be good for saving amounts of thermal paste but in the end it doesnt properly cover the far edges of the chip...
     
  7. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yes, if you don't apply LM on both heatsink and die, the temps are out of control. As you can see on the photo, it's kryonaut alright. The fit isn't bad, it's above average but not optimized with lapping. Also I did a little mistake, the max temp was wrong. Whoops.

    I did test x, dot and thin layer. All had same performance, thin layer does the least amount of mess. When doing a dot or especially an x, you have so much wasted paste.

    But same here, I was kinda suprised it did worse than gelid and ICD, I expected it not to be worse, but i tested it twice, and twice it was worse. So there is that :/
     
  8. jaybee83

    jaybee83 Biotech-Doc

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    the picture in the OP just shows a black syringe with Thermal Grizzly lettering on it :) thats why i asked.

    so in my experience so far:

    - ICD provides on average around 2-3 C higher temps than GCE
    - GCE provides on average around 0.5-1 C higher temps than Kryonaut
    - Kryonaut again is about 3-10 C worse than CLU / Conductonaut / Liquid Metal TIM (depending on heatsink fit and stress test applied)
     
  9. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    Well it could be a fit thing really. As stated it's more or less a stock heatsink, no lapping etc. If anything I guess we can take that kryonaut is better on notebooks with a really good fit. I'll order another minitube and do the test again. The tube is quite old and maybe something worsen it, idk. I'll update.

    I've never seen a huge improvement from liquid metal over pastes such as kryonaut, not even on my MSI GT 72 which has a very very good fit. Kryonaut performed about the same as liquid metal on all notebooks i've tested it on.

    At first I was mad because I thought I did something wrong, but after doing research it appears I wasn't the only one who didn't see any improvement compared to Kryonaut when using Liquid metal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  10. jclausius

    jclausius Notebook Virtuoso

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