Every PC enthusiast strives to maintain the processor temperatures of their machine as low as possible. This is essential and necessary since, in order to prolong their lifespan, neither the CPU nor the GPU should operate at excessive temperatures. The stock CPU coolers that come with the majority of the CPUs on the market right now are typically poor quality and do not provide the optimum cooling performance. Here comes the importance of thermal paste for the CPU.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a thermal paste is simply a thermally conductive substance that is typically put between the processor (CPU or GPU) and the cooler’s heatsink to prevent air gaps and enhance heat transfer between the IC and the cooler.
So, we strongly advise you to buy a high-grade thermal paste if you’re an enthusiast who wants the very highest “thermal performance” out of your CPU and GPU. There are many of these on the market, so if you’re not sure which one to choose, listed below are the top ten thermal pastes for CPU and GPU.
What Are Thermal Pastes?
Thermal pastes, as already established, are chemical substances, frequently viscous or gelatinous, that help thermal conductivity between an IC and its heat sink. They are also known as a thermal compound, thermal grease, thermal gel, etc. They accomplish this by removing air gaps from the cooler’s interface with the CPU or GPU, which reduces thermal insulation and increases heat dissipation. They are often electrically insulating but are always thermally conducting.
How to Choose a Thermal Paste
While searching on the internet you can find hundreds of thermal pastes enlisted on various eCommerce sites. But, how to find the right one? Look for the features enlisted here:
In essence, this will have one of two effects on your transaction. If the substance has a metallic foundation, as was previously noted, it must be treated with extreme caution to prevent getting on the circuits. It can corrode your circuit boards in addition to it being electrically conductive, which effectively bricks your pricey gaming motherboard.
The majority of liquid metal thermal pastes will degrade aluminum and have a very severe reaction if you have an aluminum CPU cooler heatsink. Choose something non-corrosive or utilize a copper heatsink that has been nickel-plated.
2. Thermal Cycles
Some products need to go through a few temperature cycles in order to perform properly. This implies that they need to be exposed to significant temperature fluctuations in order to colonize every crevice. The compound will require more thermal cycles to properly activate the greater the viscosity.
There are a few aspects to think about while purchasing thermal paste. The paste will be more conductive the higher the heat transfer values. Therefore, 38 W/mk pastes will be more conductive than 12.5 W/mk (12.5 Watts per meter Kelvin) pastes. Nevertheless, since your results will vary depending on your cooling system’s components, any thermal paste from a respected manufacturer will work just fine. In practice, you’ll only notice a small amount of -/+ from your old thermal paste.
If you use 1.5-gram syringes on common LGA 1151 or AM4 chips, they can be used about three to four times. You’ll need to purchase 3.5-gram or bigger syringes for LGA 2066 or Threadripper CPUs in order to completely cover the chip.
Best Thermal Paste for CPU
The top thermal pastes for CPU and GPU on the market are listed here. All varieties of pastes, including those based on metal, ceramic/diamond, carbon, and liquid metal, have been included. Choose whatever appeals to you and is within your price range.
1. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut
- 1.0-gram package
- 73 W / MK conductivity
- Liquid metal compound
- Highly effective thermal conductivity
- Excellent for enthusiasts seeking to overclock
- Specifically designed for copper heatsinks with nickel plating
- Not applicable on aluminum-based heatsinks.
Features: The liquid metal-based material known as the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut has excellent thermal conductivity characteristics. Another item designed for enthusiasts who want to maximize cooling effectiveness is this one. This product, which ranks at the top as the finest thermal paste for CPU overclocking, comes in an effective container with a spout that lets you manage the thermal compound’s spread.
A cleaning package with alcohol wipes and two cotton swabs for applying the thermal coating is also included with the item. As with our prior product, use a tiny amount and simply paint it over the surfaces because, if handled carelessly, this too poses a risk of shorting your components.
With a thermal conductivity of 73 W/mk, the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut qualifies for our list of the top CPU thermal pastes. If you’re an expert overclocker, this is a terrific option for you to make in order to gain that boost in performance that will propel you to the top of the leaderboards.
2. Antec Formula X Thermal Paste
- 11 w/mk thermal conductivity
- 3.5-Gram Syringe
- Not Electrically Conductive
- Excellent Heat Conductivity and Easy To Apply
- Not quite as adhesive as claimed
Buy Now: Antec Formula X Thermal Paste
Features: An amazing thermal compound with good cooling capabilities at a reasonable price is the Antec Formula X Thermal Paste. It comes in a 3.5-gram syringe that may apply the material to a CPU heat spreader several times. The paste has a thermal conductivity of 11 w/mk, which is average but sufficient for the majority of users who aren’t hardcore overclockers.
The substance has been designed to be durable and to have long-term cooling stability. It is also non-corrosive and electrically non-conductive. Don’t use the paste as an adhesive, despite the manufacturer’s claims that it is highly sticky. A plastic spatula for spreading the paste, the aforementioned syringe with the paste, and a few wipes for wiping out the contact surfaces are all included in the package. Overall, this is a fine thermal paste for most people, but if you want to push your CPU to its OC and beyond boundaries, a liquid metal thermal compound is probably a better option.
3. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
- Made for air and water cooling
- Compatible with sub-zero overclocking
- Non-corrosive, can work with aluminum coolers
- 12.5 W / mk conductivity
- 1.0-gram syringe
- Excellent heat conductivity
- No healing
- Conductive-free substance
- A little pricey
- Cold temperatures make it difficult to apply.
Buy Now: Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Features: The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal compound was excellent in our opinion. The fact that it’s designed for overclockers is a major plus. For the best results, we advise you to place the tube in a ziplock bag and soak it in warm water for a few minutes before applying it to your selected surface because the viscosity of the product relies on the temperature it has been kept in.
If you apply it using the previously indicated way, everything will go smoothly. A thermal application tool, which is really helpful if you’re trying to apply it in an even coating, is included with the one-gram tube. It lasts a long time and is the ideal paste to replace your dried-out, grit-filled compound. The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste transmits heat efficiently enough to be an enthusiast-grade product even though 12.5 W / mk doesn’t appear excessive. Perfect all-around, great if you’re interested in overclocking and searching for a new thermal compound.
4. CORSAIR XTM50
- 5.0 W / mk
- Low viscosity makes it easier to apply
- Comes with stencils and spatula – beginner-friendly
- Best for novices
- Produces positive outcomes
- Less heat conductivity than rival products
- Unfavorable to overclockers
Buy Now: CORSAIR XTM50
Features: It’s challenging to think of a region of the PC community where Corsair is completely absent. The XTM50 is a low-viscosity liquid thermal compound that claims to increase the lifetime in that regard. The chance of damage increases every time you disassemble your computer, so using a long-lasting paste is a wonderful approach to reduce this kind of interaction.
It is one of the best pastes for application because of its low viscosity. However, because it is less conductive in the liquid state, you won’t get as good of results as you would with a product like Cooler Master, Arctic, or Thermal Grizzly. Overall, it’s fantastic if you’ve never used thermal paste because it still produces trustworthy results. Simply put, high-end overclocking isn’t its intended use.
5. Arctic Silver 5
- 3.5-gram syringe
- Increasing conductivity based on multiple tempering cycles
- Not electrically-conductive
- Satisfactory thermal conductivity
- Simple application Affordable
- Depending on how often you use your PC, it takes some time to achieve its maximum capability.
Buy Now: Arctic Silver 5
Features: A popular model among high-end PC enthusiasts is the Arctic Silver 5. The Arctic is a well-known brand in the thermal compound market, and the Silver 5 appears to be the product of choice for many PC builders. What gives, though?
The Arctic Silver 5 has incredible conductivity for enthusiasts thanks to the combination of lubricants and metallic particles (99.9% silver). Even while it contains metallic components, the material itself is not conductive, so even if you handle it carelessly, you won’t run the risk of a short. This product’s viscosity is also designed for a simple application, making it very user-friendly. The only drawback is that because of the nature of the mix, it takes around 200 hours and numerous tempering cycles (turning the heat on and off) to get maximum conductivity.
6. Arctic MX-5
- The density of 3.2 g/cm³
- Continuous use temperature – 40~180 ℃
- Breakdown Voltage 250 V/mil
- Trustworthy thermal paste
- Offers good thermal conductivity performance at a reasonable price for the product
- When it ought to have been included regardless, there is the choice for both a spatula and one that is not.
Buy Now: Arctic MX-5
Features: The Arctic MX range of thermal paste is such product that has been around for a very long time and regularly received positive reviews. The MX-5 is a new version of this venerable thermal paste, and as expected, it fulfills its claim to be effective at facilitating heat transfer to CPU coolers.
Since the MX-5 is not electrically conductive or capacitive, it has a high thermal conductivity, is simple to apply, and is generally safe to use. It’s encouraging to see that the MX-5 can compete with even powerful competitors such as the Kryonaut thermal paste.
7. Cooler Master MasterGel Maker
- 11 W / mk conductivity
- 1.5-gram syringe
- 2.6 specific gravity at 25 degrees Celsius
- A non-metal product with good thermal conductivity
- Excellent for any application (CPU, GPU, Delidding chips)
- Spreading-friendly flat-nozzle design
- Costly given the specifications
Buy Now: Cooler Master MasterGel Maker
Features: When it comes to cooling, the Cooler Master is a titan of the business. Pumps, coolers, and airflow-optimized cases—they all work. They should be on the list given all of their knowledge in cooling. The MasterGel Maker is a fantastic tool for everyone, whether you want to overclock your graphics card or swap out your old thermal paste with a much better brand.
The Cooler Master MasterGel Maker is a terrific value option because it comes in a handy 1.5-gram tube, which is enough for several uses. The thermal grease is of excellent quality, has excellent heat conductivity, and is simple to apply.
For a non-conductive thermal composite, the conductivity of 11 W/mk is excellent. It truly surpasses the competition and produces stunning results on both standard and overclocked systems. If kept at room temperature, the 2.6 specific gravity (at 25 C) enables simple application.
8. Noctua NT-H1
- 3.5-gram syringe
- Not electrically conductive
- Lasts up to 5 years after applying
- 8.5 W / mk conductivity
- Simple to use and includes instructional
- Comparatively speaking, the conductivity is not the best.
Buy Now: Noctua NT-H1
Features: You haven’t been a PC geek for very long if you haven’t heard of Noctua. Noctua is one of its kind when it comes to manufacturing cooling fans. For the greatest air cooling solutions for any kind of system, case fans and CPU fans are known. Depending on the sort of CPU you use, the “hefty” 3.5-gram NT-H1 thermal compound, which is their flagship product, can be used in numerous applications.
It doesn’t need to go through thermal cycles to function correctly (we’ll cover that in the purchase guide), so you can simply sprinkle a dollop of it on the surface to start seeing better temperatures. The application is simple, and the product’s superb density makes the process easier overall. Additionally, it includes a tonne of instructions on how to apply it to various types of chips, so even beginners will enjoy using this top-notch product from Noctua.
9. Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
- 38 W / mk thermal conductivity
- 100% metal liquid
- Not compatible with aluminum
- satisfactory thermal conductivity
- Decent value
- Intended just for enthusiasts for particular uses
- Unable to work with aluminum heat sinks
Buy Now: Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
Features: High-profile business influencers have praised the Liquid Ultra from Coollaboratory as a superb thermal conductor. It is another metal-based liquid compound. It has all the features a high-end enthusiast would want in a high-quality thermal compound and is relatively inexpensive compared to the competition.
The fact that it is entirely liquid metal does restrict how you can use it if you’re not experienced. It’s crucial to use a non-corrosive, non-conductive compound whenever you’re altering a GPU’s cooling system to add a liquid block or an alternative cooler, or when you’re trying to delid a CPU to further boost its speed, to prevent damaging and shorting your pricey components.
10. Cooler Master MasterGel Pro v2
- Thermal Conductivity: High CPU/GPU conductivity W/m.k=9
- Volume (mL): 1. 5
- Simple to use and clean up
- Easily accessible
- Per gram cost more than average
Buy Now: Cooler Master MasterGel Pro v2
Features: a substance possessing characteristics of a typical thermal compound, such as thick, malleable viscosity and strong application stability. MasterGel Pro v2 is simple to use, apply, and clean up after. Individual ingredients are not listed on technical spec sheets. For cleanup, you will need – lint-free absorbent paper towels, cotton swabs, alcohol pads, or alcohol.
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Now that you have reached the end of the article, we can assume that you have a fair understanding of the best thermal paste for CPUs available in the market. Already picked one from the list? Let us know the result!
Q1. Can thermal paste last 10 years?
You need to change the thermal paste if it has dried out within the CPU. Replace it with a fresh layer of the thermal paste after removing it with an isopropyl alcohol pad. Typically, thermal paste has a three-year life span (average).
Q2. How long does Arctic mx4 last?
Arctic MX-4 is known for its longevity. With the MX-4, you don’t have to make any sacrifices compared to metal or silicone thermal pastes because it lasts up to 8 years after application.
Q3. Does Kryonaut expire?
The life span of the paste can last up to 5 years as long as it was kept in a controlled environment.