Heat dissipation is one of the most important aspects of CPU performance and longevity. You must have noticed that some old, un-serviced CPUs generate a lot of heat and are slower than they should be. Keeping your processing unit cool ensures better performance and longer CPU life. The modern computers come with built-in cooling systems to dissipate heat. From time to time, you must also cover the processor heatsink with the new layer of thermal paste. This is because most thermal pastes tend to dry out and become ineffective.
If you are a normal PC user any thermal paste will do. However, for the more advanced users who have to overclock their CPUs for heavy-duty use and higher performance, the regular thermal pastes are not good enough. They require thermal compounds with higher thermal conductivity and better thermal performance. If you have to push the CPU beyond the normal limits, make sure you get the high-quality thermal paste. Your system will be considerably cooler, will offer better performance, and will last longer.
If you aren’t sure which compound to buy, here is our list of top 8 thermal pastes. Take a look!
1. GELID Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Compound
If you are someone who loves to overclock the computer then you can take care of the CPU overheating issues to a great extent with GELID Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Compound. In fact, it is one of the most widely used thermal pastes bought frequently by the overclockers. It offers a pretty good thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/mk. This may not be the best out there yet this thermal paste has proven to be extremely effective. Not many can take care of thermal issues of the CPU as well as this one. As per the manufacturers, GC-Extreme is completely non-toxic as well as non-corrosive. It also doesn’t harden quickly even at high CPU temperatures. And, in spite of being grease based, it is quite inexpensive as well, especially if you compare it with Kyronaut, about which we will talk next.
2. Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste
Kryonaut is probably the best thermal paste you can get at this time. It is also a perfect thermal solution for those who love to overclock their CPU frequently. This paste offers a superior thermal conductivity label of 12.5, better than most of the grease pastes you will find in the market. Due to the high thermal conductivity, it can transfer large amount of heat from the CPU to the cooling system. As a result, your computer doesn’t get heated up quickly even when it is being overworked and enjoys a longer life. Kyronaut is also a non-curing paste and does not dry up even at high temperatures (up to 80 degree centigrade). Kyyonaut is quite expensive though. It can cost as much as $12 on the popular ecommerce websites for 1.0 gram.
3. Arctic MX-4 Thermal Compound
Arctic MX-4 thermal paste has very quickly become one of the most preferred choices of many computer users as well as dealers. The best thing about this paste is that it offers a high thermal conductivity of 8.5 and yet it has a very reasonable price tag. You can buy it for less than $7 for a 4 gram tube. This means it is even cheaper than GC-Exterme that we talked about earlier. It is a grease based thermal compound and does not use any metallic particles. This is why it is able to offer higher thermal conductivity without any electrical conductivity. It remains non-curing and non-corrosive at high temperatures too. Thus, it is able to offer quality thermal performance at an affordable price.
4. Cooler Master MasterGel Maker Nano
Cooler Master isn’t as popular as the other thermal pastes we have on this list thus far. It is fairly new and hence not a lot of people know about it. However, those who have used this paste swear by it. It gives you the optimal thermal solution to your CPU; the best you can expect from such a compound. It offers a superior thermal conductivity at 11 W/mk. This thermal conductivity rating is better than most other pastes on this list. The most incredible aspect of this paste is that it contains nano sized diamond particles which help it handle a really wide temperature range (-50 to 150 degree centigrade). This thermal paste is thick and sticky. It can be easily spread and applied on the plate. It also doesn’t dry out very quickly. Cooler Master is definitely best thermal paste for CPU you can have.
5. Noctua NT-H1
Noctua is one of the most well known dealers of CPU coolers and CPU thermal solutions products. NT-H1 thermal paste comes bundled with their cooling kit. However, if you like, you can also buy this thermal paste separately. NT-H1 is definitely one of the best thermal pastes you will find. It offers high quality thermal performance. NT-H1 is not a completely grease-based thermal paste. In fact, it is a hybrid. It also contains various micro-particles that make it a superior quality thermal compound. The manufacturers haven’t provided the thermal conductivity specification. However, they claim that it can operate in the temperature range of -50 to 110 degree Celsius. This sound great because NT-H1 is also very affordable priced at less than $6. It is a great option for the overclockers looking affordable thermal solution.
6. Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste
This is another viable CPU thermal solution by Arctic. There was a time when Silver 5 was one of the most widely used thermal pastes around the world. However, its popularity has declined over the last couple of years owing to many new products hitting the market. It has not only been outperformed by other thermal pastes but also by the company’s very own MX-4, the one we discussed above. Yet, Silver 5 continues to be the preferred choice of many overclockers at this time. This thermal paste is primarily made of micronized silver. However, in spite of having a metallic component, it does not conduct electricity. This is why it is completely safe to use. Silver 5 will cost you no more than $6 and yet, at 8.7 W/mk, it offers better thermal conductivity than many other thermal pastes out there, including the more popular GC-Extreme.
7. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Liquid Metal
If you are someone who has to push the CPU to its extreme limits and put it to the most gruesome thermal tests, you will want nothing less than the best thermal compound. Thermal Grizzly is the thermal paste you should get if that’s what you want. In fact, the manufacturers promote this paste as the product for the hardcore overclockers. This thermal paste can control the temperature of your CPU like none other. It has the unbeatable thermal conductivity of 73 W/mk, which is many times higher than even the best we have on this list. This is precisely why it is the perfect solution for those who use their CPU for heavy duty purposes. It can dissipate large amount of heat very quickly.
8. Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
This is another liquid-metal based thermal compound meant for the overclockers looking for superior thermal performance. This paste can beat any grease-based paste hands-down in terms of thermal performance. Just like Thermal Grizzly, it is to be used with the CPUs overclocked to their extreme limits. However, Coollaboratory offers a thermal conductivity of 38.4, which is nearly half as much of Thermal Grizzly. But, it still is higher than any grease-based thermal compound. But, there is one thing you need to be very careful about. Do not use this compound with heatsinks made of aluminum. This paste uses gallium alloy which will cause corrosion to the aluminum surface.
Here is our list of the best thermal pastes for you. All of them are definitely better than the normal paste that is applied to any newly purchased computer. At the same time, some pastes on this list are better than the others. Your choice will depend largely upon how you intend to use your computer. If you push the CPU speed to its extreme limits then I would recommend liquid-metal based thermal compounds (last two on the list). If you overclock your CPU for normal gaming then you can go for the grease based thermal compounds as well. The choice is completely yours.