This is a sortable table made from the info presented in the article “Geek Tested: 17 Thermal Pastes Face Off” at PCGamer.com. I will also be adding some of my own information inside additional columns such as ebay pricer-per-gram.
On an idling overclocked processor or a stock-clocked CPU, the differences between thermal pastes is minimal—we saw a spread of less than 4C between the best and worst thermal pastes in our roundup. At high temperatures—and we should reiterate that we overclocked the processor to 3.9GHz and used a custom thermal-stress utility to put an enormous thermal load on the CPU—we saw a spread of over 12C. Margin of error is plus or minus 2C to allow for ambient air temperature, which ranged from 23.8C to 25.4C throughout the testing procedure.
Of the seventeen thermal pastes in this roundup, Tuniq’s TX-4 scored the highest. Its burn temperature was 3C cooler than Arctic Silver 5’s. Eleven pastes earn our Geek Tested & Approved badge: Tuniq TX-4 and TX-2, Shin-Etsu MicroSI X23-7783D, Prolimatek PK-1, Arctic Cooling MX-4 and MX-2, Noctual NT-H1, Xigmatek PTI-G4512, ZeroTherm ZT-100, Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400, and good old Arctic Silver 5. We’d give pride of place to Tuniq’s TX-2, Arctic Cooling’s MX-2, and Prolimatech’s PK-1, because they’re slightly cheaper than some of the other premiere thermal interface materials.
So does thermal paste matter? Yes—there’s a big difference between thermal pastes when running a CPU at full burn. There’s a big difference between a thermal interface material that’s good for overclocking and those that aren’t, but with eleven great thermal pastes to choose from, you can’t go wrong with one of them.
(Click Column Headers to Sort)
|Arctic Silver Lumiére||43.75||89||NO||N/A||N/A||OEM|
|Arctic Cooling MX-4||41||81||YES||6.80||1.70||2g, 4g, 20g|
|Prolimatech PK-1||41.25||80.5||YES||12.49||2.50||1.5g, 5g, 30g|
|Rosewill RCX-TC090 Pro||41.75||85.5||NO||N/A||N/A||OEM|
|Arctic Silver 5||41.5||82.5||YES||5.95||1.70||3.5g, 12g|
|Arctic Silver Alumina||42.75||85.5||NO||3.55||2.03||1.75g, 14g|
|Shin-Etsu MicroSI X23-7783D||40*||80.25||YES||6.15||3.08||.5g, 2g, 5g, 20g, 50g, 100g|
|BioStar Nano Diamond||43.25||89||NO||N/A||N/A||OEM|
|Arctic Cooling MX-2||40.75||81||YES||5.62||1.41||4g, 8g, 30g, 65g|
|Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400||41||81.75||YES||9.99||2.55||.16oz(3.92g)|
Asterisk (*) denotes best score. All tests performed on an overclocked Core i7-975 @ 3.9GHz (burn) and 2.1GHz (idle) on an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3, a Radeon HD 5850, and 850W Antec TruePower PSU. The CPU cooler used was a Thermaltake Frio OCK with its fans set to maximum speed. Temperatures recorded after 1 hour at idle and after 3 hours of full-burn testing using Intel’s internal Nehalem stress-testing utility. We use HWMonitor to determine core temperatures and TMonitor to keep an eye on clock speeds.
Note: “Cheapest” column denotes price for usual 2-5g quantity available on ebay in January 2017 that most users buy, small sizes less than 2g skipped. “Price/g” column denotes the price-per-gram of the ebay price in “Cheapest” column. “Quantities” column denotes all the sizes available to buy. Obviously, the price-per-gram will vary if you compare other sizes of thermal paste such 15g quantities, however most people aside from pc techs and builders don not buy thermal paste in such large quantities.