Thermal Paste vs Grease vs Thermal Pads – What’s The Difference?
Thermal Paste vs Grease vs Thermal Pads
As basic physic has taught us there can be no work without the generation of heat when our body undergoes any strenuous activity we sweat because we’re trying to keep our body temperature low since we simply cannot handle high temperature without sweating our organs would simply fail on us if we were ever to try working out or going jogging the same goes for the computer if the hardware is doing something it’s going to get hot only hardware can’t sweat so it’s up to us keep it cool.
The components that generate the most heat like the CPU and the GPU have active cooling while others that don’t generate as much heat like RAM sticks and motherboards simply have heat sinks and heat spreaders but there is a lot more you can do to lower the temperature of your PC from installing additional case fans applying one of the many products that help with heat dissipation of the CPU and herein lies our problem it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of products available to us that help to keep the CPU cool
From the commonly known as thermal paste and pads to the less prominent thermal grease thermal compound heat paste heatsink paste and more that is why the topic of today article will be all about making the distinction between all of these products and explaining what each of them does so without any further ado let’s begin.
What is Thermal paste?
First, let’s make the situation a bit simpler aside from thermal pads all the other products we listed are one and the same things they’re all synonyms for what most commonly referred to as thermal paste. Thermal grease is the second most popular expression the rest are not nearly as common but they still help cause a lot of confusion so the only real distinction we need to make is between thermal pastes and thermal pads. hopefully, this should make the whole ordeal a lot easier and now that we’re all on the same page let’s talk thermal paste.
Thermal pastes are a sort of gooey mixture that you spread on the CPU heats better to increase cooling efficiency by introducing this element to the cooling equation we make sure that all of the heat generated by the CPU is equally dissipated along the surface of the heatsink the same goes for GPUs but these are more often used for CPUs so we’ll just be referring to CPUs from now on the avoid having to repeat the phrase CPU and or GPU over and over again as that would get really old really fast in any case why do you need to do this.
You say as well here’s the thing CPU heat spreaders aren’t perfectly flat heat sinks aren’t perfectly flat they’re still pretty flat but there are still air Pockets left if only microscopic ones when we place one on top of the other and as you probably know the air is simply awful at conducting heat and that is a fact if you don’t believe us try frying an egg with the pan lifted slightly off your stove burner you may get there eventually but it’s going to take a while longer even with just one millimeter of air between the pan and the burner the same logic applies to CPUs and heat sinks because the air Pockets are present they impede the heat dissipation.
so if you want to maximize cooling you have to introduce an element that more efficient at doing this than air which is where the thermal paste comes in by filling up the air Pockets the thermal paste acts as an equalizer that facilitates heat dissipation across the entire area of the heatsink it’s important not to apply to much Thermal paste since it’s still not better at conducting heat than the heat sink itself so use a thin layer just to plug up the air Pockets also there are many different types of Thermal pastes and the type you use will also play a role in how efficient your cooling will be.
The Thermal pastes that are more efficient at conducting heat are metal-based or at least they have traces of metal in them but the downside to using these thermal pastes is that because they’re metal-based they also conduct electricity so is this safe well so long as none of the plates spills over onto your motherboard it’s perfectly safe but if some of it does spill it can lead to hardware damage if you’re new to PC building or you’re simply paranoid about possibly ruining your hard erased hardware which no one can fault you for then you should use one of the other Thermal pastes.
Of course, there are some trade-offs here as far as thermal conducting goes they’re not as efficient as metal-based Thermal pastes but they’re so way better than nothing more importantly they’re more than good enough if your only concern is gaming since gaming pc is rarely put under the kind of strain that workstation endures on daily basis.
What are Thermal pads?
So now that we know what thermal paste is ket take a look at thermal pads how exactly they are different well for starters their state of aggregation is different they still do the same job band in a very similar manner to but whereas thermal pastes are liquid or pasty if you’d prefer thermal pads are solid there are solid sheets of thermally conductive materials such as silicon this has it has upside but it also has its downsides.
The biggest upside is that they’re easier to apply and offer zero chances of screw up with thermal pastes you can put too little or too much thermal paste and both of these mistakes bear be negative results but with Thermal pads, you just put the Thermal pads on and you’re done they’re also easier to replace just take the old pad out and replace it with the new one no need to remove the old dried up paste while worrying about how you’re not supposed to damage the CPU but because these pads are solid they can’t fill the air pockets as well as the paste can which in turn means that they simply aren’t as efficient they also need to be replaced more often than thermal paste which negates the benefits of not having to clean the heat spreaders and heatsink after every use.
In any case, thermal pads are a good way to helo keep your CPU cooler no pun intended there’s just not a great way, and while they are cheaper the fact that you have to charge them more often negates this so the cost of using each evens out in the long term thermal pads used to be a lot more popular but they’ve fallen out of favor with PC builders recently. Nowadays they’re more often used by manufacturers for VRAM cooling nevertheless if you want to do something to improve the cooling efficiency of your CPU cooler and you don’t want to bother with thermal pastes thermal pads are a great option.
If you need a product that’ll help bring down the temperature of your CPU and that’s applied directly to the CPU you’ve got two options thermal paste or thermal pads anything else is just a different name for one of these two things. thermal pastes are more efficient but they’re also a bit trickier to apply and you have to be extra careful if you’re using metal-based paste since these can cause some major problems if they spill onto the motherboard. thermal pads are easy to use but not quite as effective they’re slightly cheaper but given that you need to replace them or often you really shouldn’t let the price dictate your choice.
Best Thermal Paste for CPUs In the Market
Every computer expert needs to stay their computer’s processor temperatures as low as potential. Well, this can be fully necessary, as neither the central processing unit nor the GPU, ought to run too hot if you would like to preserve their longevity. The stock central processing unit or CPU coolers that square measure bundled alongside the processors obtainable within the market these days square measure sub-par and don’t provide you with the simplest cooling performance. That’s precisely why most customers like shopping for higher aftermarket coolers for important enhancements in thermal performance.
Likewise, the thermal paste that’s sometimes supplied with these coolers isn’t even on the brink of the simplest ones out there. So, if you’re AN expert WHO needs absolutely the best thermal performance out of your central processing unit or CPU and GPU, we tend to extremely advocate you to get a prime quality thermal paste. There square measure many them obtainable within the market, and if you’re confused concerning that one to go for, here are the twelve best thermal paste for CPUs and GPU you’ll purchase.
GELID Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Paste
Like the NT-H1 GELID Solutions GC-Extreme, Thermal Paste glue has been around quite a long time yet still managers perform really well in benchmarks beating a much newer version. It is silicon-based includes aluminum-oxide and is non-conductive with an adequate operating temperature of 45 to 180°C. Benchmark wise it is very much like the nano producing only 0.1°C warmer temperatures.
whilst far more spreadable than its predecessor the GC-2 it is definitely not like the MX-4 with rather a high density of 3.73gcm3 very similar to the thick Arctic Silver 5 also because of its age it does not have the most recent technology and only lasts two decades. The most popular tube is 3.5 grams but additionally, it comes as 1g or 10g. Prolimatech PK-3 is similar to functionally but not popular and hard to discover.
Cooler Master Mastergel Maker Nano Thermal Paste
Cooler Master Mastergel Maker Nano Thermal paste is just another great nice mid-range option. It is priced between the MX- 4 and Kryonaut and its performance is between the two as well. Coller master Mastergel Maker Nanao is your bestselling merchandise from the cooler master range. The cool thing about the product is that it utilizes nanodiamond crystals which help fill microscopic gaps between the processor and cooler. This enables it to reach a very high thermal conductivity of 11 WmK which is near Kryonanlut 12.5. Like the Kryonaut it is non-conductive.
It is composition also allows it to function within a broad array of temperatures and prevent auto-oxidation or erosion over time. In testing the Nano generates temperature 0.7 C hotter than the Kryonaut but 0.7 °C cooler than the MX-4 bang in the middle. some swear off diamond pastes due to the danger to your surfaces. However contrary to other diamond products these nanodiamond particles won’t scratch your surfaces as they’re too modest and in cooler experts’ words non-abrasive.
It comes in a syringe and with optional spreaders. additionally, it contains a grease cleaner so you can clean your chips surface first with a wonderful touch. There is also no healing time. Thermalright TF8 is similar functionally at a similar cost.
Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste
The Noctua NT-H2 Thermal paste is a welcome upgrade to the much-lauded and ever-popular Noctua. it’s far more expensive however it is well worth it if you’re prepared to pay since it will provide you with a performance advantage cooling your CPUs about 2 °C more efficiently. additionally, it just defeats the MX-4 but is slightly more expensive than this version also. Composed of a brand new blend of metal oxide microparticles it is non-conductive without a treatment time and words from -50 to 200°C. It’s offered in 3.5 gram or even 10g tube should you will need a lot and would like to get more value for money.
It lasts slightly longer than its predecessor this is not as great as the MX-4 however which promises 8 decades of use, is grey and easy to apply with a rather low viscosity of 2.8.1gcm cube and includes free cleaning wipes. The wipes are of adequate quality tightly women felt and include isopropyl alcohol.
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Thermal Paste
The Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Thermal Paste is the best on the market period is made for the most extreme fans, it is liquid metal-based composition allows it to attain sky-high thermal conductivity of 73Wmk nearly 6 times greater than the Kryonaut. This can decrease your temperature by over 10°C comparisons to other Thermal pastes. By way of instance, there a 7 °C gap compared to using NT-H1 glue for an i9 chip with AIO cooling. It is also 4 °C cooler than the Kryonaut. This behemoth is definitely not to be trifled with a thought.
The program requires extreme care since the liquid is similar to mercury and may easily dribble over wreaking havoc in your system because it’s metallic. We highly recommend masking your motherboard ahead. Additionally, it can not be used on aluminum heatsinks which reacts to causing severe harm. The nickel-plated heat sink is fine and copper-related ones are mostly fine although there’ll be staining aesthetic-wise, it is an extremely expensive gram however since it’s a liquid you need it with 1g tube being the tube of choice.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Paste
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Paste is the best solution for advanced users and gamers in particular. It is definitely more expensive but worth it if you are a serious overclocker. It always tested as the best nonmetal-based alternative made from nano aluminum and zinc oxide particles to reach a whopping 12.5W mK thermal conductivity.
This results in a critical increase in colling performance in testing it beat most other versions besides its metallic big brother the Conductonaut which is a lot more expensive. It can handle temperatures from -250 to 350°C among the widest ranges available so it’s terrific for both regular and sub-zero overclocking.
Luckily it still adheres to a simple syringe-based bundle with spreaders included making use pretty simple with no healing time. However, it is quite dense at a 3.7gcm3 cube which makes it slightly simpler to use than the MX-4. Predictably it is built to last lasting a minimum of 8 years according to the manufacturer. IC Diamond 24 comes just behind the Kryonaut functionally however some users say it pops their surfaces because of the diamond content.
Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste
Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste does not only do amazing coolers but a high-quality Thermal paste too. The NT-H1 has existed since 2007 but remains a firm favorite amongst fans and has stood the test of time. This is primarily because it is hybrid glue an elite mix consisting of unique micro particles enabling steller heat dissipation with no conductivity difficulties. It is grey in color and the program is fast and painless with a fundamental syringe-based method, there is no break-in period and it even acceptable for sub-zero cooling.
Performance-wise it is slightly behind the Artic MX-4 in the toughest loads but much like less demanding loads, it was a much more expensive item but is now marginally more affordable than the MX-4 which makes it an incredible bargain, this is a result of the realization of a newer version The NT-H2.
Whilst technically a better glue doing about 1°C cooler in benchmarks it is far more expensive so this definitely would not be a budget choice. The only downside to this item is that it only lasts 3 years compared to M-4’s 8 but at this price, you can not complain and it is going to be cheap to replace. Arctic Silver 5 in the event you need something super cheap Arctic Silver 5 is still quite popular it is from a fantastic brand and does the job even though it’s conductive as it is 99% silver.
Arctic MX-4 Thermal Paste
Arctic MX-4 Thermal Paste is an ideal all-rounder by far providing elite performance at a really cheap price. Artic’s silver 5 glue was the most popular thermal paste around and every gamer has been using it. However, the more recent MX-4 has surpassed it, it performs much better in benchmarks lasts far longer, and can also be non-conductive which makes it much easier to apply. The MX-4 by contrast is constructed from carbon micro particles meaning it is amazing at conducting heat despite not being metal bassed with a leading 8.5 W mK thermal conductivity.
Temperature only increased by no more than 1°C under load when tested with the Artic cooling Freezer Xtreme cooler a remarkable outcome. It’s also inexpensive so there is literally nothing to lose here The lifespan is incredibly long 8 years according to the manufacturer, not a lot of thermal paste makes this guarantee application is easy because of the smooth viscosity and how it doesn’t require time to cure. This is great for beginner users as it is tough to mess this up. The syringe method of shipping is extremely basic.
In addition, this is an improvement on its predecessor the MX- 3 because it’s significantly less dense at 2.5g cm cube which makes it a lot easier to spread evenly. many MX-3 users complained that their mix just was not spreadable Especially as less is definitely more with this glue. In addition to this, they are carbon-footprint aware which is always welcome today they have reduced the environmental impact of their packaging by 40%. DC-1 a similarly priced paste with comparable functionally but not as great all around. Visit robinguide.com