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33-Way Thermal Interface Material Comparison E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 04 March 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
33-Way Thermal Interface Material Comparison
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
TIM Test Methodology
TIM Testing: Round 1
TIM Testing: Round 2
TIM Testing: Round 3
TIM Roundup Conclusion
Project Epilogue

TIM Testing: Round 2

The second day of our Thermal Interface Material performance comparison tests began with a sense of renewed faith in technology. For the most part, the carbon treated silicon compounds made up the largest segment of test products in our second round. Some were mere knock-offs of others, while others took to using very unique compositions to "improve" thermal conductivity. One particularly interesting product which proved itself worthy in round 2 was the IC Diamond thermal compound, which boasts a content of 92% pure diamonds by weight.


While the first day of testing proved to be the most tiresome, the second day brought us good fortune as the ambient room temperatures remained nearly identical the entire time. Nearly five hours of testing later, we had some very good results to work from. The difference in maximum loaded temperature output against the ambient temperature was beginning to narrow down and results were becoming very similar. Round two starts with fourteen, but it's going to end with five. Although the table below may not offer the "very best of the best" results just yet, I think it's still fair to admit that these products are among the finest quality available.

Product Name Amb/MB Amb/Idle Amb/Load Difference
OCZ Freeze 20.3/27 20.3/41 20.2/53 32.8
Zaward HSC-G 20.2/24 20.2/39 20.1/53 32.9
Arctic Silver 5 20.3/26 20.3/38 20.1/53 32.9
TIM Consultants T-C Grease 0098 20.0/26 20.1/39 20.1/53 32.9
IC Diamond Seven Carat 20.0/26 20.0/38 20.0/53 33.0
Shin Etsu G751 20.0/26 20.0/39 20.0/53 33.0
Thermalright Chill Factor 20.0/25 20.0/38 20.0/53 33.0
Noctua NT-H1 20.0/26 20.0/39 19.9/53 33.1
Shin-Etsu X-23-7762 20.0/26 20.0/38 20.0/54 34.0
Arctic Cooling MX-2 20.0/26 20.0/39 20.0/54 34.0
Tuniq TX-2 20.0/26 20.0/38 20.0/54 34.0
Arctic Silver 3 20.0/26 20.0/39 20.0/54 34.0
Arctic Silver 2 20.0/26 20.0/38 20.0/54 34.0
Zalman ZM-TG2 Thermal Grease 20.0/26 20.0/39 19.9/54 34.1
(Tested by Benchmark Reviews: 03/02/08)

While the first round helped to eliminate the good from the bad, there were still a few stragglers left in the mix. The Zinc-oxide based Zalman thermal grease would closest resemble the generic STAR or SIL packets from round one, and might possibly explain why it rounds out this list. Ironically, Thermalright's silicon-based thermal grease managed to run with the best of them and offer equally good performance. Although both of these white TIM's are included with CPU cooler products, you really never know if the manufacturer is packing a worthy interface material or just another grease.


Most of the results we received in the second round of testing matched the results from the first round. But we're after the very best, and nobody likes to read about the top-14 TIM's! So on we pushed, and cut out everything but the very best in preparation for the third and final round of testing.



# Correction on OCZ and NeweggNoworldorder 2011-02-27 05:46
Please note that Newegg no longer carries. the OCZ Freeze Compound.
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# hahaboby 2011-09-03 01:39
the picture of all the thermal paste looks like a pile of drugs!
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