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33-Way Thermal Interface Material Comparison E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
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 Project Epilogue

Because of the overwhelming response to this article and with the assistance of manufacturer feedback, Benchmark Reviews has planned to revisit many of the top products which made it into round two of this project with similar test results. In this future "part II" article, each test will include a period of constant thermal cycling to allow for a basic cure time. Although this procedure would have been impractical with the large test group used in this article, it would be worth the effort to conduct on a more refined test group.

EDITORS NOTE: Benchmark Reviews has published a new article since this one was released, titled Best Thermal Paste Application Methods. This article dicusses the various methods and patterns used on standard and Heat-pipe Direct Touch coolers.

UPDATE 14 March 2008: Benchmark Reviews has read through a long list of suggestions from the community. In preparation for a second Thermal Interface Article using cure times, many of the original manufacturers were contacted for their suggestions. Surprisingly, only a select few products are said to 'require' curing; and nearly all manufacturers agreed that their product would need little more than a series of thermal cycles to level out the material. We have also added a few new names based on valuable community suggestions, and will be testing these products in our next article:

  1. AI Technology Cool-Gel CGR7019 Non-Silicone Thermal Gel (0)
  2. AI Technology Cool-Grease CGL8050 Non-Silicone Thermal Grease (0)
  3. AI Technology Cool-Silver Non-Silicone Thermal Grease (0)
  4. Antec Formula 5 Silver Thermal Compound (1)
  5. Arctic Cooling MX-1 Thermal Compound (0)
  6. Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (0)
  7. Arctic Silver II Silver Thermal Compound (2)
  8. Arctic Silver 3 Silver Thermal Compound (3)
  9. Arctic Silver 5 Polysynthetic Thermal Compound (4)
  10. Arctic Silver Ceramique (5)
  11. Arctic Silver Lumiere (0)
  12. Cooler Master HTK-002 Thermal Grease (0)
  13. Cooler Master PTK-002 Thermal Grease (0)
  14. Cooler Master R9-GE7-PTK3 NanoFusion (0)
  15. CooLaboratory Liquid MetalPad (0)
  16. CooLaboratory Liquid Pro (7)
  17. Evercool STC-01 (0)
  18. FrozenCPU Copper Thermal Compound (0)
  19. GC Electronics Silcone Z9 (0)
  20. GC Electronics Type 44 Non-Silicone (0)
  21. GC Electronics HTC (0)
  22. Innovative Cooling Seven Carat Diamond (6)
  23. Jetart CK4000 (0)
  24. Jetart Thermal Compound (0)
  25. Kingwin White Freeze WF-2 (0)
  26. Masscool Fanner-420 (0)
  27. Masscool AK-100 Stars Heatsink Compound (0)
  28. MG Chemicals 8463 Silver Conductive Grease (0)
  29. MG Chemicals 860 Silicone Heat Transfer Compound (0)
  30. MG Chemicals 8610 Non-Silicone Heat Transfer Compound (0)
  31. Noctua NT-H1 (0)
  32. OCZ Freeze (0)
  33. Rosewill RCX-TC050 (0)
  34. Shin Etsu G751 (0)
  35. Shin-Etsu Microsi Silicon Compound (0)
  36. Shin-Etsu X-23-7762 (0)
  37. SIL Heatsink Compound (0)
  38. Stars 612 Copper Grease (0)
  39. Stars 700 Silver Grease (0)
  40. Startech Silver Grease (0)
  41. Thermalright Chill Factor (0)
  42. Thermaltake Grease A2014 (0)
  43. Thermaltake Grease A2150 (4)
  44. TIM Consultants T-C Grease 0098 (0)
  45. Tuniq TX-2 (0)
  46. Ultra Thermal Compound (0)
  47. Ultra Thermal Gel ULT40124 (0)
  48. Xigmatek PTI-G3801 (0)
  49. Zalman ZM-TG2 Thermal Grease (0)
  50. Zalman ZM-STG1 Super Thermal Grease (0)
  51. Zaward HSC-W (0)
  52. Zaward HSC-G (0)
  53. ZEROtherm ZT-100 (0)

  • (0) No Curing Time or Special Application Suggested
  • (1) Antec Formula 5 Application Instructions (no curing time recommended)
  • (2) Arctic Silver II Application Instructions(48-hours minimum curing time recommended)
  • (3) Arctic Silver 3 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
  • (4) Arctic Silver 5 Application Instructions (up to 200-hours recommended curing time)
  • (5) Arctic Silver Ceramique Application Instructions (25-hours minimum recommended curing time)
  • (6) IC Seven Carat Diamond Application Instructions (10-minute evaporation time, 2-hour curing recommended)
  • (7) CooLaboratory Liquid Pro Application Instructions (no curing time recommended)
  • UPDATE 16 April 2008: Benchmark Reviews has begun to test our new collection of TIM products using a Intel P4 Northwood 3.0 GHz CPU overclocked to 3.61 GHz (1.648V). To ensure uniform distribution of thermal interface material we are using Intel socket 478 stock reference coolers which utilize lever arms to compress the unit onto the processor. So far, this is proving to be a very successful configuration. Additionally, we are going to make our entire test results available (hundreds of entries) and screenshots in a package download.

    UPDATE 14 June 2009: Since this article was first published March 2008, Benchmark Reviews has conducted a new set of tests in search of the best thermal pastes. Our results have been published in the 80-way Thermal Interface Material Performance Test review article.

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

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