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Review 'Best Thermal Paste for CPUs 2021: 90 Pastes Tested and Ranked' - Tom's Hardware

UsandThem

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https://www.tomshardware.com/best-picks/best-thermal-paste
Overall, each compound was evaluated and stressed over a regimen cycle covering six hours with two different coolers and different mounting tensions, making for no less than 90 hours of compound testing for our initial round of tests.
Really not too much difference for most users to spend too much time trying to decide on what to buy. However, since Noctua NT-H2 has been out for quite some time now, I was kind of surprised they still were using NT-H1 (even though it's a good paste).
 
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BonzaiDuck

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Jun 30, 2004
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Yes -- I think I posted Tom's 2017 rank-order results in a thread several weeks ago.

The thermal conductivity of Conduct-o-naut is really impressive. But for the heat transfer between top of the IHS and a heatpipe cooler base or waterblock, the differences are still just a matter of a few degrees.

I entertained using Conduct-o-naut of Liquid Ultra on my rig, since I had it apart during the last month to replace the motherboard. But I've been lapping my heatsinks and IHS's all along for years, and I see the two compounds play badly with copper surfaces. Since I'd gained about 2C degrees of performance through the lapping, and the difference between IC Diamond and the liquid metals is only about 2C, it was a wash. I had a tube of IC Diamond 24, mostly unused, so I just stuck with it.
 

dlerious

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Mar 4, 2004
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Just grabbed a tube of NT-H1. Had a tub of Gelid GC-Extreme for quite a while. I'd like to see some testing with the thermal pads. I've been thinking of buying some Carbonaut pads, but I'd like to know if they're one-time use only and how long they'll last.
 

aigomorla

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ive played with carbonaut, and its garbage... its too overpriced vs ic diamond pad, especially since you can get the ic diamonds in a large 200x200 for multiple builds.

I would personally only recommend a pad over TIM if its going into a server or a machine that does not overclock.
I would also not recommend it on anything but the cpu IHS, so if your using it on a naked die, i highly recommend you stop.

The Pad does have an advantage in that the X axis of heat transfer is awesome, so on something with a very small heat footprint... *looking at your Ryzen* it may spread the heat out evenly more for the cold plate to handle, but again, you would need a IHS so the pad does not get cliipped and has sufficient pressure on it.

But again, its not something you should go out and get now.

As for how long they last... ive been using them on my servers, and they last a very long time, with multiple heat sinks swaps.
Its clean and no mess.
I would definitely use them on a friends build who has no intensions of overclocking, or even a test bench, but as pointed out in GN, the pads are very inconsistent.
 
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BonzaiDuck

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It would seem that to most of us here, the convenience of a pad as compared to (especially) spreading IC Diamond wet cement paste is negligible. So? You have to fiddle with the paste and use a stiff credit card to spread it around. But unless you're going to be removing the heatsink or water block frequently (for whatever reason), that's all it is -- a minor one-time inconvenience. And you're going to get better thermal conductivity with a paste of nano-diamond particles.

I'd read quite a handful of reviews lately, and the IC Diamond paste always comes in just below the liquid metals, maybe a couple degrees lower in rank. If I don't feel comfortable using liquid metal -- either on the nickel-plated IHS and heatsink base or especially with the two surfaces lapped to bare copper, I'm going to use diamond paste.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Here is another ranking of TIMs:
igor's lab – review in German / badly translated
Useful info especially if you happen to mount/ remount the cooler frequently.
Micronized or nano- diamond paste never degrades, and is re-useable. The only drawback there is that the oil base dries out a bit over time, so you might break up the rubbery blobs of recovered IC-Diamond or CoolerMaster's diamond product and crush them into several drops of a mainstream silicon or oil-based TIM.

But that's more trouble than it's worth, when you can simply squeeze out another blob of nano-diamond from its tube -- or buy some more.

It's just slightly annoying to use, because it's so thick or viscous. Think about a mason laying bricks and the application of cement.
 

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