• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question Is Arctic Silver 5 (AS5) still among the best options available?

Turbonium

Golden Member
Mar 15, 2003
1,819
6
81
So it's been years since a fresh application of any thermal compound for my laptop CPU, and I'm thinking it could use a new layer. However, as I understand it, thermal compound typically has a shelf-life, so I'm thinking I won't use the stuff I've had lying around for many years now.

Thus, I'm thinking of getting a fresh tube of AS5. Is it still among the best products out there? Or are there better options nowadays?
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,953
5,642
146
Thus, I'm thinking of getting a fresh tube of AS5. Is it still among the best products out there? Or are there better options nowadays?
Nope, and it hasn't been among the best for many years now (MX-5 is now Arctic's best formula).

https://www.tomshardware.com/best-picks/best-thermal-paste

That said, there's not a huge difference between most recent quality pastes anymore as the chart shows.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,953
5,642
146
There's so many options. :oops:
Just pick something in the $8 - $10 range for a tube (Noctua, Arctic, Gelid, Kryonaut all in the top 10 options). Some of the other choices listed in the top 10 have had very bad availability during the Covid mess, and they are too pricey (or you can't find them at all).

There's really not much of a difference anymore.
 

Turbonium

Golden Member
Mar 15, 2003
1,819
6
81
I'm leaning towards Noctua NT-H1; it's easily better than AS5 (which is my benchmark at this point), but unlike Arctic MX-5, isn't very runny (I'd prefer a more viscous compound).

On that note: does the runniness of a compound last once applied? Or does it become more viscous over time? I'm asking because, as mentioned, it's for a laptop, which isn't stationary.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,953
5,642
146
I'm leaning towards Noctua NT-H1; it's easily better than AS5 (which is my benchmark at this point), but unlike Arctic MX-5, isn't very runny (I'd prefer a more viscous compound).

On that note: does the runniness of a compound last once applied? Or does it become more viscous over time? I'm asking because, as mentioned, it's for a laptop, which isn't stationary.
Some of the cheap pastes are runny, but they tend to stiffen up after being heated up by the CPU.

Good quality pastes like Nocuta or MX-5 you don't have to worry about them running. Just make sure not to use too much as it will squeeze out of the sides when you install the cooler. If that happens, you might have to do a little clean up with some Q-Tips.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
19,227
1,614
126
The best but also priciest, is thermo grizzly.
Although were talking within 1C here meaning sometimes its not even a full C.

As long its not something questionable, they should all perform close if its from the same reputable vendor.

Just remember, the higher T/mK you go, the thicker and more difficult it is going to apply on something other then a heat sink.
(this does not apply to liquid metal and should only be used if you know exactly what it is, and what your doing)
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,953
5,642
146
You mean Thermal Grizzly right? I couldn't figure out which one to buy (Hydronaut, Conductonaut, Kryonaut, or Aeronaut). Almost bought a tube from Tech Ingredients after watching their Youtube video.
$17 for a tube of paste seems like a waste when a $8-$10 tube will give you the same (or better) temps.

There's all kinds of snakeoil products that make big claims when it comes to simple things like thermal pastes.

But that's just me......
 

dlerious

Senior member
Mar 4, 2004
956
226
116
$17 for a tube of paste seems like a waste when a $8-$10 tube will give you the same (or better) temps.

There's all kinds of snakeoil products that make big claims when it comes to simple things like thermal pastes.

But that's just me......
The cost is why I only thought about it. The Noctua NT-H1 was the last one I bought (tub of Gelid before that).
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,365
785
126
Heatsink grease doesn't really have a shelf life, rather it just starts to separate the base oil out of the solids so depending on how it is stored, you could get an unintended viscosity as a result. In other words your old thermal paste should be fine still for at least one more application by (assuming the container type) opening the syringe, stirring it up and discarding the first tiny bit that comes out of the syringe nozzle that you couldn't get stirred up.

Salvaging the rest without making a mess is where the "at least one more application" factor comes in, you could just squirt it all into a tiny vessel and have a little more awkward application method and continue using it, or if it is one of the low viscosity pastes, fully depress the syringe plunger and suck it back up into the syringe, depending on how much trouble you want to go to for a single-digit dollars worth of thermal compound.

So it's been years since a fresh application of any thermal compound for my laptop CPU,
You had already taken it apart, removed the factory TIM and put paste on? How long that lasts depends on the paste, but are you noticing increased temperatures? If so, after years of service I would wonder if it is as likely dust buildup or fan wear reducing its RPM.
 

Turbonium

Golden Member
Mar 15, 2003
1,819
6
81
Heatsink grease doesn't really have a shelf life, rather it just starts to separate the base oil out of the solids so depending on how it is stored, you could get an unintended viscosity as a result. In other words your old thermal paste should be fine still for at least one more application by (assuming the container type) opening the syringe, stirring it up and discarding the first tiny bit that comes out of the syringe nozzle that you couldn't get stirred up.

Salvaging the rest without making a mess is where the "at least one more application" factor comes in, you could just squirt it all into a tiny vessel and have a little more awkward application method and continue using it, or if it is one of the low viscosity pastes, fully depress the syringe plunger and suck it back up into the syringe, depending on how much trouble you want to go to for a single-digit dollars worth of thermal compound.
All good information.

You had already taken it apart, removed the factory TIM and put paste on? How long that lasts depends on the paste, but are you noticing increased temperatures? If so, after years of service I would wonder if it is as likely dust buildup or fan wear reducing its RPM.
Somewhat increased temperatures, from what I can tell. They always were a bit high though, so perhaps not the best application of thermal paste originally (though I'm pretty sure I did a good job, so it may just be the HSF being somewhat inadequate to start with).

Anyway, I'm definitely going to clean the HSF out with some compressed air along with the application of the NT-H1 I just bought (I got it for cheap, given I didn't have to pay for shipping).
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
19,227
1,614
126
You mean Thermal Grizzly right? I couldn't figure out which one to buy (Hydronaut, Conductonaut, Kryonaut, or Aeronaut). Almost bought a tube from Tech Ingredients after watching their Youtube video.

Its the Kryonaut your after for heat sinks.
Conductonaut is the liquid metal.
Carbonaut is the Graphene Pad.

The other i think are just Derbaur's snake oil.

Just remember my original statement... the higher w/m*K you go up the ladder, the thicker the paste will be.
Its easly for CPU mounts, but makes your GPU spread a nightmare as it will clump with itself, and make spreading near impossible / difficult, unless you apply it on a warm day.

And you ALWAYS make sure you got 100% coverage on a GPU DIE or any naked and exposed DIE, and i usually never recommend a CPU type install on TIM on a naked DIE.

$17 for a tube of paste seems like a waste when a $8-$10 tube will give you the same (or better) temps.

There's all kinds of snakeoil products that make big claims when it comes to simple things like thermal pastes.

But that's just me......
i never said it was cheap... lol..
Its pricey even for the 1g at 14 dollars in amazon.


But is it the best.... yes, its the best...
But how much are you paying for that .1C? Almost 1/3rd more, to double price depending on vol. purchased.

For example, this is my always goto heat paste.

But i buy it in the 30g edition, because i have too many PC's and i also service too many PC's for family / friends.
So 30g is the ideal solution.

How well does it perform? I think its better, i get more stable and consistant mounts.
Its about .1-.2C worse performance over a Thermal Grizzly but thats if i get the MOUNT's absolutely perfect, with perfect die coverage, and perfect amount.... bleh.. in short... its very difficult to repeat... and usually not called for unless i am going after record breaking temps. Something Air / AIO cooling enthusiast wont be going after.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: dlerious

Pohemi420

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
4,325
1,786
136
Heatsink grease doesn't really have a shelf life, rather it just starts to separate the base oil out of the solids so depending on how it is stored, you could get an unintended viscosity as a result.
Just wanted to point out that if it's old enough, once it separates, the solid components can dry and solidify so that it won't recombine (or even come out of the tube, for that matter). It has to sit for years of course, but I've had it happen in a tube I had for near a decade.

The last few tubes that I used were Arctic MX-4, it worked well and was dependable/reliable. Like Larry, I wasn't even aware that Arctic updated to a new formula with MX-5.

I also used the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut (liquid metal type) to replace the IHS TIM on an i7 7700K relid that I did...it did a phenomenal job lowering temps and hotspots, but was a bit of a nightmare to work with, heh.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY