If you know anything about computers then you’ll know about the importance of thermal paste. Picking the best thermal paste is equally important.
If you want to keep your computer performing at it’s very best, you need to regularly apply thermal paste.
Arctic Silver 5
Cooler Master Icefusion
- Renowned premium-grade thermal compound for optimal heat-transfer from the CPU or GPU to the heatsink; more than 150 awards and recommendations
- High-end thermal compound to reduce temperatures on PC applications and electronics
- Trusted Noctua quality with excellent long-term stability: recommended storage time up to 3 years, recommended usage time on the CPU up to 5 years
- 3.5g pack for around 3-20 applications (depending on CPU size, e.g. ~3 applications for TR4, ~20 for LGA1151)
- Not electrically conductive and non-corroding thermal grease: no risk of short-circuits and safe to use with all types of heatsinks
Best Thermal Paste Options:
You don’t need a lot of technical know-how to grasp the importance of thermal paste, it has one major job. It is meant to transfer the heat between your CPU and the heatsink. Exactly how well thermal paste transfers that heat is dependent on a couple of factors.
To be applied properly, you need an even, thin layer that spreads easily. You just need to apply it directly to the center of the processing unit. You don’t need to be overzealous with how much you use, just a small pea sized amount will suffice.
So without a doubt, one of the most important factors and one we considered strongly when picking out the better thermal paste options is how easy it is to apply.
You also want a paste that offers temperature stability, if you don’t you’ll end up with a heating/cooling loop that causes the temperature to bounce around, which isn’t ideal for your CPU, especially when overclocked.
Finally, there’s performance. How well it cools the CPU. Enough said.
Without any further adieu, here are the thermal pastes worthy of your attention. If you have an opinion of some feedback about our comparison of thermal pastes, comment below.
This is one of the most popular and established thermal pastes on the market and has been helping users overclock and maintain their CPUs for over 20 years now. It’s still as popular as ever, because it works. It’s a cool name “Arctic Silver” but it’s more than that, it actually contains some Silver, which makes it fairly unique in this day and age. Silver works really well for heat conduction.
Once you’ve sealed it in a waterproof pouch (like a zip-lock bag) and you’ve heated it up to 43 degrees Celsius it’s ready to be used. You’ll find it’s the sweet spot between thick and runny, making application simple.
You’d be right to expect great performance from one of the more expensive options on the market, and you won’t be disappointed. That’s why it’s stayed relevant for over 20 years, it delivers on performance. Testing has shown that it’s effective and temperatures stay stable.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it is, which is why it’s been popular for so long. If you are the type of person who doesn’t mind paying to get better quality things, then this should be your go-to thermal paste.
It has great consistency when heated, and it’s practical to apply, however, if you’ve not added thermal paste before, it might take a couple of goes because it’s a bit fiddly and you’ll need to get the hang of it. What a lot of people love about Silver is its stability.
We always like to pick out products that will fit into everyone’s budget, which is why Cooler Master Icefusion has made our list because it comes in at around half the price of others. We felt that amongst the budget options, Icefusion does a really good job.
The first thing to mention is it comes in a jar rather than a tube, which if you had any experience in using thermal paste might be a concern when it comes to application. But it’s fine. Actually, it spreads really well and we’d definitely recommend it to beginners, it’s as easy to use as any on this list.
In terms of performance, if you’re looking to overclock or really push your CPU you might be concerned because it’s not the most stable and we definitely saw some spikes in temperature. But at the same time, if you are just looking for it to reduce the heat generally, it does a good job, so it depends on what you need it for.
Is it Worth it?
It depends. If your budget is a little smaller, it’s the best on offer for you. It’s easy to apply and delivers in performance if you’re looking for general heat reductions.
However, regardless of your budget, if you’re looking to overclock, it’s not going to do a very good job, but if you’re just looking to reduce the temperature it works well, and at this price, it’s an absolute “no-brainer”.
Greenlight from us, but with some stipulations.
We’ve looked for a thermal paste that’s high performing, reasonably priced, and attractive to both experienced and beginners alike. Under that specific criteria, the Noctua NT-H1 is the clear and obvious winner.
It’s very thick, compared to the two others, which means that it’s not the easiest to spread which is both a positive and has drawbacks. You’ll need to master the Lentil method, which you’ll find instructions for on Youtube, but then it becomes very easy to apply, and well worth the time to look it up.
It’s with the performance that this really stands up to scrutiny, both in terms of stability and general cooling. It’s as good as most others out there, and it’s really well priced, which makes it a great overall option.
Is It Worth It?
It’s the best all-around thermal paste that we’ve come across. We’d give the performance to Arctic Silver, but the Noctua NT-H1 is a very close second. And thanks to its ease of use and suitability for beginners and experienced users alike, together with a reasonable price tag, we’ve made it our first choice.
You have to take your thermal paste seriously. It doesn’t make sense to spend your money on a kick-ass CPU and killer CPU cooler, only to have an ineffective thermal paste, especially if you’re taking your CPU to the edge with overclocking (which increases temperature) then you definitely need a high-performance thermal paste.
It’s not overly complicated. You want it easy to apply, regardless of your experience, and you’ll want it to be both stable and able to transfer heat effectively.
We’ve picked out top 3. The Arctic Silver is the best performing, the Cool Master Icefusion is the best of the bunch if you’re on a budget, and as an overall package, we’ve decided to recommend the Noctua NT-H1. If you’re a beginner, all 3 are pretty easy to use, especially the Icefusion, and all 3 perform really well. The Icefusion is not the most stable, which is not ideal if overclocking but it’s probably the best at this price point.
These are our top 3 picks, it really depends on what your motivation is, what your experience is, and finally, what your budget is, but we’d be happy using any of the 3 so you’re in safe hands.
Last price update on 2019-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API