Last Updated on July 1, 2020 by Scott Krager
Not a lot of people understand this, and normally see it as an oversight, but a good thermal paste is very important for your processor.
Sure, you might be thinking that the stock thermal paste is always the best thermal paste, but you need to understand that it is nothing more than a cheap option that comes out of the factory.
If you want better performance, it is always a good decision to go for a thermal paste that is sold separately in the market. Even then, you need to make a good decision considering the number of options available in the market.
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Best Thermal Paste 2020
- Arctic MX-4
- Noctua NT-H1 (Best Thermal Paste 2020)
- Arctic Silver 5
- Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
- Cooler Master MasterGel
- Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut (Best Liquid Compound Thermal Paste)
To keep things simpler, and easier for you, we are only going to take a look at a few options, so you do not have to sift through a long list of thermal pastes.
Best Thermal Paste 2020 Roundup Review
All these thermal pastes are personally tested, and additionally, they are readily available in the market as well. So, let’s have a look.
Arctic MX-4: Check Price On Amazon
Arctic Cooling is known as one of those companies that are synonymous with hardcore gamers and PC building enthusiasts. They have been around for some time, and are providing some pretty great cooling solutions for the gamers in need.
Today, we look at the famous Arctic MX-4 thermal paste; now this thermal paste is one of the cheapest options available in the market.
At first I thought it would be just another run off the mill product, but after running it through some tests and using it on my Core i7 8700K, I noticed a significant drop in temperature under the same condition.
Now the important and the impressive part about the Arctic MX-4 is that it is rather cheap, and for that price, you get a syringe that can last you a long time actually. As long as you are buying it for your personal use, and not using it with every other PC that you build for your friends.
The paste itself is non-conductive, so you really do not have to worry if the paste finds its way on some other part of your motherboard. However, I would suggest that you clean it with lint-free cloth and be done with it.
Overall, it is hard to see anything wrong with Arctic MX-4 as it happens to be a great thermal paste that gives a relatively amazing performance, is non-conductive, it is pretty cheap for a fact that you can get multiple applications of one syringe.
As far as the complaints are concerned, there none; just keep in mind that the thermal compound does not come with a spreader, so you will either need to use a card, or leave it as it is.
- Excellent thermal performance.
- Can be used multiple times.
Noctua NT-H1: Check Price On Amazon
Best Thermal Paste 2020
When it comes to cooling parts, Noctua is one of the companies that have always been on the forefront with their products. The company is known for making some of the best air coolers, and industrial grade fans for enthusiasts, and have been for a very long time.
Today, however, we are looking Noctua NT-H1; a thermal paste from Noctua that is making waves in the market. At first, I just thought that it would be something average that comes and goes away without making much name for itself, but boy was I wrong.
If you are looking for a thermal paste that will give you a great performance, is easy to use, can be stored for up to 2 years, and a single application can last up to 3 years, can even be used in sub-zero cooling, and something that is extremely easy to clean, then the Noctua NT-H1 is something that I would definitely suggest.
Another great thing about this paste is that it does not require any burn-in time. Meaning that you can simply apply it and notice the temperatures dropping, which is a great thing to have.
Sure, the Noctua NT-H1 is somewhat expensive as compared to some of the other options available in the market, but the overall performance, and a long list of good things justify the cost.
Overall, the Noctua NT-H1 is one of the best thermal pastes you can buy.
- Can be stored for up to 2 years.
- A single application can last for up to 3 years.
- Great even for sub-zero temperature.
- Easy to apply.
- Easy to clean.
- Great overall performance on even the hottest CPUs.
- Requires absolutely no burn-in time to show effective performance.
- The thermal paste is slightly more expensive than the competition.
Arctic Silver 5: Check Price On Amazon
Next up, we are going to be looking at the Arctic Silver 5; a thermal paste that I was using on all by builds before shifting to the Noctua NT-H1. However, this is not a comparison between two compounds, as both stand really well in their own right.
With that said, the Arctic Silver 5 has been one of the best bests in the market and for all the right reasons. It consists of 99.9 percent micronized silver that is great for cooling.
However, do keep in mind that despite being largely made out of silver, we still consider it as a ceramic thermal interface. Additionally, as per the manufacturer, it is best if you avoid spilling the paste onto your components.
As far as the performance is concerned, the Arctic Silver 5 is great for dissipating heat, and the good thing is that it will give you good, consistent performance. However, the important thing about this paste it does take a few hours to finally burn in, so you might not see the proper effects right away.
Overall, the Arctic Silver 5 is actually a pretty amazing thermal paste if you ask me.
It is certainly one of the cheaper options available in the market, and when it comes to thermal pastes, people do not really look at the price tag because they want something that is great for cooling their CPU, or their GPU.
Just make sure that you allow this paste a couple of hours to settle in, and once it does, you should have no issues whatsoever as far as the performance is concerned.
- Excellent thermal conductivity.
- Easy to use.
- Super easy to clean.
- Can be used for multiple applications.
- Will take a few hours to properly start cooling the CPU.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut: Check Price On Amazon
Thermal Grizzly is one of the companies that are known for their industry leading thermal pastes.
At first I thought that the hype around the company is nothing more than just some hype, but after thoroughly using what this company has to offer, I have to say that I am impressed.
With that out of the way, today, we look at the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. A great thermal compound that is made for people who are looking for good overall performance, and are not concerned by the price.
Speaking of the price, the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is not priced high, so that should not be an issue.
To kick off things, I will tell you right off the bat that the thermal performance of the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is one of the best I have seen. It does not take a lot of time to burn-in either, which I noticed as soon as I put the paste on my 8700K.
Additionally, it comes with an applicator nozzle as well, and while I know many people just let the surface of the cooler do its job, I personally find that using an applicator results in an even spread, which is great. Additionally, the price is pretty competitive, so you do not have to worry about it.
There is nothing much to worry about in terms of the downsides. As a matter of fact, as far as the performance is concerned, the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut shows absolutely no slowing down. However, the one thing that I would advise you beforehand is that you might find it difficult to find the thermal paste easily, as availability can be a bit hit or miss.
- Great thermal performance.
- Takes almost no time to set in.
- Great for enthusiasts and over clockers.
- Availability is a hit or miss.
Cooler Master MasterGel: Check Price On Amazon
After a long downfall, Cooler Master finally decided to come back to the company, and they did so with a long list of products that no one was really expecting. For starters, Cooler Masters refreshed line up of peripherals, cases, coolers, and thermal compounds was a huge success among most people in the market.
Keeping that in mind, we are looking at the Cooler Master MasterGel; one of the newer thermal pastes that are available in the market. I have to be honest, I was a bit skeptical before testing this one out because I did not know what to expect.
Thankfully, after testing the thermal paste for a while, I can tell you that this is easily one of the best there is in the market. I have been using this thermal paste as my main on the GTX 1080 Strix, and the temperatures have dropped significantly.
To test it out further, and properly, I used it on my 8700K to see if it works the same way, and it does. Sure, the burn-in time is there, but that is the case with majority of thermal compounds in the market.
Additionally, you get a fair amount of applications out of a single tube, and you also get a CPU cleaner, although that is something that is rather easy to do.
In terms of performance, or the overall value of the Cooler Master MasterGel, there are no complaints from my side. If you ask me if I have any complaint about the MasterGel, then I would definitely say there is none.
- Excellent thermal performance.
- Easy to apply.
- A single tube gives you multiple applications.
- Comes with a CPU cleaner that makes everything super easy.
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut: Check Price On Amazon
Best Liquid Compound Thermal Paste 2020
The last product on our list is entirely different than what we have been reviewing to this point.
So far, we have reviewed thermal compounds that you put on top of the IHS in majority of cases, and at times, on the actual die itself.
However, the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is not for that, this is liquid metal, and it can conduct really easily. Lastly, it is made for replacing the stock thermal compound that Intel uses on their processors.
It does not just end here; as I have said it before, you need to delid your processor so you can access the die itself, and that will obviously void your warranty.
Additionally, you have to be very careful with the application because spilling it anywhere else can cause the components to stop working.
However, the benefits are certainly there. For starters, once you do replace the thermal interface with the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut, you will witness a massive drop in the temperature. How big of a drop? Well, it can be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius.
Overall, the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is built for people who are enthusiasts, and are serious about overclocking. In all cases, you will mostly have to delid your processor, which will result in losing the warranty.
However, once you do take this risk, you will be able to overclock your processor without any issue, and still get great temperatures.
So, is the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut the best thermal compound? Definitely not because there are some extreme measures that you must take. Does it give the best performance? It certainly does.
In conclusion, Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is best if you are sure about voiding your warranty by delidding your CPU, and you have no issues with that.
- Top of the line performance.
- Made for serious overclockers and enthusiasts.
- Complicated to apply.
- Not suitable for beginners.
- Can conduct electricity.
How To Choose A Thermal Paste
Choosing the right thermal paste is a very important matter that most people completely overlook. However, believe it or not, the thermal paste does matter a lot whenever you are building a new computer.
Since there are so many brands of thermal pastes available in the market, there is an obvious confusion that comes in the way of the average user.
Which thermal paste should one buy in order to have the perfect performance?
Well, there are a few factors that contribute to buying the right thermal paste.
Not all thermal pastes are created equally. So, the one that comes pre-applied on most coolers, and the ones that are available in bulk are often the thermal pastes you should avoid.
With that out of the way, let’s have a look at just how you can choose the right thermal paste.
Start Reading the Reviews
I know you might be wondering just why you would want to read reviews of something as trivial as a thermal paste. Well, it does make a lot of difference as I have said before. These reviews will help you decide on buying the right thermal paste for your computer.
There are a handful of publications that do thermal paste reviews that are great for both the beginners, as well as the advanced PC builders.
The few notable companies with the best thermal pastes are Noctua, Cooler Master, Thermal Grizzly, and Arctic Silver. As long as you are buying products offered by these companies, you are good to go, and there is not much to worry about either.
How Often Will You Be Using It?
Another important factor that you must keep in mind is just how often will you be using the thermal paste. This is ideal for those who are working on multiple computers at once and have to assemble and disassemble regularly.
If you are someone who is the sole owner of a PC, and you are not going to be disassembling the PC any time soon, then you would be good to go with a single syringe of thermal paste that should last you a long time.
Do keep in mind that the shelf life of a thermal paste and the life of an installed thermal paste or normally different. For instance, the Noctua NT-H1 is rated for 2 years of storage, and 3 years of application.
Conductive and Non-Conductive
This is more important than many other factors that you should keep in mind.
Thermal pastes are available in either conductive form and non-conductive form.
The latter being the safer bet, with slightly lower performance. While the thermal pastes that are conductive do provide higher value, there is an added risk of your hardware messing up due to their conductive nature.
For a first time PC builder, or for anyone who wants to play it safe, a non-conductive thermal paste would make more sense. However, for someone who is a seasonable PC builder, a conductive thermal paste should not be an issue. So, this is something that you must keep in mind.
Thermal Paste vs Liquid Metal
When you are in the market looking for a thermal paste, you will have an option to either go for that or liquid metal.
The latter is exactly what the name suggests. It is metal in liquid form, and it is also highly conductive. However, the thing here is that its application is limited to de-lidded CPUs where you put the liquid metal directly onto the chip.
Although buying a thermal paste is a fairly simple and straightforward process, the real confusion lies in the point where you end up facing a heap of different companies selling products and promising huge differences.
The differences between products are not huge; and as long as you are buying something from reputable companies like Noctua, Cooler Master, Arctic Silver, or Thermal Grizzly, you are good to go.