When looking for the best performing cooling solution for your CPU some people go to the extreme, lapping their heatsinks and installing very loud fans. To further improve the contact between the CPU's core and the heatsink manufactures have been using thermal compound. The standard white goop will suffice if you are an average PC user, but when you are pushing your system to the edge by overclocking it, then every degree °C counts.
Several companies have been developing compounds for this purpose the last couple of years. Today will be looking at the latest advancements in this area by Arctic Silver and Coolermaster.Compounds tested
:Arctic Silver 5
Arctic Silver 3
Coolermaster Premium (Shin Etsu)
Generic white thermal goop
JMke's Test Setup
|CPU ||Pentium 4 "C" at 2400Mhz|
|Mainboard ||Asus P4C800|
|Cooling ||Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu|
|Memory ||1 * 512Mb PC3700 Corsair|
|Video ||ATI Radeon 9700 Pro|
The test system was placed in an open-case environment, not ventilated, with the motherboard temp sensor hitting ~30°C during testing. To obtain the results the difference between the motherboard & CPU temperature, the sensors output readings were recorded during a period of 3 days for each paste. During which the CPU was under 100% load. The system was shut down twice during those 3 days as was suggested by the optimal implementation instructions for Arctic Silver 5.
This break-in will occur during the normal use of the computer as long as the computer is turned off from time to time and the interface is allowed to cool to room temperature. Once the break-in is complete, the computer can be left on if desired.
Anyone buying thermal compounds other then the generic goop can call himself an enthusiast. Most of you have lapped your heatsink, and some might have even flatted the IHS of your P4. I lapped the IHS and the heatsink to provide a real-life environment for these compounds to be tested in.
On to the installation & application of each thermal paste ->