Below is the Maze-4 GPU water block base, after using ArctiClean stages 1 and 2.
The instructions I received were adamant, in that Stage-1 must be followed by Stage-2 as it removes any residue left from Stage-1. The thermal purification stage-2 essentially preps the surface eliminating any remaining ingredients, and by placing a protective coating which may additionally act as a bonding agent for the thermal paste to be applied. After cleaning , and prepping the R420 core on my Sapphire X800Pro and the Maze-4 GPU water block I was testing, I did notice a 2°C drop in overall temps.
First let me state Arctic Silver made no claim this product would reduce temps in subsequent thermal paste applications. When the ArctiClean arrived I was in the middle of testing Danger Den
's Maze-4 GPU waterblock. When I began those tests, I'd lapped the Maze-4 using EasyPCKits
Premium lapping Kit, down to their 10-micron paper grade, and cleaned the GPU-block with 91% isopropyl alcohol.
After applying AS Ceramique, I remounted the block, and actually repeated this several times until the lowest temp was maintained. After removing the block, using ArctiClean, and re-applying Ceramique there was a temp drop. So I naturally repeated mounting, just as if I'd begun another water block test. I do this to find the best temperature after remounting the block several times. There can be a dramatic temp differential between heatsink/water block mounting, albeit varying spring tension, or TIM application between each attempt. So this is become standard practice in all my thermal tests. While I cannot definitively claim the most recent temp drop was due to ArctiClean, all things being equal (remounting, Idle/Load, and ambient temps) I can't dismiss the possibility. This makes perfect sense prima facie as surface preparation, and mounting are but half the battle in thermal management. The second half being the hardware used, system attributes, and of course ambient temps.
After applying a few drops of the Thermal Material Remover I waited a few seconds as the fluid rapidly dissolved the Ceramique. In the photo series below I gave a quick wipe to see the difference in the surfaces, and then wiped it completely away, and applied the second stage.
There's a barely noticeable residue left over, and it becomes clear why the instructions maintain the Thermal Surface Purifier must be used immediately afterward.
Photo-1: Just a drop begins to dissolve the paste.
Photo-2: A quick wipe through the dissolving paste.
Photo-3: Completely removing the paste. A slight residue remains.
Photo-4: After application of (Stage-2) Thermal Surface Purifier, there's an actual sheen on what is usually a flat surface.
Continued testing on the next page ->