Best Thermal Paste for Your PC

Best thermal paste for your PC
If you’re running a high-performance system, or running a mid-grade system at max capacity, you may have noticed that the temperature output of your PC is considerably higher than that of more basic systems. While this is completely normal, it also requires a bit more monitoring and tinkering to maintain safely than a more basic, simple system. Fortunately, the solution is affordable, simple, and easy to take care of on your own; you just need to find the best thermal paste for your PC setup.

Modern PCs require the use of thermal paste of one sort or another, plain and simple. This isn’t a matter of opinion like it was 15-20 years ago; at which time you really could get by with just a fan system to keep your CPU, GPU, etc. at an acceptable temperature level.

Why Do Modern High Performance Systems Produce More Heat?

Heat is an unavoidable byproduct of electronic operations; particularly in complex electronics such as an advanced PC. As technology advances, the use of more and more complex internal PC parts has been necessary to efficiently run our increasingly complicated tech. Modern CPUs, GPUs, HDD, and ODD require more electrical current to perform their tasks.

As the electrical input runs along wires, circuits, etc. it meets a certain level of resistance. This friction is how the byproduct of heat is produced. You can avoid overheating by using a combination of the best CPU coolers, best case fans, and best thermal compound.

Under What Circumstances Do You Need a Thermal Paste?

When you buy a new computer, the heat sink and CPU already have the appropriate layer of thermal paste; or compound; laid between the surfaces. Unless you’re buying a unique chassis setup that doesn’t come with the parts that you’re likely to want to handpick individually, you won’t have to worry about thermal paste when you first set up.

The chances are good that if you’re reading this guide, you’re doing some modifications to your PC or you’re having overheating problems.

Whether you’re tackling a simple task like switching out your CPU or gutting your case and starting fresh, now is the right time to bust out the thermal paste. Even if there’s thermal paste already in place that seems perfectly reusable; don’t.

Clean the surfaces that are already tacked completely and then reapply the best thermal paste for your PC project needs. This YouTube video will walk you through the entire process of removing and applying thermal compounds, since it’s very important that you do it right.

This will take care of any existing overheating problems that were related to the thermal paste as well. If you continue to have overheating problems after replacing your thermal compound you should clean your fans, case, etc. and continue to troubleshoot from there.

Which Thermal Paste is Right for You & Your PC?

Choosing the best thermal paste for GPU, CPU, or general PC maintenance can be a bit tricky. Largely because opinion varies so widely on which ones are best, which ones are rubbish, or whether there is any difference at all between different types of paste.

The main division of opinion is based around whether or not using filler compounds that are simultaneously conductive and capacitive (such as silver) is preferable to using lower thermally conductive fillers (such as zinc oxide). The main concern here is that materials like silver can cause A LOT of damage if it comes into contact with your circuits. The ingredients found in different thermal compounds can include a combination of the ‘Filler Properties’ found here.

9 Best Thermal Paste Options for Your Computer

Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Compound

Best Thermal Paste for CPU and GPU Applications

arctic silver 5 as5-3 5g thermal paste - Best Thermal Paste for CPU and GPU Applications


Despite the concerns surrounding most silver fillers, you can ask almost any techie if they’d recommend Arctic Silver 5 as a thermal paste, and they’d say yes. This thermal compound is 99.9% micronized silver; which is not conductive like most silver compounds. It is guaranteed not to ‘run, bleed, or migrate’ as well, which keeps your circuits extra safe while taking advantage of the high thermal conduction of the filler.
 

Pros:

  • Has a thermal conduction rate of 350,000W/m2 degrees Celsius
  • Easy to remove and apply
  • Silver filler material comes in 3 different shapes to maximize the contact area
Cons:

  • Using silver fillers makes a lot of people nervous about the safety of their circuits

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ARCTIC MX-4

One of the Very Best Thermal Paste for GPU

arctic mx-4 - One of the Very Best Thermal Paste for GPU


The ARCTIC MX-4 is another favorite amongst gamers, over clockers, and other PC enthusiasts. This is a really great choice if you’re avoiding metal and looking for a high quality thermal paste that won’t need frequent replacement.

In spite of its lack of electrically conductive metal filler, it is highly thermally conductive.

ARCTIC MX-4 is composed of carbon micro particles, which actually outlasts pastes with metal or silicon fillers. This durability is a huge selling point for PC users who frequently move their computer around or open up their case.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed not to damage circuits or other delicate parts if contact occurs
  • Impressive durability for a thermal paste
  • It is also noncorrosive, nonconductive, and non-capacitive
Cons:

  • Can be difficult to remove

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Noctua NT-H1

Top of the Line Thermal Paste for Your PC Mods

noctua nt-h1 - Top of the Line Thermal Paste for Your PC Mods


Noctua is notorious for making quality products, from their fans to their CPU cooling systems. Their thermal paste is no exception. They use a unique combination of different micro particles in their filler in order to provide some of the best heat sinking possible.

Noctua NT-H1 is yet another thermal paste that withstands the tests of time and use. It is estimated to be at max effectiveness for cooling your PC for up to 3 years.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting and high performance
  • Great price for those on a budget
  • Can be stored for later use (up to 2 years)
Cons:

  • Exact ingredients are undisclosed
  • Can be difficult to remove/clean

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Innovation Cooling Diamond “7 Carat”

The Best PC Gear Deserves the Best CPU Thermal Paste

innovation cooling diamond 7 carat


This is another thermal compound that’s a bit of a mystery. It has great ratings overall, and works very effectively. However, they won’t disclose the exact ingredients of their filler. The filler does include Diamond powder; which is considered a high quality conductor. It has low phonon scatter and high covalent bonding.

For more information on the specifics of diamond conductivity, we suggest you check out this relatively interesting article, “Is Diamond a Conductor?“.

Pros:

  • Has a thermal conductivity rating of 4.5W/m-K
  • Has thermal resistance of .25oC-cm2 per W
  • Unique diamond filler
  • Long-lasting and effective
Cons:

  • Toxic
  • Difficult to remove/clean

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Thermaltake TG-7 Extreme Performance

The Best Thermal Paste That Thermaltake Has to Offer

thermaltake tg-7 extreme performance - The Best Thermal Paste That Thermaltake Has to Offer
Thermaltake really outdid themselves with the TG-7 Extreme Performance. The diamond powder filler included in the compound provides dramatically improved thermal conductivity in comparison to their other products.

TG-7 Extreme Performance is a long-lasting solution that will provide maximum contact and minimal air gaps. Your PC only stands to gain from using this quality thermal paste.

Pros:

  • Unique diamond filler provides improved thermal conductivity with adequate thermal capacitive capabilities
  • Longer lasting than similar silicon-based thermal compounds
Cons:

  • Less applications per container than similar products

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Wigbow Ice Mountain №1

One of the Best Heatsink Solutions for Your PC

wigbow ice mountain n1
Wigbow Ice Mountain No1 is definitely one of the best thermal compounds available on a budget. It is a high performance compound which is perfect for use on your CPU, GPU, and other heat sensitive parts that require a heatsink.

The base of this product is a polysynthetic carbon, which is highly effective for heat sinking and transference. It is particularly easy to apply in syringe form.

Pros:

  • Really easy to use
  • Highly effective
  • Noncorrosive, nontoxic, nonvolatile, and fire resistant
Cons:

  • Can be difficult to remove
  • Not on par with more expensive solutions

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Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste (HTK-002-U1)

Amongst the Best Thermal Paste Choices Available

cooler master high performance thermal paste htk-002-u1
Not only does the Cooler Master High Performance thermal compound come in a convenient syringe for dispensing it easily and evenly, it is clear so that you can see how much you are actually using as well as how many more applications you have. It is a silicon based paste which is dielectric and appropriate for practically any PC application.

Use Cooler Master High Performance on CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, or any other heatsink in your case.

Pros:

  • Great for multiple applications/purposes
  • Effective heatsink
  • Great price for those on a budget
Cons:

  • Higher quality pastes are available
  • It is greasy, creating the potential to be messy or ‘bleed’

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Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme

A Solid Choice for the Best Thermal Compound

gelid solutions gc-extreme - A Solid Choice for the Best Thermal Compound
With thermal conductivity of 8.5W/mK, Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme isn’t a bad route to go if you need to replace your existing heatsinks or installing some new gear, such as a CPU cooler. It is easy to use and even comes with an applicator tool.

Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme is a specialized, non-curing compound which makes it more effective for longer periods of time, but also makes it riskier to move your computer around frequently. It’s also easy to clean up.

Pros:

  • It’s non-electrically conductive which keeps your circuits and other components safe
  • It’s noncorrosive
  • Non-toxic
Cons:

  • Difficult to tell how much is left in container
  • Expensive compared to similar products

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Prolimatech Pk-3 Nano

Sure to Get the Job Done Effectively

prolimatech pk-3 nano
Prolimatech Pk-3 Nano boasts very low thermal impedance, but retains thermal conductivity of 11.2W/m- Celsius as well. They’re also one of the longest lasting thermal compounds around. Because it does not ‘set’ or harden it doesn’t crack as it ages. This makes a huge difference in long-term use.

Pros:

  • Comes in a convenience syringe form which is easy to use
  • It’s noncorrosive
  • 5-gram tube is much larger than most thermal compound packages
Cons:

  • Expensive compared to similar products
  • Can be messy if you aren’t careful

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