Arctic Cooling MX-3 Thermal Compound


Product(s): Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound
Provided By:
Arctic Cooling



Today we have a new product from Arctic Cooling, the Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound, which aims to takes the already good performance of Arctic Cooling's MX-2 Thermal Compound to the next level. Arctic MX-3 thermal compound is composed of carbon micro particles and boasts an extremely high thermal conductivity, which unless your some sort of scientist probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you, however in this article we'll see what this means in terms of performance and if at the end of the day it can help decrease our CPU temperatures.

It wasn't too long ago that we took 6 of the most commonly available thermal pastes and put them head to head and tried to crown a winner (you can read the full article over here). The difference between the 6 thermal pastes was pretty small, and all provided a decent increase over the stock thermal paste that came with our stock AMD cooler. It will be very interesting to see how the Arctic MX-3 stacks up against the rest of the competition.

Let's take a closer look at the Arctic MX-3 and see what it's all about.


Closer Look :


Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound
Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound


Arctic MX-3 looks pretty standard, it comes in a tube, and its grey like pretty much every other thermal compound available. As you can see in the picture below the consistency of the Arctic MX-3 is very nice, and you can see with the others one is a touch too runny while the other is a bit more dry, and when you compare the 3 pictured the Arctic MX-3 is the easiest to apply.


Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound


Arctic Cooling MX-3 Thermal Compound Specifications:

Unparalleled thermal performance
As an upgraded version of the award-winning ARCTIC MX-2, the performance of the ARCTIC MX-3 outranges other well-known thermal compounds clearly. This new compound is composed of carbon microparticles which lead to an extremely high thermal conductivity – 8.2 W/mK. It guarantees that heat from the CPU or GPU can be dissipated quickly and efficiently.

The ARCTIC MX-3 is a metal-free, non-electrically conductive compound which does not cause any damage of the components if it is accidentally spilled out on them. It eliminates any risks of short circuit and provides more protection to the CPUs, graphic cards and other applications between power semiconductor components and heatsinks. The ARCTIC MX-3 is a truly hassle-free premium thermal compound you can rely on.

Main Features

  • High Thermal Conductivity
  • Low Thermal Resistance
  • Non-Electrical Conductive
  • Non-Capacitive
  • Non-Corrosive
  • No Curing
  • No Bleeding



Thermal Conductivity: 8.2 W/mK
Density: 2.32 g/cm3
Net Weight: 4g
Viscosity: 875 poise





Test Setup:

We've recently re-designed our Cooler testing setup to show how new coolers are able to handle the new quad-core CPU's from both AMD and Intel, which produce more heat than traditional Dual and Single Core CPU's. We will be providing test results from both a Intel Quad Core processor (LGA775), as well as a AMD Phenom X4 CPU (AM2+) in all our reviews to give readers a better estimate of how this cooler will work on their CPU, as well as a better estimate of what the cooler being reviewed is capable of.

For AMD (AM2+) testing we will be using the AMD Phenom X4 Quad-Core 9950 CPU, which produces 140 Watts of heat and is currently one of the hottest running processors available. This processor should give us a very good estimate of how a cooler will perform with one of the hottest CPU's available. Click here to go to AMD's Processor Spec Finder to find out how many of watts your AMD processor is producing.

For both AMD and Intel testing, we have taken all temperatures using CoreTemp v.0.99.4. CoreTemp takes a temperature from the CPU core, and allows for much more uniform results across different motherboard and CPU platforms. These temperatures may seem higher than other temperature recordings; because chances are they are taking temperature recordings using the diode underneath the CPU, which isn't able to be as accurate, and can really fluctuate between different brands of motherboards.

For all tests we are using the Highspeed PC Top Deck Tech Station, and we are using no additional cooling in our testing. All temperatures are recorded in a controlled environment that is set to 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) to provide fair results between coolers.

AMD Test System:



Here comes the big test:

Click on Chart for Larger View


So the results are in, and quite frankly I'm a bit amazed/surprised with the performance of Arctic MX-3. The previous 6 thermal compounds that I had tested were all pretty close to each other performance-wise, but the folks at Arctic Cooling have really raised the bar with their Arctic MX-3 thermal compound. A drop of 2 degrees might not sound all that impressive, but it is an increase of 5% in cooling performance with our CPU and stock cooler, and thanks to that performance it makes it a great choice if you're looking to buy some new thermal compound.

In the next section I'll go into a little more depth with my overall findings with the Arctic MX-3 thermal compound testing.




Arctic Cooling MX-3 Thermal Compound Final Thoughts:

We've been using Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound here at BCCHardware for a while now in all of our cooling reviews to help provide us with consistent results, and when we compared the MX-2 thermal compound up against other commonly available thermal compounds the MX-2 was one of the best performing thermal compounds that we tested. Arctic Cooling has taken the performance of the MX-2 a step further with the new release of their Arctic MX-3 thermal compound, and when compared to other thermal compounds we've tested, the Arctic MX-3 thermal compound is now at the top of the list performance-wise.


In our testing, Arctic MX-3 thermal compound dropped our CPU temperatures an additional 2 degrees Celsius when compared to 6 other popular thermal compounds that we've tested (full article over here). A drop of 2 degrees might not sound like much, but when compared to other available thermal compounds an extra 2 degrees is a big deal and represents a 5% cooling performance increase in our testing. Any overclocker will tell you that an extra 2 degrees might be the difference between a stable overclock and crashing, and when you combine a high-performance thermal compound like Arctic MX-3 with a high quality cooler, you should see a very significant drop in CPU temperatures.

Applying the Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound is easy thanks to its very nice consistency. Some pastes are a bit on the dry side, while others are on the runny side, but I found the Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound to be a great consistency and it made it very easy to apply without making a mess, and also made it really easy to get good coverage on the CPU surface.


At the end of the day it's pretty easy to award the Arctic MX-3 with our "Editor's Choice" award thanks to its performance alone. When compared to other thermal compounds we've tested the Arctic MX-3 is at the top of our charts and it will be a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality thermal compound that can help lower your CPU or GPU temperatures. I was a bit skeptical of the Arctic MX-3 at first and wondered how Arctic Cooling was going to improve on an already great product like the Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound, but the folks over at Arctic Cooling once again have raised the bar with their new Arctic MX-3 Thermal Compound.



  • Top Notch Performance
  • Easy to Apply - Nice Consistency
  • No Curing Time Necessary



  • None



Editor's Choice

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