June 2009 Thermal Compound Roundup (Arctic Cooling, Arctic Silver, Gelid, Noctua, Tuniq, and Zalman) - Testing Paste vs. Paste vs. Paste

Article Index
June 2009 Thermal Compound Roundup (Arctic Cooling, Arctic Silver, Gelid, Noctua, Tuniq, and Zalman)
Testing Paste vs. Paste vs. Paste
Final Thoughts and Conclusion



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:



The results are in, and they are pretty interesting. The biggest thing to note is that all 6 compounds we tested lowered the temperatures compared to stock cooling at least 2.5 degrees, however the gap between all of the compounds is only 2 degrees, which makes it pretty much impossible to say that one is better than the other.

If this review was a movie the ending would really suck due to the fact that we can't really declare a winner or a loser. Due to the close results, performance becomes a little bit less of a factor when you go out to buy a new tube of thermal compound, and factors like availability and pricing become even more important, and chances are if you walk into your favorite store and have to decide between these brands chances are good that price will become the biggest factor in your buying decision.

Now that we've see the results, let's move to the last section where I will share my thoughts on each of these thermal compounds.