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difference between Thermal Grease and Silver?


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#1 RayJai

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 09:52

I never used this stuff on my PC before, but now that im paying for my own PC (parents not around anymore, LOL)
I want to invest the best for it.

I know everyone loves to use the artic silver.
but i would just like to know whats the difference between Thermal Grease and Silvee compound.

Also which type should i get?

Some of them goes as high as $10 and as low as $3

also whats a good brand?

Thanks in advance!


#2 Berserk87

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:56

both the same thing.

Arctic Silver is the name brand.
If you buy the cheap stuff it will just say on it "thermal grease" or "thermal compound"

even though the all the same stuff.

ive got arctic silver on my cpu right now, and it works really well.

#3 senalphsarci

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 11:17

Well your question is kind of mislead.

You see, Arctic Silver 5 is what I think you're referring to when you say "arctic silver". And secondly, Thermal Grease (also known as Thermal Compound and Thermal Paste) is a term for the general product name where as Arctic Silver 5 is a type of thermal compound.

Now, there are many different types of thermal compound; all of which have individual recommended applications. The details of when to use each kind I'm not so sure of. But what I do know is different types of thermal compound have different densities and different levels of "smoothness". Also, different types of thermal compound are made up of different materials, and thus, some react in an undesired manor when coupling with heat sinks made of certain other materials. What all this means is that certain compounds work better with certain kinds of coolers.

Now to solve your problem: buy Arctic Silver 5. I think most people would agree with me as well. Arctic Silver 5 will be the best solution for %90 of the time.

Personally if I were to stick a heatsink on something that was not made of metal (i.e. a ram chip on my video card), I would use cermaic based thermal compound. Again there are also many different kinds of ceramic compound and I have no idea when to use which.

For most people, however, choice of thermal compound is usually a "personal" thing. Many people just find some stuff they like and stick with it. Don't be afraid to try stuff out...anything is better than no thermal compound.

On a side note, there is also stuff called Thermal Tape. This stuff can be purchased but its usually found, pre-installed, on new heat sinks. I wouldn't recommend using it because I think something like AS5 (Arctic Silver 5) will provide a noticeable decrease in temperatures over thermal tape.

Ok, HERE'S THE PART YOU CARE ABOUT. Where to buy Arctic Silver 5:

Newegg.com : 12 Gram Tube - $21

Newegg.com : 3.5 Gram Tube - $11

The 3.5 gram tube should give from 5-7 applications to a cpu. The 12 gram tube should give 15-20. Of course this all depends on how much you use each time.

Many people love to glop a big heap of paste in the midle of their cpu then spread it around with their finger or some sort of...uhh..."spread around" device?...Well regardless, I don't think this is the best way to do it.

Personally I've always found that the best way to apply thermal paste to one of the modern dual core processors is to make a "plus sign", or a "+" shape, in the middle of the cpu with no less than a 1 CM margin all the way around. Let the force of the heat sink do the work for you. When you spread it around with fingers or anything else you can cause air bubbles, and this is bad. A good, tight heat sink with the proper amount of thermal compound will provide the best possible contact, and therefore best possible dissipation. This is the key to applying thermal compound, and consequently, a heat sink.

I have included a picture of what the cpu should look like before you apply the heatsink. I took it just for this post (I would defiantly say that's acceptable as that's probably what my 3.2 Pentium D looked like before I heatsinked it and bumped it up to 3.9GHz on stock cooler).

Proper Thermal Compound usage can knock off 7 degrees Celsius, if not or more, versus a dry contact between the heat sink and cpu.

I hope I didn't get anything wrong or leave anything out. If I did I hope someone will correct me. This is all I can think of to best answer your question. I hope it helps...

On a side note, when you warm your cpu up for a bit, the thermal paste, if applied properly, will act as a sort of adhesive between the cpu and heat sink. Also, as for the heat sink goes I would recommend that at the very least your heat sink have a coper base as this provides much better cooling than a standard aluminum base.

Heres The Pic:

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#4 OP RayJai

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 11:45

Thanks for the detailed info!

I'm sorry i confused you about the types because i was just as confused with all the types out there.

so i should get the artic silver stuff for CPU

and cermaic compound stuff for my memory sinks.

thanks!

#5 petroid

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:57

The more expensive brands use a lot more higer conductive metal like silver so they are more efficient but more expensive!

The way I spread AS5 is pretty much as the instructions used to say. Too much of it is counter productive, so I use a blob about the same size of a grain of rice and spread it evenly around the top of the center of the processor. You want reasonable coverage, but you don't need to spread it edge to edge as the core is smaller than the heat spreader over it anyway!

Edited by petroid, 14 December 2007 - 13:03.


#6 S7un7

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 15:34

I've read that the Céramique works better than the Arctic Silver 5.

#7 senalphsarci

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:09

I've read that the Céramique works better than the Arctic Silver 5.


This is only true for certain situations. For any heatsink that is ALL COPPER I would definately not use "Ceramique".

#8 OMEGA_RAZER

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:19

Anyone have any experiance with the Zalman thermal grease that they ship with their heatsinks? I'm looking at getting one sometime soon...

#9 jamend

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:20

They're both pretty good, but I still prever Silver. Anyways, after all these years, I think it's best to just pay the few extra dollars for Arctic Silver. Other reputable companies (Cooler Master, OCZ, ThermalTake, etc.) have tried to introduce competing products, but reviews show that Arctic Silver always beats them by a few degrees.

#10 senalphsarci

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:23

The more expensive brands use a lot more higer conductive metal like silver so they are more efficient but more expensive!

The way I spread AS5 is pretty much as the instructions used to say. Too much of it is counter productive, so I use a blob about the same size of a grain of rice and spread it evenly around the top of the center of the processor. You want reasonable coverage, but you don't need to spread it edge to edge as the core is smaller than the heat spreader over it anyway!


That mehtod used to be the best way to do it with a single core cpu. If you removed the heatspreader from the single core cpu you wiill find the core dead in the center. CPU's with heat spreaders on them are more often than not gonna have a more "rectangularly" shapped core. This is why the "grain of rice" is the perfect shape/size for a single core cpu (as long as you apply the paste parallel to the longer side of the core).

On a dual core cpu the two cores are placed side by side with a gap between them. The gap will be dead center in the middle of the cpu. So i find applying that "grain of rice" down the middle is no longer ample for dual core.

And again, for a quad core I'm sure the "plus sign" method is not the best way to go.

But you are right, too much thermal compound is very conter productive. You will incure temps ABOVE a bare heat sink. So the best thing to remeber is that "a little goes a very, very, long way."

#11 CelticWhisper

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 19:17

Sorry for the thread revival, but I have an X2 coming in the next day or two and I wanted to double-check one thing quick.

Senalphsarci: First of all, amazing post. Seriously, if there isn't one already, post that in the guides forum as "How to apply thermal paste."

You mentioned that the plus-sign method is optimal for dual-core chips, but that a rice-grain-sized amount is best for single-core chips. I'm just a little worried that the plus-sign might be a disproportionately high volume to a grain of rice. I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill here, but needless to say I'd rather not oversaturate my nice new proc and have it burn up while I'm trying to compile glibc or something. I ordered Arctic Silver (can't remember if it was 5 or not) with the parts from Newegg, going mostly on their reputation as I had never used their stuff before.

Assuming that the plus sign isn't going to be too much for an Athlon64 X2, I apply it with each "arm" reaching about 1cm, then press straight down with the heatsink, right? Do I have to worry about the heatsink shifting, turning, sliding, etc? Can this result in the formation of air bubbles?

I know I'm being quasi-neurotic here. Thanks for humouring me.

#12 Invizibleyez

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 02:04

It's all very simple actually. Arctic Silver lists the exact directions with pictures on their website. Here is the link:
http://www.articsilv...nstructions.htm

They recommend the "grain of rice" method though. it doesn't matter the shape. its more about the amount. Irregardless what shape you put, it will be smashed down and spread by the heatsink.

Arctic Silver 5 does have a drawback. It uses silver, which conducts electricity. If you apply too much, and it gets onto the pins of the processor, you can short out and damage the processor and/or the motherboard. Please follow their instructions carefully. I use arctic silver 5 and followed their instructions, and have no problems at all.

Sorry for the thread revival, but I have an X2 coming in the next day or two and I wanted to double-check one thing quick.

Senalphsarci: First of all, amazing post. Seriously, if there isn't one already, post that in the guides forum as "How to apply thermal paste."

You mentioned that the plus-sign method is optimal for dual-core chips, but that a rice-grain-sized amount is best for single-core chips. I'm just a little worried that the plus-sign might be a disproportionately high volume to a grain of rice. I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill here, but needless to say I'd rather not oversaturate my nice new proc and have it burn up while I'm trying to compile glibc or something. I ordered Arctic Silver (can't remember if it was 5 or not) with the parts from Newegg, going mostly on their reputation as I had never used their stuff before.

Assuming that the plus sign isn't going to be too much for an Athlon64 X2, I apply it with each "arm" reaching about 1cm, then press straight down with the heatsink, right? Do I have to worry about the heatsink shifting, turning, sliding, etc? Can this result in the formation of air bubbles?

I know I'm being quasi-neurotic here. Thanks for humouring me.



#13 fRaek

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 02:22

Arctic Silver 5 does have a drawback. It uses silver, which conducts electricity. If you apply too much, and it gets onto the pins of the processor, you can short out and damage the processor and/or the motherboard. Please follow their instructions carefully. I use arctic silver 5 and followed their instructions, and have no problems at all.


I'm glad someone mentioned that because metal-based thermal compounds, when used improperly, can seriously damage your valuable components! So particularly with the Arctic Silver, its best to use a little rather than a lot. The stuff I bought for my newest rig is Arctic Cooling's new-ish MX-2 Thermal compound. It is extremely popular right now and has performed excellently for me. On the plus side, it is a grease/paste of some sort that is not electrically conductive - this significantly reduces the risk of damaging your components, but still transfers heat extremely efficiently.

#14 +chconline

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:55

I use Arctic Cooling MX-2 for all my stuff because it's better than Arctic Silver 5, but I have heard that Noctua's HT-H1 is better... and Tuniq TX-2 also competes in this field.

Either way, the MX-2 is better than AS5, probably the NT-H1, I have all 3 laying around, I'll probably do some tests soon.

By the way, AS5 is polysynthetic silver :p

#15 GrimReeper

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 14:33

Get Arctic Silver 5 if you want something good or Arctic Cooling MX-2 if you want the best. :D