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Best thermal paste for high temperatures (up to 103 °C)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello!

I wish to change my laptop's (an Asus N76) thermal paste, both CPU and GPU. This will be the first time I open it up since I got it two years ago and thought it would be a good idea to do so. If I remember correctly, the first stress test I ran right after getting it made the CPU go up to ~95 °C. The GPU is locked at 80 °C and generally doesn't throttle down too much. Right now, it takes around one minute and a half for the CPU @3.2Ghz, 100% usage to reach 103 °C and start to throttle. Most of this is due to the dust that has accumulated inside it, obviously, but I imagine changing the thermal paste can help a bit as well.

I have narrowed my selection down to the Arctic MX-4 and Noctua NT-H1. Both are available locally and aren't too expensive ($6.2 for the 4g MX-4 and $9.5 for the 1.4ml NT-H1, this is with 20% VAT in Europe). The only problem is that the maximum temperature for the MX-4 is not even specified and the NT-H1 has a recommended operating temperature of up to 90 °C, with the peak being 110 °C.

I have also looked at the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, but the website states that "Kryonaut uses a special structure, which halts the drying out process at temperatures of up to 80° Celsius". I don't know what to take from this considering the temperature is specified as up to 350 °C.

My question is just how important is the operating temperature? I obviously don't expect the paste to last for ten years, but at least one would be great. Also, what kind of improvement should I expect over the stock paste? I have read a review of the Arctic Silver 5 and someone said that it dropped the maximum temperature by 3 °C on a similar laptop compared to the first run right after purchase.
post #2 of 17
AS5 is garbage compared to either of the pastes you are considering.

AS5 is still probably a lot better than the stock paste.

More importantly, the stock paste is now over 2 years old, full of dust, and was likely never applied correctly (typical OEM procedure is to apply an entire packet of TIM per component. "More is better" approach, which doesn't actually give good results in the real world)!

A good paste, applied correctly, and you shouldn't even be reaching that 90c point you are worried about to begin with. If your laptop cooler is so poorly designed that it reaches those temps regardless, you can rest assured that both MX-4 and NT-H1 will still be safe choices and won't explode just because things got a little toasty. It will certainly be a nice upgrade from what you are currently using. In fact the Thermal Grizzly solutions would be great too, but you seem to have written those off (cost?), which is fine.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure Conductonaut is actually preferable over Kryonaut if you aren't attempting extreme low temp cooling, which you obviously aren't. Common mistake I've been seeing here for some reason, probably because it is a liquid metal tim, and thus can be a little tricky.
Edited by Zero4549 - 6/27/16 at 12:24pm
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post #3 of 17
Personally I use the Arctic Silver AS5. Rated up to 150C iirc.
I actually took apart my laptop today and replaced the thermal paste, the old paste was actually hard so I'm glad I went ahead and did it.
I run a i7-3610qm and 660m and I benched it at about 83C with the paste that was on it, 70c after putting on new paste. Which seems like an over large jump.... especially when I didn't have any dust build up.
I would suggest looking to see if your cooling fan is even working, 103C is very high....
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
The 1g Kryonaut is $7.1 and the 1g Conductonaut is $10.9. I'm not exactly sure how much 1g is though. I have read that liquid metal TIMs are close to impossible to remove once applied and that they actually lose a lot of their cooling capability after a few months. Not saying that is correct, the truth is I don't know much about them. Are they applied the same as a standard thermal paste?

I was actually set on the AS5, but it performs worse in benchmarks, perhaps because it requires time to reach its maximum performance.

The cooling system is terrible, the CPU and GPU share one fan that starts to actually work at over 80 °C, only runs at its highest RPM when throttling and can't be controlled manually. Running it at its maximum speed (which does generate a fair amount of noise) would probably decrease temperatures by a lot.

The CPU (an i7-3630QM) only reaches 103 °C after running at 100% for a little while. Right now, I've got it locked at 2.4Ghz and the temperature is varying between 54 °C and 63 °C (oddly enough, the second core is always between 3 and 8 degrees lower than the others). The room temperature is quite high as well during summer, 27 °C currently.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skye12977 View Post

Personally I use the Arctic Silver AS5. Rated up to 150C iirc.
I actually took apart my laptop today and replaced the thermal paste, the old paste was actually hard so I'm glad I went ahead and did it.
I run a i7-3610qm and 660m and I benched it at about 83C with the paste that was on it, 70c after putting on new paste. Which seems like an over large jump.... especially when I didn't have any dust build up.
I would suggest looking to see if your cooling fan is even working, 103C is very high....


Liquid metal, depending on the metals used, can react with certain other metals. For instance, Conductonaut will react with aluminum coolers, essentially ruining them.

Aside from that, modern liquid metal TIMs are fairly easy to functionally remove. You'll likely never get it completely off, but that is really only a cosmetic issue.

They also last a rather long time as long as the thermal cycling isn't too extreme. The problem is, under extreme lows, they can crack, and under extreme highs, they can reflow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenryk01 View Post

The 1g Kryonaut is $7.1 and the 1g Conductonaut is $10.9. I'm not exactly sure how much 1g is though. I have read that liquid metal TIMs are close to impossible to remove once applied and that they actually lose a lot of their cooling capability after a few months. Not saying that is correct, the truth is I don't know much about them. Are they applied the same as a standard thermal paste?

I was actually set on the AS5, but it performs worse in benchmarks, perhaps because it requires time to reach its maximum performance.

The cooling system is terrible, the CPU and GPU share one fan that starts to actually work at over 80 °C, only runs at its highest RPM when throttling and can't be controlled manually. Running it at its maximum speed (which does generate a fair amount of noise) would probably decrease temperatures by a lot.

The CPU (an i7-3630QM) only reaches 103 °C after running at 100% for a little while. Right now, I've got it locked at 2.4Ghz and the temperature is varying between 54 °C and 63 °C (oddly enough, the second core is always between 3 and 8 degrees lower than the others). The room temperature is quite high as well during summer, 27 °C currently.

AS5 is a popular choice, mainly because it got some great press 15 years ago when it was actually one of the better performing options, and people don't easily let go of old habits. It isn't actually a good paste by modern standards though. It loses in literally every metric to newer pastes like MX4. While there are certainly worse pastes still on the market, much superior ones are also readily available, and usually for a lower cost to boot. There simply is no reason to buy a new tube of AS5 today, although if you already own some, and are on a tight budget, it'll do.
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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

Liquid metal, depending on the metals used, can react with certain other metals. For instance, Conductonaut will react with aluminum coolers, essentially ruining them.

Aside from that, modern liquid metal TIMs are fairly easy to functionally remove. You'll likely never get it completely off, but that is really only a cosmetic issue.

They also last a rather long time as long as the thermal cycling isn't too extreme. The problem is, under extreme lows, they can crack, and under extreme highs, they can reflow.
AS5 is a popular choice, mainly because it got some great press 15 years ago when it was actually one of the better performing options, and people don't easily let go of old habits. It isn't actually a good paste by modern standards though. It loses in literally every metric to newer pastes like MX4. While there are certainly worse pastes still on the market, much superior ones are also readily available, and usually for a lower cost to boot. There simply is no reason to buy a new tube of AS5 today, although if you already own some, and are on a tight budget, it'll do.

This particular use led to some outstanding results! I guess the Conductonaut it is then.

Judging by this video, my laptop's heat sink is fully made of copper. So it applies more or less like a normal paste, but I have to make sure not to accidentally have it touch any electrical component, yes?

Thanks a lot for the help!
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenryk01 View Post

This particular use led to some outstanding results! I guess the Conductonaut it is then.

Judging by this video, my laptop's heat sink is fully made of copper. So it applies more or less like a normal paste, but I have to make sure not to accidentally have it touch any electrical component, yes?

Thanks a lot for the help!

Correct. The liquid metal TIM is conductive. You don't want it shorting anything. As long as you watch for that, and you don't have any "bad" metals, you're good to go.
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post #8 of 17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

Correct. The liquid metal TIM is conductive. You don't want it shorting anything. As long as you watch for that, and you don't have any "bad" metals, you're good to go.

Is it also necessary to apply electrical tape right next to the CPU and GPU in order to make sure none of the TIM gets on the components later? Or is is more of a precaution? I'm probably going to do it anyway. I don't expect the results to be anywhere near those, but even 85 °C would be wonderful.

Again, thanks for all the information!
post #9 of 17
I would go with thermal grizzly kryonaut anyday over any liquid metals...
post #10 of 17
http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/liquid-metal-showdown-thermal-grizzly-conductonaut-vs-cool-laboratory-liquid-ultra-pro.791489/page-10#post-10284482
You just need some electrical tape around the other parts
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