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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm going to be doing some maintenance on my rig, and that opens up the opportunity for a re-paste of my CPU and GPU. I'd like to focus on what I have in my own stash to see if it's worth changing anything vs buying new. I'm running Noctua NT-H1 on my CPU and MX-4 on my GPU.

I have Noctua NT-H1, Arctic MX-4, Arctic MX-5 (unknown age/oldest), and Thermalright TF7. I'm looking at using TF7, Would one or both benefit from this? If not, which TIM would be best? If I do decide to buy new, Thermalright TFX will be my target but I'd rather use what I have.
 

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Iconoclast
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Those are all well performing pastes, and it will probably be hard to tell them apart, performance wise, with a new application. However, TF7 and NT-H1 probably last longer in situ than the Arctic pastes due to their higher viscosity.

I wouldn't bother repasting, unless you've seen thermal performance degrade on the GPU, in which case, I'd use the TF7 on it. The CPU is almost certainly fine, unless you really managed to screw something up.
 
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NT-H1 will last roughly 3 years in storage and/or when applied (on paper) but it will definitely last longer. MX4 and 5 will last 8 years. All of them are greats pastes, so can't really go wrong. Also I don't have any experience whatsoever with Thermalright's TIM.
 

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I would just use the TF7. It is a pretty good all around paste. And Thermalright gives it out with most of it's coolers. So it is pretty easy to get a hold of. Or use the MX4 or MX5. I can't recommend the Noctua NT-H1 paste. Because i don't know if you have the old version or the new one. They made 2 versions of it with the same name.

I tried the Thermalright TFX and my first batch dried up in the tube within 6 months. I thought i had a bad batch of it. So i tried it again. And my second batch dried up within 2 years. But it isn't bad paste. I just recommend you buy what you need and use it right away. But you might not have the same issues i had with it.

I use Kingpin KPx and thermal grizzly kryonaut lately.

I'd go with Arctic Silver 5, I used some on a FX-8350 AMD FX-8350 @ 5428.02 MHz - CPU-Z VALIDATOR in 2014 and it still runs cool @ 5.4GHz with a AIO 240mm Thermaltake.
Arctic silver is much worse than any of the pastes the OP already has. If you want your paste to last forever. You should use a graphite thermal pad. Because there is no guarantee that AS5 or any other paste will last 8 years. I think you hit the thermalpaste lottery. :)
 
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I tried the Thermalright TFX and my first batch dried up in the tube within 6 months. I thought i had a bad batch of it. So i tried it again. And my second batch dried up within 2 years. But it isn't bad paste. I just recommend you buy what you need and use it right away. But you might not have the same issues i had with it
That is the nature of TFX, it looks dry, but in fact is extremely well performing and really long (8-10 years) lasting paste;)
Opposed to MX's that are very watery and this would be OK with older CPU's and GPU's that didnt run extreemly hot, but thats not the case today and before you know it, temps go up and re-paste time again.
If you already have TF7, I would use that, much better product.
 

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NT-H1, MX-4, and MX-5 are all excellent pastes. I am using MX-5 now and it is definitely of a different composition to 4. I think it will last quite a long time. This one you absolutely need to spread on the IHS or die.
 

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So we are supposed to believe a talking head who represents a specific brand of TIM? Sorry, I won't even click on it because that only give video more hits meaning more peeps who don't know any better will be lead to believe the garbage he's spouting. Not sure, but probably something like "you need to replace every year" or similar ..

Use what you have if your temps have increased in last couple years. CPU is easy to do so I usually wipe clean and replace when I'm rebuilding a system. Getting cooler out of the way makes it easier to clean things.

TIM shelf life varies. The warmer the area it's stored in the shorter it's life. Separation of liquids and solids is the problem. I've used old separated paste a few times in a pinch. Just mix it well so consistency is like it was when new. ;)
 

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I am curious, what's the reason it's hard when you take of the cooler ?
Heat removes liquids.
Liquids evaporate.

Put some TIM on something and set it on a warm shelf for a year and check it. It will most likely be hard. ;)
 
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Heat removes liquids.
Liquids evaporate.

Put some TIM on something and set it on a warm shelf for a year and check it. It will most likely be hard. ;)
Actually I have a tube of Arctic Silver 5 from 2014 and when I pressed on it just now , the tip that came out first was hardened. The rest was soft, so like a plug formed.
 

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Actually I have a tube of Arctic Silver 5 from 2014 and when I pressed on it just now , the tip that came out first was hardened. The rest was soft, so like a plug formed.
Good example of evaporation out threads on cap, maybe thru plastic cap.
 

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I'm sure it's all been said above. But... when it's time to write an essay? It's time to write an essay...

I joined here before the Apocalypse, back in year 2006 (I think that's right; but I didn't take my meds this morning and so memory is foggy and the nurse is coming by for bed check in a minute ... and so with the decades passing? So to has my mind lol )... but I do know I've been through a gazillion different thermal pastes over the past sixteen years and ever since my now world famous, Epic First Post(tm) here at OCN where I pretty much established myself as an immediate legend. Well, not Syrillian-level legend (r.i.p. sensie) but almost as notorious as @CorpussStalker ... but then again, who can claim such power as Syrllian wielded, anyway.

But to your point:

I've tried them all, AS5, Thermalright variants, Grizzly variants, random no name brands that I still have in my mod box, Coolermaster off shoots TIMS, all the gallium based liquid metals (which can be useful but very rarely) and others I can't remember the name of. All worked more or less the same, even toothpaste I tried once was within a couple degrees of official TIM products.

So what I'm getting at is all the "top dog" TIMS are going to be good and your primary decision will be determining which suits you in a few simple categories:
  1. Ease of Application: some are thick and pasty and bull0cks hard to spread; some are more creamy and easy to apply. Research to find which TIMS apply easily and which require some finesse/preparation. Again, they are all going to be within a degree or two of each other (despite the OCD claims of others to the contrary) and they are all good but some can be kind of tough to spread; some might even require a bit of heating (cup of hot water/hair dryer/etc.) to lubricate the process (Thermalright TF-7 & /Grizzly Kryonaut come to mind here). Others, like Noctua NT-H1/H2 and classic AS5 (still a good option) spread much more easily in my experience.

  2. Longevity Post Application: some TIMS will function well and "good as new" for many years after initial application and some will degrade within a year and need to be re applied. Again, this is matter of personal preference. I tend to chose TIMS that last for three to five+ years post application with zero thermal performance loss cause once I'm done with the typical rigorous and stressful, days-without-sleep sleepless process of dialing in a new system? I don't want to so much as TOUCH the rig again unless I absolutely have to. So I naturally lean towards TIMs with a proven track record of working "as good as new" for many years post application (Noctua NT-H1/NT-H2 here again comes to mind). For me? Theonger the TIM performs like-new? The better for me...

  3. Bang for Buck: this is just as important and perhaps more so than the first two points because frankly, some vendors such as Grizzly (their excellent track record in precision and design ethic not withstanding) are nonetheless straight up chinsy as all get out and you'll pay quite a premium with a 1 gram tube of Kryonaut going typically for about $8+ dollars. I've used Kryonaut quite a bit and it's certainly good but it's really not much better than other options which can be had for much cheaper while still being quite well regarded. Conversely? One can get a 10 gram tube of Noctua NT-H1 for about $15. And a 10g tube of the newer Noctua NT-H2 for about $25.
Personally? Considering all of the above? I've used Noctua NT-H1/NT-H2 for decades. It's cheap. It spreads pretty easy. It works great in every application I've used it, be it laptop or desktop. And one application will last 5+ years (that was my longest run) without degradation of performance. In fact? I have 8+ year tubes of oldschool NT-H1 that are in my mod-box and which I still use on a regular basis.

So I suppose it all comes down to value imo.

One thing I always am sure of though is to use non-conductive pastes. Over years of a single application, some TIM will inadvertently migrate into the motherboard socket and might "stain"/coat some of the outlying pins around the edges of the MB socket. This happened with my previous 8th gen rig (still in my sig cause I loved it so much) and a conductive paste/TIM in that scenario would have been disastrous. NT-H1/NT-H2 also clean up very easily as well. With that aforementioned stained socket pin situation? I just held the motherboard on edge and very lightly sprayed/drizzled QD Electronic Parts Cleaner into the socket and within a minute, all of the TIM was neatly removed from the sockets (FYI: don't spray such a product full blast on mb socket pins cause it will def bend them; the spray button on such is somewhat pressure sensitive so you can just drizzle it over such pins and slowly clean them to like-new.

Best of luck...
 

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I would just use the TF7. It is a pretty good all around paste. And Thermalright gives it out with most of it's coolers. So it is pretty easy to get a hold of. Or use the MX4 or MX5. I can't recommend the Noctua NT-H1 paste. Because i don't know if you have the old version or the new one. They made 2 versions of it with the same name.

I tried the Thermalright TFX and my first batch dried up in the tube within 6 months. I thought i had a bad batch of it. So i tried it again. And my second batch dried up within 2 years. But it isn't bad paste. I just recommend you buy what you need and use it right away. But you might not have the same issues i had with it.

I use Kingpin KPx and thermal grizzly kryonaut lately.


Arctic silver is much worse than any of the pastes the OP already has. If you want your paste to last forever. You should use a graphite thermal pad. Because there is no guarantee that AS5 or any other paste will last 8 years. I think you hit the thermalpaste lottery. :)
Could you elaborate a little more on graphite thermal pad it has my curiosity peaked and was wondering about it. Any info would be appreciated.
 

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You sure? That stuff is fairly new.

EDIT: Huh, I'll be damned. Guess it is.
Yup, same issue like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, too much pump-out effect even on non-extreme temps (not extreme thermal cycling). The Sheer properties of both TIMs were horrible (they were super extreme performance optimized), but the elasticity just wasn't there. Huge problems with any coolers with decent mounting pressure. So back to the drawing board.

Thermal Grizzly already released a new version with improved longevity (Pink colored one), Arctic is almost certainly working on adding an elasticity modifying additive, so we should see MX-6 in the future.

It probably isn't like that for most people, but these kind off issues Arctic/ Thermal Grizzly and Scythe have had with their new products are indicative off extreme pace and amount of innovation. They're basically Elon Musk problems/SpaceX problems xD

Which I love, I love Arctic overachieved with the P12/P14 and the impeller blades are too long and cause 950-1150 RPM range resonance noise issues. IF only they had LCP material it wouldn't happen. And with the redesign Ring around the blades on ARGB/RGB versions they greatly reduced it. Same with the TIMs, trying to one-up all competition. And same with Scythe with them botching their LCP Wonder Snail fan.

Heck Scythe gets the most respect from me (as they did a double-whammy). They overreached with blade length like Arctic, but they actually used LCP, and still had resonance issues, haha. We need more of this not playing it safe, and fast pace of reiteration. Lian Li has been doing this and has been absolutely crushing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks everyone for the tips and info, much appreciated. I'll leave things the way they are for now. Until that itch comes back to tweak.
 
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