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Old 07-10-2021, 05:02 PM   #1
eccerr0r
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Default cheap but good thermal paste?

What's the cheapest thermal paste people get that's consistently "decent" ... I'm wondering if I should switch from zinc oxide to something else, but don't want to be disappointed.

Again needs to be cheap... ideally something as cheap as zinc oxide but I figure if it's claimed "better" then it means "more expensive"... which would add to the disappointment.
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Old 07-10-2021, 05:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

i use servisol silicone grease stuff .
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Old 07-10-2021, 06:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Got a link to your zinc oxide? MX-2 and MX-4 here.
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Old 07-10-2021, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

https://www.rawnamerica.com/whats_new/heatsink_pr.php ... don't remember how much I paid for it, probably on the order of 20 years ago. 1 oz (28g), pretty sure I paid less than $10 for it, "lifetime supply" I was thinking then.

I still have around 10g left in the tube and the tube has decayed over the years which is somewhat problematic as it's now leaking. However I have to say : I'd be "disappointed" if I don't get 10C (my absolute minimum would be 6C else I'd be very angry) difference from a "better" thermal compound than this stuff, especially if I'm paying many times the cost...

Last edited by eccerr0r; 07-10-2021 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Anything is obviously going to be more expensive 20 years later. The lack of any details from them and the scarcity of it currently suggests there's nothing special about it and anything would do the job.
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Old 07-11-2021, 03:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

MX2 (ceramic) is cheap.
MX4 (carbon) is a bit more if you need extreme performance.
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Old 07-11-2021, 03:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

It seems I was talking arse on it being more expensive 20 years on. It's even got specs on the side, how accurate they are..?.. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32965194236.html
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

ZnO is a ceramic. And I figure I paid a pretty penny for Made in the USA then (though I think I probably paid $6-8 or so, but again I don't have any recollection).

HY510 = ? Is it better than ZnO? At this point I need something "better" than ZnO unless it's simply due to the fact it's 20 years old (though I doubt it...)

I'm just hoping for a 10C drop in temperatures over ZnO... is it even possible? I just hate the fact people just rate by color... and not tell what the material is, even generalizing what kind of material (what ceramic?)
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Old 07-11-2021, 07:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
I'm just hoping for a 10C drop in temperatures over ZnO... is it even possible? I just hate the fact people just rate by color... and not tell what the material is, even generalizing what kind of material (what ceramic?)
Yes, it's possible. But it comes with 2 major drawbacks:
1. The price (obvious);
2.1 Silver based thermal paste => higher rate of electrical conductivity and capacitive value;
2.2 Liquid-metal based thermal paste => highly corrosive;

Overall the most challenging is knowing what you're buying since its composition is often missing, and rating by color is like dishwasher detergents

A good ZnO based thermal paste, or even better, a good AlN based thermal paste, will achieve basically the same results if correctly applied and renewed every 1 to 2 years.
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Old 07-11-2021, 09:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

That's what I'm fearing, I just reapplied fresh ZnO paste on my cpu and it's still quite hot, wonder if changing pastes is worth the money or am I just tossing money down the sink...
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
That's what I'm fearing, I just reapplied fresh ZnO paste on my cpu and it's still quite hot, wonder if changing pastes is worth the money or am I just tossing money down the sink...
I'm not sure I'd be calling that 20 year old no spec paste "fresh".
A quality made paste with known spec will do a known job. It's why all the pros I know use decent stuff. Yes a little different when money is involved but even the expensive paste is cheap.
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Well, if this was was a professional job, things would be different... Plus 2 decades ago, heat sink compound wasn't as widely varied as it is today, pretty much all the heatsinks and TO-220 is ZnO...

Anyway I added a little extra silicone grease to make it spread much easier, so not too bad on that front. But what would be a good tradeoff on paste, will that HY510 (which is an acceptable price...) exceed that of the ZnO that I do have, or will there be a better option somewhere?
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Old 07-12-2021, 01:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

The difference between known non conductive metal compounds is a couple of degrees at idle but can be as much as 12c difference at load. https://www.pcgamer.com/geek-tested-...es-face-off/2/

How 20 year old paste and $2 paste compare against them and each other who knows.
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Old 07-12-2021, 07:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

I've seen some reviews of CCP (no not chinese communist party but cheap chinese paste) and some turn out better than thought. Also cross referencing some of them to other reviews using baselines, the CCPs actually seem very good...

But a good point is made about CCPs - don't know how variable they are and whether I'm getting the good stuff or not...
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Well bought a small 2g sample of CCP... we'll see when it shows up... (in a month...)

Seems my p4 works ok with ZnO but my Core2 and i7 seems to get quite hot.

I alsp have this "Hutixi" thermal paste sample, not sure what this CCP is like...
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Old 08-10-2021, 04:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Here we go... a syringe of CCP...

Last night I was running a multithreadded java program. Dozed off and forgot about it but came back and noticed my computer was screaming at me as it was overheating! Was hitting well in excess of 90C where I set it to beep if it gets that hot. It probably hit 95C Fortunately it does auto-downclocks when it hits that high. I manually downclocked it 10% let it finish and stay below 90C.

So now with this gray CCP... Quite a bit thinner than the ZnO I had, but about same consistency when I mixed in some silicone grease. So that old ZnO probably needed some more grease mixed in to get thinner consistency so it can spread easier.

Now I try the same java program... so far so good, hit 86C for a while but tends to hover around 84C with all cores blasting. This is probably almost 10C cooler and no longer triggers last resort thermal throttling.

I'm surprised... <- not quite the right smiley but the smiley code for this fits the description. Worth the $1.30.

One thing new I noticed: the heatsink actually got warm/hot. This is the first time I've ever felt a heatsink get this warm - this is actually a good sign that heat is being conducted away from the CPU. I think the ZnO might have to be relinquished to just older devices, or the round file ...

Last edited by eccerr0r; 08-10-2021 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 08-10-2021, 05:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

I've been using this cheap stuff in small buckets called "HY410" for years.

I got some at first back around 10 years ago when I was replacing thermal paste on a very large number of laptops and desktops both. I also use it when replacing voltage regulators.

All the machines i used it on still work great to this day, performance is good enough, sure you may get an extra degree or two at best if you use arctic silver 5 or something. but I even use this paste on my own PC's and PC's i build for others.
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Old 08-10-2021, 08:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

I've seen the HY410, HY510, and a whole bunch of other HY**0 formulations. Have you tried just the HY410 from multiple containers, have they been consistent?

I've seen some reviews of some HY**0 were pretty good too, and there were some that weren't so good... The **0 number seemed to indicate better pastes (higher is better) but there were some that didn't come out so well though it could be consistency or fakes...

... fake CCP? Is that real?

I suppose it is possible... BTW I think the CCP I got, if it's not a fake, is "GD900" ... seems good enough, at least it survived the multithread java program that has been causing problems. There will be a few compile jobs that will be next on the test list but I can't recall which were the worst, probably webkit or webengine...

Only ended up with 2 grams of the stuff so it's not exactly super cheap compared to the ZnO, but hopefully this will still last a while.

Last edited by eccerr0r; 08-10-2021 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 08-13-2021, 09:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Does thermal paste type really make that much of a difference? I'd think you would get more performance from replacing the fan on the heatsink or adding fans to the case. Unless we are talking about a laptop here.
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Old 08-14-2021, 01:50 AM   #20
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Default Re: cheap but good thermal paste?

Quote:
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Does thermal paste type really make that much of a difference? I'd think you would get more performance from replacing the fan on the heatsink or adding fans to the case. Unless we are talking about a laptop here.
Yes, see the chart in post #13. Upto 12c difference under load.
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