Thermal paste is a very high heat conductive paste used to bind heatsinks to the CPU/GPU components and efficiently disperse the generated heat. Without it, the heatsink will fail to work, and, in time, so will the computer. Whereas about fifteen years ago, a mechanical fan was good enough, but now the footprints of new machines are ever smaller, and space is at a premium, a fan can't be that small and still be useful.
If you're a serious gamer or a build it yourself enthusiast, your computer is going to be running at a higher temperature than a basic system. The use of the right thermal paste will help to keep the electronic components operating within specifications.
We have looked at the thermal paste market and recommend the following brands for your consideration.
Arctic MX-4 (opens in new tab)
Carbon-based, high performance paste
A favorite amongst gamers, overclockers, and PC enthusiasts, the MX-4 is a high-quality paste that doesn't need frequent replacement. This thermal compound is a low electrical conductor but a highly effective thermal conductor. The carbon micro-particles in the paste are not only responsible for efficient heat transfer, but they are also durable. The ease of use, and cleanup, makes it an excellent blend to use for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Noctua NT-H1 (opens in new tab)
Lasts for up to three years!
The Noctua NT-H1Pro-Grade compound withstands the test of time and use. It's a premium-grade compound for optimal heat transfer from the CPU or GPU to the heatsink and offers maximum effectiveness for up to three years. The thermal paste contains micro-particles, is easily applied, and cleans up with a dry paper towel. It's also not electrically conductive, so there are no risks of short-circuits. Noctua is a well know brand in the cooling industry.
GELID GC-Extreme (opens in new tab)
Effective for longer periods
You get exceptional heat dissipation with a thermal conductivity rating of 8.5 W/mK, with operating temperatures from minus forty-five to one hundred and eighty degrees centigrade. An applicator tool comes with the product for spreading it out. It's safe to use on the computer since it doesn't conduct electrically, but is useful for more extended periods due to the specialized non-curing properties.
ThermalCoolFlux High Performance Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Paste (opens in new tab)
Comes as a pack of five applicators
With a thermal conductivity rating of over 3.5 W/mK, this polysynthetic paste is excellent value with five applicators of 1.5 grams each. Use each applicator as needed and store the remaining ones for when they're needed. They will last longer when unopened. You get a lot of the high-performance ThermalCoolFlux product for such a low-cost.
Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Cooling Compound (opens in new tab)
Uses almost pure silver as heat conductor
The 99.9 percent pure silver particles provide excellent cooling results that are reflected in the 8.9 W/mK conductivity rating. Use it on liquid-based systems as the compound will not contract or expand after it has set. Even though it contains silver, the Arctic Silver 5 is not electrically conductive.
Use a thermal paste to conduct heat away from your hottest running electronic components
An overheating CPU or GPU will soon fail, leaving you with an expensive option of repair or replacement of the computer. Spending a few dollars on a thermal paste application can help solve that problem.
Our recommendation for you is the Arctic MX-4 (opens in new tab)thermal compound paste. It gives excellent heat sinking and is easy to apply. After applying, you clean up with just a dry paper towel and forget about the CPU getting too hot for the next five years.