While testing TIM materials can be tricky, margin of error high and the tendency to draw to far-fetching conclusions from any single results equally fanciful, I though I'd post this round up.
I've only included fairly big roundups with fairly consistent - even if not faultless - test methodology:
Top 5 (all within 1.5C of each other, 230W peltier load)
1. Coollab Liquid Pro
2. IC Diamond
3. Noctua NT-H1
4. OCZ Freeze Extreme
5. Coolermaster Thermalfusion 400
Top 5 (all within <1C of each other, Q9450 @ 3.2GHz load)
- Tuniq TX-3
- Gelid GC-Extreme
- Thermaltake Grease A2150
- Arctic Silver 5 Polysynthetic Thermal compound
- Shin-Etsu MicroSi G751
Lab 501 7-2009
Top 5 (all within 2C of each other, Q6600 @ 3.5GHz 1.4V load)
1. Nanoxia Nano TF-1000
2. Coollab Liquid Pro
3. Prolimatech PK-1
4. IC Diamond
5. Shin Etsu MicroSi
Now some personal caveats
- not all of the same TIMs were tested in each round up, so a winner of one test may be completely missing in another test
- application to application error can be several degrees, unless controlled for
- ranking can change based on test round methodology (load time, load used, cooling used, etc)
- thermal conductivity alone is not be-all-end-all. Ease of application, corrosion, ease of removal, electrical conductivity, environmental issues, etc factor in. Please check specifics of all pastes, before buying blindly. This applies especially to Coollaboratory Liquid Pro or Nanoxia Nano TF-1000, which should never be used on aluminium surfaces.
Regardless, my personal conclusions
- the difference between the worst and the best paste is roughly 10C in almost every methodologically done round up
- The overall top 10 pastes almost always perform within the top 10 in each individual test and within 3-4C of each other.
- For a high performance silent enthusiast, who tries to gain every last inch of cooling performance without resorting to noise, selecting a paste within the top 5 may actually bring benefits
- Dan's Data may be funny, but I will not use hamster oil as my TIM :)
As an added bonus, take a look at TIM application notes from Lab 501
A lot of new pastes are still coming out and have not been tested. This is just a snapshot in time. Still, I think even this field has progressed in the past 15 years I've watched it.
I hope you find this useful.