One of the elements normally forgotten and very important in any gaming PC is thermal paste. This element, which is located between the processor and the heatsink, is normally not taken into account because it is not attractive. As well, NZXT and Alphacool have announced new thermal pastes with very good thermal conductivity.
On one hand, we have the NZXT Thermal Paste, whose name is simple, but which clearly tells us the content. Then we have the Alphacool Apex Thermal Paste, which is the best non-liquid metallic thermal paste. Both are characterized by not being electrically conductive and easy to apply.
NZXT and Alphacool present their thermal pastes
Thermal paste is applied between the Processor IHS (metal encapsulation that protects the processor) and the base of the heatsink. Its function is to fill in the imperfections of both surfaces and improve heat transfer. These imperfections, which cannot be eliminated, would cause poor heat transfer. Hence, a heat-conducting element of the highest possible quality is needed.
Although lately we can find somewhat peculiar thermal paste, such as liquid metal or diamond thermal paste, these are more conventional. They are metallic type, low viscosity, non-conductive of electricity. In addition, both are non-corrosive, easy to apply and clean.
We start with the NZXTwhich has a thermal conductivity of 6.3 W/mK, it is gray in color and has a shelf life of three years. It comes in 15-gram and 3-gram syringes. Regarding that of alphacoolthis one has a thermal conductivity of 17 W/mK, is gray in color and the shelf life is not specific. It only comes in one version, a 4-gram syringe for various applications.
According to NZXT their thermal paste is based on zinc oxide, liquid polymer and aluminum material. Alphacool does not reveal much about how these very good properties are achieved. It only indicates that it is made from “a nano-powder with a very low thermal impedance”
Two quite different solutions
Using liquid metal is quite dangerous, especially if you don’t have much knowledge. Despite its good thermal conductivity, it is corrosive, a conductor of electricity and toxic to people. Only those with great knowledge should use this component. Really, unless you overclock, you’re going to notice very little difference.
Regarding the prices, the 3 gram syringe of NZXT thermal paste costs $9.99 and the 15 gram one costs $19.99. While the Alphacool syringe, 4 grams, is priced at 14.99 euros.