Etc.

Well, I had hoped to pre-order an iPhone 4 later this week, but it sounds like the first wave is completely spoken for already. Maybe I can get one in… August? Hrm. Any of you guys manage to secure a pre-order for guaranteed delivery on launch day?

On a totally separate note: thermal paste! I use the stuff constantly around Damage Labs, and frankly, paying ten bucks for a microscopic tube of Arctic Silver would substantially increase my yearly expenses. (I also hate the stuff because it’s hard to clean off of fingers, chips, boards, and the like, but that’s another story.) You’re in for at least three bucks for nearly any little tube of premium thermal compound on Newegg, and larger quantities are rare.

Bottom line: thermal paste as it’s sold to PC enthusiasts is kind of a raw deal.

My long-time solution has been a 5 oz. tube of cheap, white thermal paste that I picked up at MicroCenter for 14 bucks—and by "long-time" I mean at least three years, maybe more. The brand name is MG Chemicals Silicone Heat Transfer Compound, and it’s just standard white thermal paste. The stuff works as well as anything else I’ve tried, and it’s easier to spread on and clean off than more expensive solutions. Holds up pretty well over time, too.

No, it’s not sold as specially designed overclocking juice, but if you think you need a witch doctor’s poultice in order to squeeze more megahertz out of your CPU, I really can’t help you.

Even after years, I’ve not used up all five ounces of the stuff yet, but the metal tube around it has started to crack. It’s messy enough now that I decided yesterday to order another tube. Our local MicroCenter has ceased to stock it, as far as I can tell. Fortunately, I was able to hunt down more at an online store for $15.52. They’ve switched to a plastic tube, so it should last even longer. The only downside: this particular outlet wants 10 bucks to ship a 5 oz. tube of goo via UPS Ground, which is another kind of rip-off. Still, the total price is a steal compared to, say, a gross of $10 Arctic Silver tubes.

If you’d prefer to stick with vendors that don’t charge a dowry for shipping, this 200-gram vat of Cooler Master paste at Newegg for 17 bucks might be a decent alternative, too, although I prefer the squeeze tube.

Comments closed
    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Thermal pastes don’t really matter that much anymore. Generic stuff works fine. The key is application. You don’t need a lot of it and it only needs to cover the silicon and in areas where the silicon would be located behind the heatspreader.

    These day, the ricing crowd is more into lapping CPU heatspeader and base of the HSF to a mirror finish.

      • PrecambrianRabbit
      • 9 years ago

      That is some seriously exhaustive testing there!

      What amazes me is that the difference between the best and worst pastes is about 4.5C. Given that, I have to wonder what’s going on when I see newegg reviews of pastes that say “This stuff is amazing it lowered my temps by 15C!” (or the opposite).

    • Forge
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve been using a 10 oz. tube of Down Corning Tractor Engine Thermal Exchange Compound for the last 15 years or so. It’s zinc oxide in a light oil base, aka generic white goop.

    As for adding aluminum dust: Don’t. The thermal efficiency of the aluminum isn’t different enough to matter, any large particles will ruin the thin layer needed (thermal compound is supposed to be a layer that’s so thin it’s translucent). If you get your aluminum ground very fine, you’ll have to be careful until it’s mixed completely. Aluminum powder can be explosive.

    Now COPPER powder…. That might be worth playing with, though you’d need it ground REALLY finely. Silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any element, that’s why so many compounds imply they’ve got some.

    • matic
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting enough I just upgraded my cpu and used the white generic silicone compound to grease the Athlon X2 5600+ since it was the only thermal paste available. I’m not going to spend 10+ euros on 20 grams of fancy paste when I only need less than 2 grams.

    Since it’s almost clear that the poor Athlon X2 3600+ heatsink can’t deal with the thermal exuberance of the new come and I have to shop for a new heatpipes cpu cooler, the 2 grams of fancy paste will come for “free” with it.

    Idea: what would it be adding some alu powder (such as the by-product of milling machines) to the silicone compound? More risky for sure but what about performances? I’m too old and the ZIF of my AM2 socket is too flimsy to check for myself… 🙂

      • burntham77
      • 9 years ago

      What the holy hell is a “gram”?

        • Chrispy_
        • 9 years ago

        Three eighty-fifths of an ounce, you decimal-shunning imperialist 😉

          • 5150
          • 9 years ago

          0.0352739619 to be more precise.

    • Sunburn74
    • 9 years ago

    Scott Wasson is officially the world’s worst cheapskate.

    Geez I bought a 7 dollar stick of artic cooling like 5 years ago and it literally just ran out 2 weeks ago. Come on man! That stuff is damn fine witch doctor’s poultice.

    • Damage
    • 9 years ago

    Folks, 5 oz. is 142 g. That’s 142 g for 15 bucks. Please note when recommending poultice at much higher rates!

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    I got a preorder of a 32GB model with delivery date on June 24th. It was yesterday afternoon around 2pm or so. It took about 30 tries at the Apple Store, but it finally went through.

    I think they stopped the June 24th pre-orders pretty soon after mine went through. A friend got one just a couple of hours later and he got a “delivery by July 8th” date.

    For CPU Goo, I’ve been using Noctua NT-H1, which is widely available for $10 online, but I’ve found it for around $5 before. It actually comes in a pretty good size (1.4ml or something like that), and it lasts a long time. Not the best value, for sure, but it works and it isn’t as expensive as the AS stuff.

    • Ryhadar
    • 9 years ago

    I use Tuniq TX-2. Reviews and my own personal observations place it better than AS 5 and it’s base price is only $5-$7 compared to AS 5’s $10. I’d suggest using that.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    Arctic Silver Ceramique comes in a hefty 22g syringe that you’re not likely to use up in months, maybe years. And it’s 7-10 bucks depending on where you buy it.

    It’s what I use on most of the PCs I work on, and it does a good job. It’s also non-conductive, and relatively easy to clean.

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      I was just scanning the comments thread to see if anyone had posted Dan’s article. IIRC, *[

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    My friend got a Phenom II X6 and used the stock heatsink, with the paste that was already on it.

    It peaked at 45C running the wPrime stability test, and idles in the 20C range, despite the fact that the voltage had defaulted to higher than it should be.

    The mini buzzsaw fans can be annoying if you let them run at a high speed, but aside from that, fancy tower coolers and specific types of thermal paste are really starting to look silly.

      • vvas
      • 9 years ago

      q[< The mini buzzsaw fans can be annoying if you let them run at a high speed <]q Which is exactly why a lot of us go for the "fancy tower coolers", which can accommodate 120mm fans that rotate very slowly and thus make very little noise. :^)

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        That’s why I said “if you let them run at high speed.” They don’t have to.

        The only fan I have in my “old and hot” desktop is the one on its aluminum Intel heatsink, which is a complete piece of junk compared to something like the Phenom II heatsinks. Even so, running at the minimum fan speed with a Pentium E5200, I get away with it just fine.

        I’ve unplugged the fan quite a few times and the CPU doesn’t get as hot as lots of idling graphics card I’ve seen. I only leave it on because the northbridge heatsink, of all things, gets pretty hot without it.

        The point was that the included heatsinks and thermal paste can work very well if you give them the chance, and it doesn’t take replacing everything else just to get the fan to be quieter. You have direct control over that, and most people are running other fans, anyways.

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      vvas +1. Fancy tower for silence, not epeen. I’ve had a Scythe Ninja Rev. B for…. gosh, at least 4 years, maybe 5. T’was worth the $30.

        • vvas
        • 9 years ago

        Heh, that’s exactly the heatsink I have too. :^) Albeit with an 120mm NexusFan on it (its own fan came with a cracked frame, and I couldn’t be bothered doing the RMA thing just for that).

    • adisor19
    • 9 years ago

    But Damage, this is a ZOMG locked down Apple product !

    How could you ?

    Adi

      • leor
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t recall any anti Apple rants from Damage.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    I put a whole 5 ounce tube of thermal paste on my iPhone 4 order and overclocked it. It’s so fast now that I’ve already got my iPhone 4 – it actually arrived before I sent out the order, breaking several laws of physics in the process! Thanks thermal paste!

    • Corrado
    • 9 years ago

    I got my iPhone 4 pre-order in at around 8am EST yesterday.No problems here.

    • yokem55
    • 9 years ago

    Skip the new iphone, get one the newer high-end android devices. I hear the Evo is quite nice as is the Incredible…

    • jbraslins
    • 9 years ago

    I tried to pre-order about once every 15 minutes from 8am until 2pm. Apple site kept crashing and kicking me out. Finally, around 2pm i got mine pre-ordered.

    Apparently, apple store app for iPhone worked without any issues all day.

    Leave it to apple to make it easy to order iPhone 4 on your iPhone 3.

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder where the factory is that brews up vats of the stuff for pennies a kilo and then packages it into those tubes that sell for $10.

    I imagine somewhere in Guangzhou you can buy the stuff off a vendor very, very cheap. Assuming you can be sure you’re actually getting that and not tinted zinc oxide or mayonnaise or something.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 9 years ago

      Or lead-laced.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        You mean they make it out of crushed toys?

        Anyway, there’s plenty of nasty stuff like lead and mercury and arsenic around in electronics still. It’s generally not a problem, except in landfills — I assume you’re not gnawing on your CPUs or squirting the thermal paste directly into your mouth. But that’s the problem with buying off the street in China: your thermal paste might not have any metal in it, and your mayonnaise probably does.

    • KarateBob
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve used SVC.com for thermal paste for years. 12g of Arctic Silver 5 for $18 shipped, or $9 shipped for 22g of AS Ceramique.

      • continuum
      • 9 years ago

      Yep, same… heck I’ve been using the same tube of AS5 for a couple years now.

      I actually have a huge dispenser tube (4oz? 8oz? of Shin-Etus G749 (or was it G751), some of the old Intel factory stuff. I think I’m stocked for life.

    • bthylafh
    • 9 years ago

    Got a source for good paste-removal supplies? Dell sends us individual wipes that work very well, but it’d be nice to have a private stock.

    • Fragnificent
    • 9 years ago

    haha random thermal paste etc. love it.

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