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Grease Wars 3: Supercool Goo

Introduction

Let the war begin. The largest thermal grease war at TargetPC that is! Today, we compare new versions to old versions and improved versions. This five greaser shootout has a surprise winner with a surprise price. It's Nanotherm versus Arctic Silver in a review that took three weeks of dedicated testing. I just hope that the heatsink clip on my aging P3 holds out...

Factory Specifications
Nanotherm Ice & Blue
  • Available in two flavors: Ice & Blue
  • Negligible Electrical Conductivity
  • Thick, Viscous, Sticky Consistency
  • Does not Separate, Leech or Dry Out
  • Price: $4.95 USD for 2g/1.5cc

Nanotherm Ice
Nanotherm Blue

ESG Associates

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10/10 Rating
Factory Specifications
Arctic Silver 3
  • Made with 99.9% pure micronized silver
  • Does not contain any silicone
  • Controlled triple phase viscosity
  • Price: $7.95 USD for 3g/1cc

Arctic Silver 3

Arctic Silver 3

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8/10 Rating

The Products (from the Nanotherm review)

I remember an old TV ad that opened with senior citizens driving down a crowed street. A woman asked the male driver about changing the car's oil and his reply was, "motor oil is motor oil."

When setting up your new P4 or T'bird screamer, I'm sure most consider very carefully every single part that goes into the case. Except for some odd reason, the thermal grease gets left out. Some argue the benefits when grease is substituted for an inefficient pad, but is there is difference between greases themselves? Can one be significantly better than another? If you recall my aging Arctic Silver review, you'll see that quality of thermal paste varies greatly.

What I've discovered with heatsink compound is that generally speaking, you want a thick viscous compound. This is good for several reasons. First, a viscous grease is less prone to drying out over time (months, years). Second, tiny air pockets are less likely to decrease the tight coupling between heatsink and CPU.

Arctic Alumina is similar to Nanotherm Ice and Blue in that they both veer away from using small micronized metallic particles. These Metallic particles aren't necessarily bad; however, with all electrically conductive particles, some risk of damage may occur either over time or under extreme pressure. No need to worry with either Ice, Blue or Alumina.

Arctic Silver 3 is the new and improved version of the high end grease that started it all, Arctic Silver. AS3 is slightly electrically capacitive and while a solid contact area should be maintained, extreme pressure could cause it to become conductive.

Nanotherm's contestants are the same as in Grease Wars 2, with the exception of Blue. It is new and improved even though I didn't specifically test the old and new revisions for this test.

Testing Notes

Arctic Silver and Nanotherm products do require several days of CPU cycling in order to achieve maximum stability. Since this effect is particularly prevalent with Ice, Blue and AS3, I chose to concentrate on these samples with multiple tests performed over several days for each. As you will discover on the next page, AS3 appears to do worse over time, rather than better. The Nanotherm products are so stable that prolonged testing produced insignificantly different numbers.

This will be the last series of tests using my old Pentium 3 rig. The previous tests performed in my older reviews are not comparable due to many system changes such as moving from a GF2 to a GF3 Ti-500 and different overclocking parameters. All further tests will be using a P4 1.6GHz overclocked to 2.0Ghz or higher.

 





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