Thoughts and Conclusion
As for overall judging, with so much data it’s not exactly easy. No one data point is the most important for the majority of the users and not all the data points are equally important. So what we’re going to do is use Relative Performance Scores of the TIMs. This time it’s a weighted average of the three contact settings’ 75th percentile mount temperatures. It’s a single data point trying to encapsulate a lot of performance data points so it’s not perfect, but we think it’s a really good mix and will end up representing the TIMs well in the simplest way possible. For a more advanced look at the performance of all the TIMs, there’s always the dozens of other charts showing the intricacies of the TIMs’ performance.
This is a bit of an odd trio…first Noctua NT-H1 and OCZ Freeze finish amazingly close in the overall scoring but perform very differently. Then there’s IC Perihelion, which somehow scores ahead of Spire SilverGrease SP-457 despite scoring last or near-last in three of the four major temperature categories. Performance isn’t everything, however. We tend to ask a few questions of each TIM: how does it compare to MX-2 overall (performance, usability, and pricing), if it’s an ultra-budget paste how does it compare to IceFusion, if it performs better than MX-2 how does it compare to PK-1, and ultimately, how does it compare to Indigo Xtreme?
In my opinion, IC Perihelion is the most avoidable TIM I’ve tested to date. If you’re using already, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in something better. It’s the worst by a lot in the Best Mount metric and Great Contact metric and is nearly last in Moderate Contact (SSG is only .05c better). Considering most, if not all, CPU coolers fall between Moderate and Great Contact settings, this is the worst paste I’ve tested for CPU cooling. On top of that, it has a sickening smell, is a pain to get out of the syringe, and is not anything special when it comes to cost. If you have it and desperately need to use it, put it on a component where every last degree isn’t critical and has poor contact, like VRMs.
Noctua NT-H1 is a legitimately very good thermal compound. Not quite great, but very good. On the average, it’s just 1C behind Prolimatech PK-1 and over .75C ahead of MX-2. With Moderate Contact, it’s similar to MX-2, but with both better and worse contact it does separate from MX-2 for the better. With Poor Contact, it was the best paste we’ve tested to date. I think there’s nearly 10 mounts of paste in each syringe, which is decent. At $8-10, it isn’t the best value and should be considered a backup to PK-1 or an included alternative, at best.
As for OCZ Freeze, it’s a bit of a shame it has been discontinued. On the average, it’s almost indistinguishable to NT-H1 but a closer look shows it performs very differently…it’s nearly as good with Poor Contact but pulls noticeably ahead with Moderate Contact and then actually takes a bit of a step back with Great Contact (which has only been seen from Deep Cool Z9, so far). Can’t recommend it, but if you have it already or know where to get it, it’s a step back from PK-1 but still a very good paste.
Next review will be with the much anticipated Shin-Etsu roundup. It was put off for a couple reasons: 1) we already kind of know where the best Shin-Etsu will come (guess: near but likely behind PK-1), 2) we were waiting for availability of X23-7921-5 and X23-7868-2D (still not available and we don’t want to wait any longer), and 3) there are a lot of pastes on the market and we wanted to test stuff we haven’t tested previously. In the roundup will be G751, X23-7762, and X23-7783D. Should be up in a few weeks when testing is done. Like this review, not all previous TIMs will be included in the review charts, just Indigo Xtreme (best TIM), PK-1 (best paste to date), MX-2 (the yardstick) and SSG SP-457 (worst overall paste to date). We do have a new post up with all our results in one place, which can be found here.