Are you building a new PC? If so, you should never forget the little trivial things you should buy aside from the processor, GPU, storage, and whatnot. There are minor things you should consider that can have a major effect if not chosen correctly. One of these minor things is a thermal paste. Yes, I know that newly bought heatsinks already have a pre-applied thermal material. But this also applies to people experiencing thermal throttling or high thermals, in general.
A thermal paste is a medium between the heating element (in this case a processor) and a cooling element (i.e. a heatsink). When a high-quality and efficient thermal grease is used, the system will experience a lower temperature as a result. In today’s article, we are going to look at the performance of two popular thermal compounds – the Arctic Silver 5 and ARCTIC MX-4. Note that these are two separate companies: Arctic Silver and ARCTIC.
Arctic Silver 5 vs ARCTIC MX-4
Arctic Silver 5
|Composition||99.9% Pure Silver||Carbon Microparticles|
|Thermal Conductivity||8.9 W/mK||8.5 W/mK|
|Viscosity||Not determined||870 Poise|
|Density||4.05 g/cu-cm||2.5 g/cu-cm|
|Net Weight||3.5 / 12 grams||2 / 4 / 8 / 20 / 45 grams|
|Warranty||24 months||8 years|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Arctic Silver 5 vs ARCTIC MX-4 – Differences
Material and Composition
All thermal compounds are not created equally. Thermal paste manufacturers use different materials in their thermal greases. Each material has its own thermal conductivity, thus can give a different thermal performance.
Arctic Silver 5
Arctic Silver used 99.9% pure silver in the AS-5. Arctic Silver says that it uses three unique shapes and sizes of pure silver to maximize particle-to-particle contact, thus increasing its thermal conductivity. Although silver is the best electrical conductor, the AS-5 is not electrically conductive. While this is true, Arctic Silver mentions that it is still very slightly capacitive and should be kept away from electrical traces, pins, and lids. Otherwise, it could cause unwanted problems.
On the other hand, the ARCTIC MX-4 is made of carbon microparticles. The use of microparticles results in high thermal conductivity. Unlike thermal pastes based on metal oxides or liquid metal, the ARCTIC MX-4 cannot harm your electronics because it is metal-free and not electrically conductive. Due to the reduced risk of using the ARCTIC MX-4, it wins this category.
The Winner Is- ARCTIC MX-4
The main reason you are buying a thermal paste is to reduce system temperature, right? Let’s see if both can improve your thermals versus the pre-applied ones.
Arctic Silver 5
Arctic Silver advertises that the AS-5 can lower your system temperature by 3 to 12 degrees Celsius. Users found that the average temperature decrease is around 10 degrees which is impressive. According to the Air-cooled CPU benchmarks, the AS-5 records 37.7 degrees Celsius. While in the air-cooled GPU, it scores 69.5 degrees Celsius. When compared side-by-side with the performance of the ARCTIC MX-4, the AS-5 indeed performs worse. After all, the AS-5 is half the price of the MX-4 and still performs relatively great.
While ARCTIC did not mention the temperature drop the MX-4 can do, they let professional benchmarks say it for them. For an air-cooled CPU with MX-4, it performed well at 36.9 degrees Celsius. Although the temperature difference is small, it is still an amazing lower temperature, nonetheless. Furthermore, it recorded a lower temperature for air-cooled GPU at 67.5 degrees Celsius. That’s a whopping 2-degree temperature delta! As mentioned earlier, the microparticles help in high thermal conductivity. Therefore, the ARCTIC MX-4 is suitable for either overclocking purposes or otherwise. With that all said, it is a no-brainer that the ARCTIC MX-4 beats the AS-5.
The Winner Is- ARCTIC MX-4
The longevity of thermal grease is also important since it can dictate how frequently you will reapply them. For a lower quality thermal paste, you have to regularly change it to maintain its advertised temperature.
Arctic Silver 5
According to Intel, it is not necessary to replace thermal paste multiple times every few years. I recommend replacing it once a year, however. Moreover, it is a great idea to reapply it when you remove your cooler for some reason, or you see your temperatures are higher than normal. Users report that the AS-5 eventually dries out, thus proving that regular maintenance is needed. The risk of issues arising from faulty use mentioned earlier makes the AS-5 not beginner-friendly. Lastly, the AS-5 is only available in two variants: 3.5 and 12 grams and backed with 2 years warranty.
On top of its superior performance, the ARCTIC MX-4 also lasts for longer and dries slowly. Compared to AS-5’s annual reapplication, the ARCTIC MX-4 will last for 8 years once applied. This is a technical feat since there will be a significant technological advancement in that 8-year gap. Perhaps, once it dries out, you will have to entirely replace your PC since it could be outdated by then. This is exactly why ARCTIC is confident enough to place an 8-year warranty. The ARCTIC MX-4 is available in more variants: 2 / 4 / 8 / 20 / 45 grams.
The Winner Is- ARCTIC MX-4
Pros and Cons
Finally, some pros and cons of the thermal paste Arctic Silver 5 and ARCTIC MX-4 will help us determine which is the best option.
Arctic Silver 5
- The Arctic Silver 5 is made of 99.9% pure silver; thus, it has great thermal conductivity.
- Although it has inferior thermal performance, it is still a great buy since it cost half as cheap as the MX-4.
- It is backed with a relatively long warranty.
- You will have to deal with the risk of a short circuit that comes with applying the AS-5.
- The ARCTIC MX-4 is metal-free and not electrically conductive, thus there is no danger of frying your PC components.
- Due to its superior performance, its 2-degree temperature difference makes the MX-4 more suited for overclocking.
- You do not have to reapply thermal grease regularly because it can last up to 8 years.
- Although it is better in every category, it costs more than AS-5.
The Final Verdict
Skimping on a great thermal paste can shorten the lifespan of your computer. Tests have proved that computers that are in constant high temperatures will die quicker than others. Thus, you should consider buying a high-quality thermal compound with the utmost importance. In this comparison, it is apparent that the ARCTIC MX-4 is superior in all categories. Considering its higher price tag, it still has a great value proposition since it does not come with any risks. If you are on a tight budget, however, you could still go for the AS-5, but you should take caution in applying it.
What a Real User Thinks
George Plummer – Colorado Springs, CO
Comparing Arctic Silver 5 and MX4 is useful due to the fact that contemporary CPUs typically give off plenty of heat throughout both typical and extensive jobs. That’s why you require the very best tools, equipment, and latest accessories to soothe them and ensure that your rig keeps running efficiently.
Regardless of how you use your computer, these two items on review present the chance for you to provide your CPU and processor the cover they need. Keep reading to find what our experts found out about both devices after putting them to the test!
We need to likewise mention that there are lots of thermal pastes on the marketplace, which have the job of reducing the temperature of your computer system by more than a few degrees. Degrees here sound little, however even if you’re not an ardent player and lover, you may understand that a small change in temperature level can make a world of difference.
Possibly, you have an old thermal tube in your collection you haven’t utilized in a long while. You ‘d best check it now, because they have a life span of only three years, and it would not be wise to utilize a stagnant or older paste.
When it’s older than the recommended duration of use, the paste will start to deteriorate. It is cheap insurance to use fresh product. These 2 thermal alternatives are from a confirmed source, and our evaluation assists you select between the two.
Arctic Silver 5
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste has a thick texture, which is obvious once you squeeze some from the tube. The paste contains 99.9 percent pure micronized silver and does not conduct electricity. It does a good job for quite a long time.
The Silver 5 is also among the best thermal pastes and fits a large range of systems, no matter the coverage location. That is since it has a more extensive fan base than some other thermal choices.
Materials: Effective and Safe to Use
The Silver 5 has quality products and properties to enhance its efficiency in your computer. To that end, it consists of over 88 percent of thermally conductive filler by weight. It uses mostly micronized silver, and is supplemented by aluminum oxide, micron zinc oxide and boron nitride particles.
Performance: Efficient Cooling
You’ll see that it has a high-density filling of micronized silver and boosted thermally conductive ceramic particles if you use Arctic Silver 5. As such, it offers a new level of efficiency and stability for your CPU.
There’s a bonus offer tool consisted of in the bundle, which comes in handy to keep your hands dry and tidy.
We like that the paste is composed of several elements along with ceramic particles to develop a durable and high-performance design. Parts of the structure of aluminum oxide, boron nitride and zinc oxide service will provide lower load temperatures than you’ll obtain from basic substances.
Coverage Area: Covers a Wide Spot
According to the producer, the coverage location of the syringe will cover a minimum of six to ten large CPU cores or 15 to 25 small ones. That is roughly equivalent to two to five heat plates.
Applying a layer that’s 0.003 ″ thick, the 0.12 ounces syringe will cover approximately 16 square inches from one tub.
In addition to that, users get 3 to 2 degrees Celcius lower CPU complete load core temperature levels. That’s more than standard thermal pads or thermal substances. When measured with an adjusted thermal diode embedded in the CPU core, that’s the case.
A disadvantage that seems to follow this thermal paste is that it frequently needs treating before accomplishing the very best temperature levels. It might take a prospective 200 hours and a number of thermal cycles to achieve optimum particle to particle thermal conduction, and treating is needed to do that.
Arctic Silver MX-4
Even beginners will find the Arctic Silver MX-4 simple to apply.
What’s more, it does not include any metal particles for electrical insulation. It is a newcomer to the world of thermal pastes, however, it’s getting lots of attention.
Materials: Infused With Quality
The Arctic MX-4 is devoid of metallic particles, so if there’s a spill on your board, no harm will be done. It can it come in contact with every pin on your CPU, and no harm will be done, just clean up the excess.
The carbon microparticles in Arctic MX-4 ensure an extremely excellent thermal conductivity. Accordingly, the heat from the CPU/GPU is dissipated rapidly and effectively.
Performance: Will Last a While
We like that the Arctic MX4 efficiency is constructed to last in time. According to Arctic brands, you don’t need to reapply for up to 8 years.
The 0.64-ounce tube supplies adequate thermal paste for multiple applications. Its low rack life indicates you shouldn’t hold on to additional paste after using it to your cooler.
This one is worth thinking about if you desire a thermal paste that requires no curing. Also, our Arctic MX-4 evaluation shows that it won’t compromise over time, and you will not require to reapply for a minimum of 8 years.
The main distinction between Arctic Silver 5 and MX4 is, MX4 is straightforward and safe to set up and use with better efficiency while Arctic Silver 5 functions thermal conductivity.
The Arctic Silver 5 thermal conductivity is among the key reasons why it’s in demand. “power users” will be able to use it on several devices.
You also get efficient cooling for a huge number of surfaces prior to the tube being tired. It’s an oil-based paste that is much better than what you’ll find in less costly thermal pastes.
Nevertheless, we choose the lasting power used by the MX4, and it is frequently the first consideration of lots of here. It’s uncomplicated and safe to apply and set up.
What’s more, it’s designed to last for 8 years, which exceeds the useful life of most CPUs. It’s not as capable for several CPUs, but it will complete 2 processors and still have leftovers. In addition to its much better efficiency, it’s reliable and fairly low-cost.
Thermal Paste: Mini Buying Guide
Whether you go with the MX4 thermal paste or something else, you want to check for certain features. Here are some of them:
Viscosity and Ease of Application
A threat to keep an eye out for with thermal pastes is electrical conductivity. Apart from that, some pastes are more tough to use than others.
Viscosity is important, and you should understand it prior to purchasing a thermal paste. The paste you choose should not be too thick to use, but if it has enough viscosity, you’d have minor problems using it.
Quality of Paste
The Arctic MX-4 thermal compound paste has adequate quality to keep you opting for about eight years. It provides a standard. That’s why any thermal paste should not be installed regularly.
It lacks adequate quality if you have to reapply it all the time. The length of time it serves your computer is also a great sign of a thermal paste’s quality.
It’s challenging for a possible consumer not to ask about the number of years it will last when you’re browsing for the perfect quality thermal paste to use.