With the huge emergence of the heatsinks, a good thermal interface material is needed between that heatsink and your CPU. There used to be just the normal pads, which worked on stock systems quite well back in the days. With the introduction of faster CPUs and larger heatsinks, the interface material has been focused as of late primarily on the thermal material in paste form.
One of the premier thermal interface materials (TIMs) that we have used throughout most of our testing is the Arctic Silver Thermal Paste. Long standing as the thermal paste to use in all your heatsink solutions, they have evolved to a second version, ASII. Some companies have stepped up the plate to tried tooverthrow the quality that they have created in their thermal material, but none have really claimed the throne from them.
A few weeks ago, a company out in upstate New York (yea, my state!) shot me an email about a TIM that they were creating that may rival the AS. This company called ESG Associates have been brewing what they believe is the new thermal paste to beat. We'll see if what they have created can lead the heatsink cooling public to the next level.
The two syringes they sent over are identical although one is labeled Ice and the other Blue. They are both the same material, but the Blue version contains special blue ceramic pigment added to it. It is simply a cosmetic thing to promote the idea of being 'cool' blue.
According to ESG, here is the low down on what they have created:
"Nanotherm Ice and Nanotherm Blue are unique, new "Nanocomposite" Thermal Interface Compounds comprised of high-tech ceramic "Nano" and Thermally Conductive fillers compounded into a special high pressure, high temperature non-silicone based carrier matrix."
Some key benefits of this new compound:
- Cost-Effective, High Performance Thermal Interface Material
- High Thermal Conductivity
- Low Thermal Resistance
- High Temperature Resistance
- Electrically Insulative
- High Pressure Resistance
- Chemically Inert
- Invisible to Microwave Radiation
- Fills Micropores & Grooves on Contact Surfaces
- Excellent Barrier Properties to Oxygen and Moisture
- Thick, Viscous, Sticky Consistency
- Does not Separate, Leech or Dry Out
- Spreads Smoothly & Evenly in Thin Layers
- Fast, Easy Cleanup - No Mess
The tube that ESG sent us was the 0.5gm flavor, larger sizes are available and should be arriving at your favorite online shops soon.
I smeared the Nanotherm Ice, Nanotherm Blue and Arctic Silver II onto a hard plastic surface. I was curious as to the feel and touch of the compound. From initial impressions, the Ice and Blue compound was a little tighter and stickier than ASII. ASII created a more smoother and greasier layer as opposed to the Nanotherm.
I used my Duron 700 as a temporary test bed to see how the compounds felt when applied to an actual CPU. I'll actually be using my AMD 800Mhz TBird to do the temperature testings, but appearance wise this Duron is a lot more appealing : )
The Nanotherm is a lot thicker and applying it was not too hard. I used an edge off of an old credit card to smooth out the rest on top of the CPU slug. I also removed it using just a plain napkin and I noticed the Nanotherm does not smear and stain as much as ASII. A good thing considering the smearing caused by ASII creates a rather ugly silver spot.