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Arctic MX-6 Thermal Grease to Replace Storied MX-5

Arctic
(Image credit: @momomo_us/Twitter)

Update 09/22/2022 3:00 pm PT

Amazon Germany has listed the Arctic MX-6 for a whopping price of €28.75 (opens in new tab) ($23.76 without VAT) per 4 grams.

Original Article

Arctic's MX-series thermal compounds are among the most popular, among PC builders, and the company's MX-5 is widely considered the best thermal grease that it produces. But earlier this week MX-5 status was changed to end-of-life at the company's website (as discovered by @momomo_us) as apparently it is readying all-new MX-6 thermal paste.  

The biggest surprise is that Arctic discontinues its MX-5 just about 1.5 years after its launch in early 2021 and weeks before AMD and Intel are set to start selling their Ryzen 7000-series 'Raphael' and 13th Generation Core 'Raptor Lake' processors with increased maximum processor power. Yet, two images of the Arctic MX-6 packages posted by @momomo_us, a high-tech leaker with a good reputation, indicate that the new thermal grease is incoming. 

Arctic's MX-5 thermal grease is comprised of aluminum oxide, aluminum powder, aluminum nitride, polydimethylsiloxane, magnesium oxide and boron nitride. The paste consists microparticles which fill cavities on the surface of CPU heat spreaders as well as cooler bases. Thermal conductivity of the MX-5 is 8.5 W/m-K and it has a temperature range between -40 and 180 degrees Celsius, which essentially means that it's not designed for extreme overclocking. It has a viscosity of 550 pascal seconds, which is below that of MX-4, but it is still easy to apply. 

(Image credit: @momomo_us/Twitter)

Arctic introduced its MX-5 in 2021, but its thermal conductivity did not change from MX-4 launched in 2019. While 8.5 W/m-K is not bad compared to cheap and mainstream thermal greases, it is considerably below thermal conductivity of market leaders like Thermal Grizzly's Kryonaut and Kryonaut Extreme that are designed with extreme overclockers in mind. In general, the MX-5 shoed very good performance under normal conditions, according to our rating of the best thermal pastes for CPUs around, but it looks like Arctic has something better, which is why it replaces the MX-5 while keeping the MX-4 afloat. 

Arctic's MX-5 did not replace the MX-4 and the two pastes continued to co-exist up until recently, even though the new one often performed better than its predecessor. By contrast, the MX-6 actually replaces the MX-5. 

We don't yet know exactly what to expect from  MX-6, but our hunch tell us that this will be a yet another all-around performer from Arctic, but perhaps designed to better suit the upcoming CPUs from AMD and Intel. In any case, the new thermal grease should be available shortly, so we are going to find out soon enough.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • jayjr1105
    Really liked MX-5. Wonder what the deal was that they canned it after only 1.5 years.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    If MX-6 turns out to be superior while maintaining the same longevity, then I won't begrudge Artic Cooling for getting rid of MX-4 as well.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    My guess would be the continued confusion with Artic Silver 5.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    MX-7 will be even better 😱 :ROFLMAO:
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    jayjr1105 said:
    Really liked MX-5. Wonder what the deal was that they canned it after only 1.5 years.
    Eximo said:
    My guess would be the continued confusion with Artic Silver 5.
    Quality, believe it or not: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/arctic-identifies-bad-batch-of-mx-5-tim-in-the-market-offers-free-replacements.291072/
    Reply
  • thestryker
    I ordered mine right when it was first announced, but the next run had some QC issues as mentioned above. I think the thickness of the MX-5 may have also been an issue as well. I bought the container which came with a little spreader spatula and used it every time I've applied MX-5 because of the viscosity.
    Reply
  • Rdslw
    Phaaze88 said:
    Quality, believe it or not: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/arctic-identifies-bad-batch-of-mx-5-tim-in-the-market-offers-free-replacements.291072/
    Yup, there is something unstable in the process of making MX5 it's great if it goes well, but they don't seem to control it well, (it seems you might get unlucky, and it will dry soon. ) Not good for both their reputation and us clients.

    This should mean it's either more consistent, or they are preparing for 300W monsters (maybe it will survive longer in 90-105'C range or similar change)
    ps. my laptop still rides on MX4 and performs.
    Reply
  • jayjr1105
    Eximo said:
    My guess would be the continued confusion with Artic Silver 5.
    That actually makes a lot of sense. It's mind boggling people still buy AS5.
    Reply
  • JoBalz
    I normally keep up with changes in the TIM market, but I was completely unaware of MX-5. During the short time it was on the market, I've changed motherboards and coolers several times. I've used MX-4 several times and it did a good job for my needs. From what I've read in several articles, it was probably just as well that I missed it! Hopefully MX-6 will get rid of the problems it's predecessor had as well as improves in moving heat away from the CPU, considering the new CPUs from AMD and Intel could heat a room in winter.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    If MX-6 turns out to be superior while maintaining the same longevity, then I won't begrude Artic Cooling for getting rid of MX-4 as well.
    Yeah I have a few machines running MX-4, with the oldest being almost 10 years old. Not overclocked, but still a 130 W TDP and temps have stayed pretty consistent the whole time.

    At one time, I couldn't find my MX-4 and ordered another tube. So, I still have one that's unopened!
    :oops:
    Reply