Gelid says its new thermal pad beats thermal paste in performance, durability, and ease of application

Gelid HeatPhase Ultra
(Image credit: Gelid)

Hong Kong-based PC cases and cooling specialist Gelid has launched a new thermal pad product dubbed HeatPhase Ultra. As hinted at by the name, the company claims this thermal pad uses a phase-change material and offers the ultimate in thermal transfer efficiency between a processor and cooling block. Gelid has a lot of big claims for its HeatPhase Ultra, which it says is easier to apply, offers improved durability, and delivers better performance than traditional thermal pastes. 

It's difficult to understand how the HeatPhase Ultra thermal pad we see in the product images is a phase change material (PCM). According to our normal understanding of a PCM, it enjoys a very high latent heat capacity, which is absorbed or released when the material’s phase changes. A phase change might be from gas to liquid, from liquid to solid, or vice versa. How that works with this quite normal-looking pad, which claims to be “ultra-durable and non-curing… [and] no-bleeding,” is difficult to fathom from the product pages alone.

(Image credit: Gelid)

Moving along to other claims by Gelid, there's the HeatPhase Ultra's performance. Gelid has provided a performance chart, embedded below, which it says shows how well the HeatPhase Ultra thermal pad performs in direct comparison to a traditional thermal pad, and Gelid’s own GC Extreme thermal paste.

(Image credit: Gelid)

We have some experience with GC Extreme and it was the runner-up in the hotly contested best budget thermal paste category in our Best Thermal Paste for CPUs 2023 feature, which assessed 90 pastes.

In Gelid's testing with an AMD 7950X, the HeatPhase Ultra pad kept the CPU about 2 degrees Celsius cooler under load compared to GC Extreme paste (79 degrees Celsius). We think those results are actually very close and probably within the margin of error, but if HeatPhase Ultra is instead just an equal performer to GC Extreme, it is still a very valid alternative for the reasons outlined below.

Thermal pads can have inherent properties that are preferable to pastes. Gelid says the HeatPhase Ultra is effortless to apply or remove. Some images show a protective film being removed once the pad is in place on the cooler heatsink. Other thermal pad niceties such as a guaranteed evenness of application remain true here. Gelid also claims its new product is ultra-durable, with a long life during which it won’t cure, harden, or otherwise degrade. Moreover, the non-electrical conductive material is said to stay in place without spreading under pressure.

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HeatPhase Ultra specs

Density:

2.8+-0.2 g.cm³

Dimension:

40 x 40 x 0.2 mm (AMD-Version), 40 x 30 x 0.2 mm (Intel-Version)

Operating Temperature Range:

-50~125 ℃

Phase Transition Temperature:

45 ℃

Thermal Conductivity:

8.5 W/mk

Volume Resistivity:

1.0x10¹² Ω.cm

Gelid is now selling HeatPhase Ultra thermal pads pre-cut for modern Intel or AMD processors. In the table above you can see the pad dimensions for either CPU brand. The AMD pad costs $10, and the slightly smaller Intel pad is $9.50. It seems like you only get one pad for the price, but we’d still like to give this a test in the labs and see how it stacks up.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.