The cooling experts at Noctua have announced a new product designed to prevent accumulations of thermal paste in the nooks and crannies of AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 series ‘Raphael’ processors. Noctua’s NA-TPG1 works simply enough, functioning as a barrier, hugging the contours of the AM5 processor with its precisely cut from polycarbonate form. It is designed as a physical barrier to any errant thermal paste which may emerge when a CPU cooler is installed.
AMD’s latest AM5 socket processors certainly are easy to distinguish with their eight thick legs, but PC enthusiasts and DIYers are worried about thermal paste squeezing out and getting stuck in the crevices when a cooler is strapped on. We know of no particular issues a little bit of non-conductive thermal paste might cause other than it looking somewhat unsightly. Nevertheless, a tidy and clean PC build is always preferred.
The Noctua NA-TPG1 is made of “highly heat-resistant polycarbonate,” according to the cooling accessory maker. In addition, its “tight seal” around the irregularly shaped Ryzen 7000 heatspreader should ensure no leakage.
As users may swap and repaste their CPUs and coolers from time to time, Noctua’s standard NA-TPG1 offering comes with a ten-pack of NA-CW1 cleaning wipes. In addition, there are two different SKUs; one with a bundled tube of NT-H1 thermal paste and another with a tube of NT-H2 thermal paste. If in doubt, Noctua published a guide to applying thermal paste to one of AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 CPUs in late August.
Noctua says the above-mentioned product combos will become available in December. This is pretty quick for the Austrian firm, which is well known for delaying products on its roadmap for years. The SKUs and pricing are listed below:
- NA-TPG1 thermal paste guard: EUR/USD 7.90
- NA-TPG1 with NT-H1 3.5g AM5 Edition: EUR/USD 9.90
- NA-TPG1 with NT-H2 3.5g AM5 Edition: EUR/USD 13.90
For further information about thermal paste choice, and our evaluation of Noctua formulations, please check out our Best Thermal Paste for CPUs 2022 guide, which considers more than 90 brands/formulations.
Igor’s DIY solution
The worry of thermal paste getting where it shouldn’t on AM5 platforms was enough for Tom’s Hardware Germany alumni Igor Wallossek to write a page about preventing the issue in a DIY manner. If you follow the link you will read and see photos of Wallossek’s painstaking process of cutting and applying electrical insulation tape – for the same result of using a NA-TPG1, but instead using some materials you might already have at home.
Thermal paste is going to be way easier to clean off than the rubbery gummy mess that the tape will turn into when it rots, which will take about 5 minutes at CPU temperatures.
Not that I think it's even a real problem if a non-conductive thermal paste overflows a little bit.
Prove me wrong.
But I understand that they had to do it for "Manufacturibility" reasons.
That being said, I hope Zen 5 has a new IHS design that isn't nearly as ugly and problematic.
I hope they fill out those cut-outs and offer a more standard design that won't let ThermalPaste spillover and potentially touch any of the SMD capacitors/resistors or contact pads.
Igor's been around the block for a couple of decades. And while he may not be downright lovable, he's ackknowledged for being generally extra thorough.
I don't know how Austrian Noctua and German Igor got put in the same boat, but when it comes to quality, it's more than a little likely they share a mindset, that might be explained by geographical proximity.
As far as the spider design is concerned, it most likely is anything but 'stupid'. Again, it's appearance may not be everyone's favorite, but 'de gustibus non est disputandum' was a bonmot already among the Romans for a reason.
It's most certainly the maximum number of contacts per substrate area, implying the maximum of I/O and power to fit into a surface constraint. Sacrificing esthetics for that in a context where even in these days of RGB exhibitionism nobody will ever really look after assembly, seems very smart and reasonable to me, especially if there are no real downsides with non-conductive pastes.
Perhaps someone will come up with ways to fill the space between the spider legs with something colorful or even blinking and all of a sudden this 'brainy' design will become iconic, but in the meantime I'll simply run with the basic assumption that AMD's leading engineers and CEO are not stupid.
Like most everyone else I don't think of myself as above average stupid, but I'll conceed that Lisa & friends may have a few more insights than I.
The only one with any real motive to question his attitude should be you.
(For those that don't know, Dr. Thomas Pabst founded Tom's Hardware)