Thermal Paste Comparison, Part Two: 39 Products Get Tested

Pastes: Gelid Solutions, Noctua, And Phanteks

Gelid Solutions GC-2

We're going to start with Gelid's most budget-oriented solution. Its thermal results are respectable, landing it in the vicinity of Arctic's MX-2, MX-4, and Arctic Silver 5. But it's also noticeably thicker, making it harder to manipulate at room temperature. Nevertheless, this is a solid product that sells for less than $1/g, making it the price/performance leader.

Gelid Solutions GC-2
Thermal Conductivity3.8 W/(m*K)
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
32.7 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
36.5 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
37.7 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU Cooling66.5 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
Electrically ConductiveNo
Viscosity6 (1-10, lower numbers mean easier to use)
Ease of Use4 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThe paste can be spread more easily if you warm it to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit in a pot of water, sealed in a water-tight pouch.
Price (approximate)$6.50 (7 grams)

Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme

GC-Extreme is the best thermal paste in our round-up, maintaining a slim lead over the runner-up as long as you're using a heat sink with high mounting pressure. If this compound was a little softer, it'd be even more ideal and wouldn't require warming before application. Heating it up a bit does pay off though, and we recommend it for overclockers and enthusiasts. Due to its high viscosity, it's perhaps less ideal for beginners.

Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme
Thermal Conductivity8.5 W/(m*K)
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
31.8 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
35.3 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
36.7 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU Cooling65.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
Electrically ConductiveNo
Viscosity6 (1-10, lower numbers mean easier to use)
Ease of Use5 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThe paste can be spread more easily if you warm it to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit in a pot of water, sealed in a water-tight pouch.
Price (approximate)$11 (3.5 g)

Noctua NT-H1

This paste is almost a classic by now, and it still gets widely recommended. Rightfully so? Our testing reveals that its price/performance ratio is almost as good as Gelid Solution's GC-2, and its thermal parameters are even better. Noctua's solution ends up in the upper mid-range of our contenders, and a low price makes it hard to pass up unless you're a hardcore overclocker.

Noctua NT-H1
Thermal ConductivityData not available
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
32.2 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
36.1 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
37.1 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU Cooling68.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
Electrically ConductiveNo
Viscosity4 (1-10, lower numbers mean easier to use)
Ease of Use8 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThe paste can be spread more easily if you warm it to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit in a pot of water, sealed in a water-tight pouch.
Price (approximate)$6

Phanteks TH-NDC (Paste Bundled With Phanteks Coolers)

The paste that Phanteks includes with its heat sinks contains nano particles of diamond, approaches the thermal performance of Gelid's GC-Extreme, and can be applied as easily, if not more so. It is somewhat similar to Cooler Master's Extreme Fusion X1, but can be applied even by novices. A big shout-out to Phanteks for bundling TH-NDC with its coolers.

Phanteks TH-NDC (Paste Bundled With Phanteks Coolers)
Thermal ConductivityData not available
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
32.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
35.6 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
37.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU Cooling65.5 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
Electrically ConductiveNo
Viscosity4 (1-10, lower numbers mean easier to use)
Ease of Use6 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThe paste can be spread more easily if you warm it to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit in a pot of water, sealed in a water-tight pouch.
Price (approximate)N/A