Thermal Paste Comparison, Part Two: 39 Products Get Tested

Pastes: Coollaboratory

Coollaboratory Liquid Pro

This is the grandfather of liquid metal compounds, and it still holds the record for thermal conductivity. Unfortunately, it also requires the greatest degree of skill to apply. Only experienced, gutsy professionals should use it, and even then, it's both expensive and difficult to remove. Liquid Pro cannot be used with aluminum heat sinks, but can be used with copper- and nickel-plated ones.

Coollaboratory Liquid Pro
Thermal Conductivity82.0 W/(m*K)
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
30.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
32.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
33.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU CoolingNot Measured
Electrically ConductiveYes
Viscosity1 (Liquid)
Ease of Use1 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThis product demands meticulous workmanship, and we'd recommend purchasing the optional cleaning kit. For experts only!
Price (approximate)$14

Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra

This latest offering from Coollaboratory is somewhat easier to use than its predecessor. But that only means it's a little easier to apply than Liquid Pro. Its thermal attributes aren't quite as good as a result of the different composition. However, Liquid Ultra is still better than any conventional paste. At the end of the day, you'll have to decide if one or two degrees of improved cooling performance is worth the effort and risk. Again, you cannot use this stuff with aluminum heat sinks, though it is compatible with copper- and nickel-plated ones.

Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
Thermal Conductivity38.4 W/(m*K)
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
30.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
33.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
34.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU CoolingNot Measured
Electrically ConductiveYes
Viscosity1 (Liquid)
Ease of Use2 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsThis product demands meticulous workmanship, and we'd recommend purchasing the optional cleaning kit. For experts only!
Price (approximate)$14

Coollaboratory Liquid MetalPad

While these pads can be handled and cut to size easily, the devil is in the details. During burn-in, you have to ensure that the Tcase temperature reaches at least 140 °F, which equates to a Tcore of about 80 °C (176 °F). Some AMD CPUs throttle back at 140 °F, and even our FX-8350 had a hard time holding the required temperature long enough for a successful burn-in. Older AMD processors may be on the brink of meltdown at 140 °F. Without a successful burn-in, however, this product's thermal conductivity is worse than the cheapest paste. It took disconnecting all of my fans to burn the pads in. Naturally, doing this involves some risk.

Coollaboratory Liquid MetalPad
Thermal Conductivity10.0 W/(m*K)
CPU Water Cooling, High Pressure
31.5 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, High Pressure
35.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
CPU Air Cooling, Low Pressure
35.5 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
GPU Cooling62.0 ΔT (22 °C ambient)
Electrically ConductiveYes
ViscosityN/A
Ease of Use3 (1-10, higher numbers mean easier to use)
Application HintsMake sure that the pad reaches 140 °F for the burn-in to work. Thus, not suitable for water coolers and AMD CPUs.
Price (approximate)$8 (for one CPU pad)

Coollaboratory Liquid Cleaning Set

High prices and tedious clean-up make Coollaboratory's products very hard for the newbie to use. They're great for experts who want to leave zero overclocking headroom unexploited, though you'll probably find this cleaning kit necessary.

Coollaboratory Liquid Cleaning Set
Application HintsIndispensable, if you ever want to remove Coollaboratory liquid metal products from your CPU or heat sink.
Price (approximate)N/A
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143 comments
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  • rolli59
    As good as the first part!
  • dragonfang18
    I loved the toothpaste part. What about Vicks Vaporub? I wonder how that thing would do.
  • Azn Cracker
    Yeaaaa! nice in depth article. Disappointed that cheese was not use as a paste :(
  • ledpellet
    Can you test Antec Formula 7 NANO DIAMOND Thermal Compound?
  • TehDudeMan
    Great article guys! As a reader for over 10 years pretty much daily, this reminds me of the old Tom's Hardware. These type of in depth articles on enthusiast products are what I love.
  • Matt Edwards
    A great article, agree the application of the compound, not the compound itself is most important.

    Like ledpellet I too am curious about these diamond compounds. Wonder if it offers similar results to the Coollaboratory products with an easier application, or if the results simply don't justify the price. E.g in Australia, Innovation Cooling IC7 Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound Paste - 1.5G can be found for as much as $25. The cheapest I have managed to find it for is $15. For that price it would want to be good considering the leading GELID GC Extreme, can be found for around $8.
  • TerranTerrance
    Adding Ceramique would be greatly appreciated!
  • danwat1234
    Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra isn't all that good after a year of hard use. In fact, it completely hardens / dries. On my X9100 after 9 months of nearly 24/7 100% load, I started seeing high temps and after 1 year auto shut downs while crunching. Turns out it was shutting off because it hit the 105 C thermal protection.
    Opened it up; thermal compound was as hard as a rock. has to pocket knife blade and sand it down.
    So for longevity it sucks. That is something to consider, not just initial performance, but performance months and years down the road. Especially for laptops that aren't designed to be opened up frequently for repasting.

    After trying Liquid Ultra many times and having it fail on me, I've put on Arctic MX-2 that has a supposed 8 year durability rating. Initial performance is great, we'll see how it lasts (been 3 weeks so far).
  • slomo4sho
    CLU and Arctic MX-4 are both great products. MX-2 and MX-4 can often be found free after rebate so they are an exceptional value.
  • CaptainTom
    More things like this! Articles like this will keep me here more often!
  • John Goodman
    Was really hoping you'd test IC Diamond, since that's what I've always used. Bummer.
  • stickmansam
    You could do a giveaway for the thermal pastes :P and include Canada this time :)
  • iam2thecrowe
    would have liked to see a test without thermal compound. Have used noctua nt-h1 for ages now, no curing time sells it for me.
  • All the hype aside, could Tom's include an actual industrial "Silicone Heat Transfer Compound", such as the one by MG Chemicals :http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/greases-and-lubricants/thermal-greases/silicone-heat-transfer-compound-860/, any of the future comparisons. If this stuff is good to use in mass industrial applications, how can it not be any better then let's say AS5.

    Plus, AS5 can short out your mobo if some of it gets on the PCB and it costs 10 times as much as the industrial stuff and I don't think it is 10 times better.
  • yannigr
    The good old Ceramique should have been in the list. Nevertheless nice article. Disappointed with the tooth paste. Expecting more from it.
  • rwinches
    Coollaboratory Liquid MetalPad sounds ideal.
    Might there be a way to achieve proper bond by heating the pad as well as getting the cpu hot?
    I guessing this would be most ideal for GPUs though, as they want to get very hot.
  • milktea
    Great article!

    BTW, is the Cooler Master Extreme Fusion X1 available in the USA?
  • PreferLinux
    It would have been nice to see the stock thermal paste on the Intel cooler too...
  • HazardManiac
    I just ordered the liquid pro and I'm already starting to regret it...
  • Technoart
    You guys should see how big tube of thermal paste and how big is the thermal tape that are available inside AMD. All of this product are obsolete.
  • dish_moose
    Nice article ... one small boo-boo "leaning toward the software compounds." on page 21 should be softer.
    -Bruce
  • Technoart
    Standard thermal paste is good enough to conduct heat but buy high aluminum or silver content based thermal paste will serve your HSF and CPU coolly. I'm talking about industrial grade thermal compound. Try to get one from the manufacturers. 3rd Party based like CM, Arctic Silver and more still not good enough for our HSF and CPU. This is because when your CPU heat up so fast and cool down rapidly, your thermal compound may degrade fast until you thermal compound is flow to the sides of your CPU's IHS.
  • Technoart
    Also can try propanediol although is liquid but good for CPU benchmarking for setup in testbench mode.
  • BigMack70
    FANTASTIC article! Extremely informative and helpful, especially for newbies or anyone like me who hadn't ever seen the liquid metal compounds in action before.

    I'm personally partial to Noctua's NT-H1... I've gotten pretty nice results with it, and I love how easy it is to use compared to other compounds I've had. Might try the Gelid GC extreme at some point in the future when I run out of Noctua's NT-H1, though.

    Also, a big +1 for the lulz of using toothpaste and denture adhesive :lol: