My history with Arctic Cooling thermal pastes…
Arctic Cooling is a company that brought aftermarket thermal paste for the masses. I remember when I had socket 478 Northwood Pentium 4 CPU I read in a magazine about the Arctic Silver 5- the first good quality thermal paste we could buy. Eventually, I got one when I built my first AMD Athlon 3000+ system and eventually the Opteron 165 CPU.
Arctic Cooling Silver 5 and eventually the MX-4 was the default choice for thermal pastes mostly because it was available everywhere at a reasonable price. Every enthusiast had one. Even if CPU coolers back then came with goo in a small pouch, these were the preferred choice. The Silver 5 was a conductive thermal paste, while the MX-2 was the enthusiast first chance to get a non-conductive thermal paste and also it practically did not have a curing time. Because of which a lot of people adopter pea and line application method easier than they would. I don’t remember all of the series of events, but that’s the basic story you’d get to see here in India.
Arctic Cooling’s Current Offerings
Arctic Cooling makes both the MX-2 and the MX-4. The Arctic Cooling MX-5 is launched co-incidentally at the time this review is up. Even though they’ve been long-running products, its pretty obvious improvements in composition and mixing technique would evolve in time. Companies don’t reveal their ingredients, composition and mixing methods. Nobody does. All we know is Arctic Cooling MX-4 uses carbon microparticles and claims to provide an extremely high thermal conductivity for effective heat dissipation and act as micro fillings and imperfections on the IHS. No matter how good your CPU cooler is, you should use a good thermal paste for effective dissipation. But Arctic Cooling recommends this not such for CPUs and GPUs for overclockers and enthusiasts, but also anything which would require a thermal paste for dissipation.
Buy what you need
The other attractive element of the Arctic Cooling is the four sizes- from 4gms to 45 gms. You buy how much you want. Arctic Cooling gave me a 4gms syringe. Even for an enthusiast with 1-2 systems with LGA sized CPU, this syringe will be with me for a long time and will be used in many, many future upgrades before its empty. I didn’t finish my Arctic Silver 5. I didn’t finish the 8g MX2- still two dots away. 4-8gms is plenty for an end-user. If you need more, there are larger syringes ideal for power users with multiple systems and system integrators.
Packaging and Content
There’s really nothing to say here. Arctic Cooling MX-4 thermal paste comes in a resealable pouch. It comes with all the helpful information on the front and back of the pouch. Arctic Cooling is the only thermal paste manufacturer that has a cut-out on the syringe’s label to act as a level to know if it is going to be over anytime soon. I think Arctic Cooling Ceramique had it. MX-2 and MX-4 have it as you can see above.
The Arctic Cooling MX-4 4g pack also comes with a spatula for spreading the thermal paste. But the paste is smooth enough to spread on its own once the CPU cooler is installed. Arctic Cooling also states that unlike metal and silicone thermal paste, the carbon microparticles based MX-4 has a lifespan of up to 8 years once applied. Naturally, a syringe will last a very long time and ready to use as long as you store it at room temperature and dry environment.
|Thermal Conductivity||8.5 W/mK|
|Volume Resistivity||3.8 x 10³ Ω-cm|
|Net Weight||2g/ 4g/ 8g /20g /45g|
There’s so much an end-user can learn from a thermal paste’s specification since its performance and durability depends on its ingredients, composition and mixture technique. But the density of the Arctic Cooling is a bit higher than the Noctua NT-1 viz. 2,49 g/cm³.