Disclosure: The NT-H2 thermal paste is sent by Noctua for review purposes
The Noctua NT-H2 is the Austrian based PC cooling company’s second thermal paste. The NT-H1 is a pretty good thermal paste that’s sold via retail and bundled with its Noctua CPU coolers. The first time I’ve got my hands on one was with the NH-U12PSE2 during the pre-BBQ days. They have been consistently good, tried and tested thermal paste. So you will have high expectations for the NT-H2, even though Noctua set realistic expectations from the start.
Expectations: NT-H1 and NT-H2
The Noctua NT-H2 doesn’t seem to be making an impression this will replace the NT-H1 anytime soon. But the NT-H1 is doing pretty good for now even with new CPUs and CPU coolers, both for air and liquid cooler. Same for GPU application. In the US, the NT-H2 cost a bit more than the NT-H1. So in long term, it makes sense to purchase one keeping in mind that it will be a while to finish a 3.5g syringe. But in comparison, the pricing in India is twice the price of NT-H1.
Noctua set the expectation that depending on the setup, application and installation process, showing the difference between NT-H1 and NT-H2 would be tricky. The company in-house testing shows that visible difference in performs between the two starts with something like a Ryzen 7 2700X which would consume 125w on load. It also shows more difference between the large IHS.
Regardless, as an enthusiast, you can’t help but appreciate the company’s transparency and honesty with its users. You’ll only expect this level of dedication and detail from a high-performance purpose-specific component maker.
Packaging and Contents
You wouldn’t expect a lot of packaging for a thermal paste in a syringe but here we are. Then again, it makes sense for storage purposes. Arctic Cooling MX-2 is a syringe and a spatula in a resealable bag. Others provide in a box like a travel size toothpaste. Not surprisingly, it is a Noctua!
The packaging mentions these are made in Taiwan.
The NA-CW1 wipes are provided with both the NT-H1 and NT-H2 thermal pastes. At first, I thought these are alcohol wipes but it uses a custom detergent mixture. You will notice some wipe patches on the IHS after using the CW-1 but Noctua assures this has no impact on the IHS or cooling. Until I’ve seen the patches, I assumed these are alcohol wipes. But the cooling company didn’t say anything specific- just like the thermal paste. Thermal paste ingredients are usually a closely guarded secret. But the composition, mixing method, viscosity and other elements factors in. All the more you want to buy one good thermal paste.
A single size 15x 12cm wipe is more than enough to clean a single mainstream AM4 and LGA 115x CPUs (though LGA IHS are much smaller). But anything bigger, especially larger AMD TR4 sockets, is a good size since you’ll clean both the CPU cooler and the IHS. The pre-included wipes are as appreciated as the inclusion of 3.5g in every Noctua CPU cooler. But make sure you use these immediately shortly after opening the sachet.
|Recommended storage time
|up to 3 years|
|Recommended usage time
(on the CPU)
|up to 5 years|
|Recommended storage temperature||room temperature|
|Operating temperature||-50 to 200°C|
|Scope of delivery||3x NA-CW1 wipes||10x NA-CW1 wipes|
A thermal paste’s specification is usually vaguely helpful, apart from the product’s recommended/ estimated lifespan. But the NT-H1 has 2.49 g/cm³ while the NT-H2 has 2.81 g/cm³. The maximum temperature rating on the NT-H2 is on the higher side since NT-H1 is up to 110°C.
Noctua’s Recommended Application Method
Respective manufacturers recommend an application method but not with such detail and illustration. For an LGA 115x socket, a pea method is adequate because of its small square shared IHS. For the AM4 and LGA 20xx socket, Noctua recommends 4x 2mm diameter dots at all corners and a 3-4mm dot on the centre of the IHS. What did get my attention is the application method for the larger TR4 and LGA 3647 CPUs. That’s a lot of peas. At this point, I would more curious to know about Noctua’s opinion about line methods on mid and large IHS since its likely they have done extensive testing on it compared to this.
Noctua isn’t against spreading the thermal paste, but it says it doesn’t need to since it has excellent spreading properties. In my experience, thermal pastes like the NT-H1/H2, MX-4 and the MasterGel Nano work as intended without manual spreading. I don’t remember the last time I had to spread a non-conductive thermal paste, except maybe the Arctic Cooling Ceramique. I prefer the CPU cooler to spread on its own. Mostly because I feel manual spread doesn’t guarantee a than and even spread, leading to some legroom for uneven application, It also further spreads once the CPU cooler is installed. However, many people are very comfortable with it.