Thermal Grizzly Thermal Paste Comparison Review
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
Finding the Right Thermal Paste
Finding the right thermal paste for your system is no easy task. There are quite a lot of brands out there and from my experience, one person says “X is better than Y.” The other says “Y is better than X.” In all honesty, pretty much any thermal paste on the market will likely be “enough” or give you reasonable performance. Of course, that’s not what we’re looking to find out today. When it comes to squeezing every drop of performance out of your system, a few degrees can be the difference between a failed or a successful overclock. It can also be the difference between your PWM fans running in low or high RPM mode. Of course, there may be a whole host of other factors.
We’ve been told that Thermal Grizzly was the up and coming King of the thermal paste market. I’ve been a loyal user of the mighty Gelid GC EGC-Extreme a long time now, so I’m eager to see if this new kid on the block can really perform better. Although, if it’s just as good as Gelid, I will not be disappointed. Putting one thermal paste head to head with another wouldn’t make for an interesting review. So I’ve picked up some other popular favourites. These range from the budget friendly to the premium; let’s find out which one is king!
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt
The newest thermal paste brand on our list and also one of the most expensive, clocking in at £15.95 for 11.1g. This brand is targeted at the enthusiast/overclocking crowd.
Akasa Pro-Grade 460
Akasa is a common choice for a lot of system builders and with just 3.5g in the tube and an average price of £6, it’s still expensive, but appeals to those building a few systems or for maintaining their own.
Notcua is known for their high-end engineering. Their NT-H1 thermal paste has proven many times before that I can offer exceptional performance. It’s obviously targeted at the high-end and enthusiast market and will cost you around £7-10 for a small 3.5g tube.
Gelid GC Extreme
The popular choice for enthusiast overclockers around the world, Gelid is highly regarded for being able to deliver lower temps with their GC Extreme. You can pick up a smaller 3,5g tube for around £8 and a 10g mini-tub for about £22, making it noticeably more expensive than Thermal Grizzly.
Arctic Silver 5
This is one of the go-to brands of thermal paste for many system builders, it’s not “the best” but it’s still very good and has been on the market for many years. More often than not, you can pick up a 3,5g tube of this for just £5, making it very appealing to a lot of people.
This one is new to me, I have heard of it, but I’ve never used it. It’s surprisingly affordable at £5 for a 5g tub. That’s a a very attractive option and EK has a rock solid reputation in the cooling industry already.
Another budget friendly option from the legendary Arctic, costing just £6 for a 4G tube and much like Arctic Silver, it has long been a popular choice for system builders.
So there’s the competitors, a nice range of budget friendly options from a wide range of manufacturers, some new, some old, some that have been around longer than time its self. There’s going to be some interesting competition here in terms of performance and prices, so there’s only one thing left to do, let’s fire this up on our eTeknix test bench and see who takes first place!
Testing and Methodology
We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:
- ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
- Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC Extreme under the IHS
- 16GB Kingston 1866Mhz DDR3
- 128GB Kingston HyperX SSD
- Be Quiet! Straight Power 10 850w PSU
- Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0
- SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO Cooler
In all these graphs we may have a few “reference” results of particular products that do not fit within that category for comparative purposes.
- We always use Gelid GC Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste. Of course, this review will use a wide range of thermal pastes for testing.
- Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
- The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
- Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds. If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
- All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
- For watercooling tests all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
- Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing . Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
- Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
- The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
- All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
- Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
- There is approximately a 1 degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
- There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter
For this review, I’ve deployed the new SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler. If you would like to know more about this cooler and its performance, you can check out the full review here.
The performance at stock was pretty much what I expected. The premium grade products are rocking the lowest temperatures. Even the higher temperature results are still good. There’s really only a difference of 3c between the top and the bottom. If you’re running stock clocks on your CPU, I doubt you would know the difference between Artic Silver 5 and Thermal Grizzly.
Now things are really hotting up, literally. Between the big boys on the block, there’s really not much in it. I am happy to see that Thermal Grizzly is topping both of our charts. Albeit by a small margin. NT-H1 and GC-Extreme are neck and neck. Although I admit, there’s a margin of error to account for, they’re all very competitive.
Further down the chart, we’ve got a few other popular choices. While the 6c difference may not seem a lot between the top and bottom, that can be the difference between CPU thermal throttling, your fans spinning harder or an overclock failing.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut High-Performance Thermal Paste is available from Overclockers UK for £10.00. That’s for a 5.5g tube, although you can get an 11.1g tube for £15.95. That is quite expensive, but it’s about on par with other high-end thermal pastes. As for the other products we tested, I would suggest you search your favourite retailers. Prices vary wildly and change frequently.
Thermal Grizzly is going up against some very tough competition. There’s a huge range of thermal pastes on the market to choose from. Gelid GC-Extreme is a popular choice for overclockers around the world, and we here at eTeknix have been using it for years. It’s in all our cooling tests, on our test benches and even in our own personal systems. I am happy to say that Grizzly is just that little bit better than GC Extreme. However, not so much so that I would feel compelled to take my cooler off and change my thermal paste. Although close enough that you would find it’s a good alternative to GC Extreme.
Grizzly is just that little bit better than GC-Extreme
I had done testing on the acoustic differences with these thermal pastes. Unfortunately, there was no difference in fan speed due to the temperatures. However, this may not be true for your cooler or fan profiles. If your fan kicks up a few more RPM at (for example) 60c and your CPU runs at 62c while using cheaper thermal paste. Then upgrading to something like Thermal Grizzly could help you cut down the temperatures. It could even help with the fan speeds a little in that case.
Time to Invest?
For day to day users, any of these compounds would do the job nicely. Although, when you’re getting into the world of overclocking, benchmarking and water cooling, then you’ll want to invest in something suitable. Spending hundred on a CPU, motherboard, GPU, water cooling and more isn’t exactly cheap. And spending £10-15 on a good thermal paste isn’t going to increase your budget by a significant percentage and will have real-world benefits in the long run.
- Better than GC-Extreme (if only a by a little)
- Changeable applicator nozzle on tube
- Competitively priced
- Retail availability isn’t great at the moment, but it is improving
“Thermal Grizzly may be the new kid on the block, but they’ve certainly got a product that can proudly go head to head with many of the best thermal pastes on the market.“
Thank you Overclockers UK for providing us with this sample.