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10 Best Thermal Pastes for CPUs and GPUs in 2024: Ranked and Reviewed

Applying new thermal paste to a CPU. Thermal paste used as an interface between heat sinks and CPU.

10 Best Thermal Pastes for CPUs and GPUs in 2024: Ranked and Reviewed

Key Points

  • The Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminium is the best overall in our list of thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs due to its great thermal conductivity and stability.
  • The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is a great runner-up with excellent thermal conductivity, but it is more expensive than other options.
  • The Cooler Master MasterGel Pro V2 is the best choice for ease of use, making it ideal for beginners.
  • The Noctua NT-H1 is the best thermal paste for tight budgets, offering great performance at a low cost.
  • The Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is the best liquid metal option with extreme thermal conductivity, but it is difficult to apply and expensive.

Are you looking for the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs? Thermal paste is arguably the least exciting aspect of building a computer. You’ve pieced together your many components, you’re assembling the whole thing, and the thermal paste is usually just an afterthought of the construction process.

Still, thermal paste plays an integral role in proper heat dispersal on CPUs and GPUs alike. As such, it helps to get something that can keep your PC running cool. We’ve looked at dozens of options, and here are our top picks:

#1 Best Overall: Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminium

Best Overall
Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminium
$24.54
  • Made up of specially designed nanoparticles
  • No "burn-in" time required
  • Non-corrosive
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01/16/2024 10:28 pm GMT

Prolimatech’s PK-3 Nano Aluminium thermal paste is the one to beat if price is no object. It is a stable and easy thermal paste to use. What makes it one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs is its great thermal conductivity. The PK-3 compound is a little thicker than its PK-2 counterpart, which means you don’t need a lot. If there is a complaint to level at the compound, it’s regarding the somewhat harder application. This is a thermal paste intended for users with some experience.

ProsCons
The compound itself is quite stable and doesn’t need curing.It can be tricky to apply.
The thicker consistency results in better thermal conductivity.It isn’t as stable as a more premium liquid metal selection.

Check out the Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminium on Amazon.

Best Runner-Up: Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut

Best
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
$8.99
  • Thermal conductivity: 12.5 W/mk
  • Thermal resistance: 0,0032 K/W
  • Temperature: -250 °C / +350 °C
  • Viscosity: 120-170 Pas
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01/16/2024 10:38 pm GMT

The Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut is a great thermal paste despite its cost. While this is one of the more expensive thermal pastes per gram, it delivers great performance. The overall consistency of the compound itself is a bit on the thicker side, but it disperses heat quite well.

Application and clean-up are a relatively simple process, but it does require a bit of precision. Its great thermal conductivity makes this one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs you can purchase currently. The only real drawback is the higher cost.

ProsCons
It has great thermal conductivity.The thicker consistency needs steady hands.
The application process is beginner-friendly.Thermal Grizzly’s overall cost is higher than the competition’s.

Check out the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut on Amazon.

Best for Ease of Use: Cooler Master MasterGel Pro V2

Best for Ease of Use
Cooler Master MasterGel Pro V2
  • Thermal conductivity: 9 W/mK
  • Eliminates the risk of electrical transmission
  • Material: Polycarbonate
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Cooler Master has been synonymous with thermal solutions for years, and the MasterGel Pro V2 takes the company’s attention to detail and leverages it toward an easy-to-apply thermal paste. This is one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs due to the overall ease of application.

This is a great compound for beginners building their first computers. It isn’t as strong in terms of overall thermal conductivity as Thermal Grizzly or Prolimatech’s offerings. However, it still holds fairly strong, making it an easily found choice for any build.

ProsCons
MasterGel Pro V2 is one of the easiest compounds to apply.The thermal conductivity could be better.
You can easily find it at most retailers.It is rather expensive per gram.

Check out the Cooler Master MasterGel Pro V2 on Amazon.

Best for Tight Budgets: Noctua NT-H1

Best for Tight Budgets
Noctua NT-H1
$8.95
  • Density: 2,49 g/cm³
  • Volume: 1,4 ml
  • Sufficient for around 3-20 applications
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01/16/2024 10:53 pm GMT

If money is a concern, Noctua has you covered. The Noctua NT-H1 isn’t the best thermal compound, but it certainly will do the job without costing an arm and a leg. What makes this one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs is the overall low cost and efficacy.

It isn’t going to win awards for dropping temps 15 degrees, but it’ll be more than enough for most builds. If you’re building an air-cooled PC, it’ll do the job just fine. Noctua has been a known quantity for its stellar case fans, and its thermal paste seems to carry the same sort of design ethos.

ProsCons
It has great performance for the cost.Its thermal conductivity isn’t on par with premium offerings.
NH-H1 is easy to apply.Noctua’s QC can be all over the place with thermal paste.

Check out the Noctua NT-H1 on Amazon.

Best Liquid Metal Option: Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut

Best Liquid Metal Option
Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut
$14.90
  • 12 volts, 73 watts
  • Cannot be applied to aluminum components as it will cause corrosion
  • Also compatible with consoles (PS3, 4, 5, Xbox 360, One, Series S and X)
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01/16/2024 11:04 pm GMT

The Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is one of the best overall liquid metal compounds on the market today. The world of liquid metal thermal pastes is something better left to more experienced builders. If you can deal with the difficult application and expense, it is one of the best solutions for cooling.

Conductonaut is a fantastic liquid metal compound and is readily found at many retailers. What makes this one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs is its extreme thermal conductivity. However, liquid metal compounds aren’t well suited for extreme overclocking.

ProsCons
It has some of the best heat conductivity on the market.It is extremely difficult to apply.
Conductonaut is one of the most easily found liquid metal compounds on the market.Conductonaut is quite expensive compared to traditional thermal pastes.

Check out the Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut on Amazon.

Best for Overclocking: Phobya Liquid Metal Thermal Compound

Best for Overclocking
Phobya Liquid Metal Thermal Compound
$6.35
  • Does not contain non-metallic additives such as silicone or metal oxides
  • Made from 100% liquid metal
  • Not suitable for use on aluminum surfaces
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01/16/2024 11:13 pm GMT

Phobya’s Liquid Metal compound is great for air-cooled overclocking. You likely won’t want to run the compound when using extreme overclocking techniques. However, if you don’t mind a more difficult application, this is one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs on the market.

The Phobya Liquid Metal compound is also relatively affordable for its product type. You can find it for around $9 a gram, making it a more affordable alternative to the likes of Conductonaut. As with Thermal Grizzly’s liquid metal thermal paste, you’ll need some patience to apply it.

ProsCons
It has great conductivity.The application is quite difficult.
Phobya’s LM is cheaper than other liquid metal options.It can cause reactions with metals in your case if you aren’t careful during application.

Check out the Phobya Liquid Metal Thermal Compound on Amazon.

Best for GPUs: GELID GC-Extreme

Best for GPUs
GELID GC-Extreme
$8.28
  • Can operate between -45 degrees to +180 degrees Celsius
  • Thermal conductivity: 8.5W/mK
  • Density: 3.73g/cm³
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01/16/2024 11:19 pm GMT

If you’re looking for the best thermal compound for GPUs, the GELID GC-Extreme is the one to pick. It’s a stable thermal paste that is moderately priced. The application is relatively simple, requiring consistent pressure on the syringe plunger.

This is a fairly forgiving thermal paste, and it works quite well in use with graphical processors. You could certainly use it for your desktop’s processor, as well. The simple application and easy cleanup make for one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs, with graphic cards, in particular, being its strong suit.

ProsCons
It is relatively affordable.It requires a steady hand on the syringe plunger for consistent application.
Applying the thermal paste is quite easy.GC-Extreme’s thermal conductivity is average at best.

Check out the GELID GC-Extreme on Amazon.

Best for Laptops: Shin-Etsu MicroSi X23-7783D

Best for Laptops
Shin-Etsu MicroSi X23-7783D
$20.15
  • Thermal conductivity: 6.0 W/mK
  • Thermal resistance: 7.3 mm2-K/W
  • 5 x 0.5 gm sterile syringes
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01/16/2024 11:18 pm GMT

Are you looking to get better performance out of your laptop? Shin-Etsu’s MicroSi X23-7783D is a thermal compound designed expressly for use with portable devices. You’ve got five syringes of thermal paste, which performs quite admirably.

It has a higher overall viscosity, making it a great fit for laptop CPUs as well as dedicated graphical processors. While this is one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs, it is quite expensive per unit. Still, there are few thermal compounds that perform this well for smaller spaces.

ProsCons
It has a fantastic performance.It is fairly expensive per unit.
The thermal paste comes in five smaller syringes.The thicker consistency makes it difficult to apply.

Check out the Shin-Etsu MicroSi X23-7783D on Amazon.

Best for Air Cooling: Arctic MX-4

Our Pick
ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Paste
$8.49
  • Made of carbon microparticles
  • Metal-free and non-electrical conductive, eliminating any risks of short circuits
  • Viscosity: 31,600 poise
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01/16/2024 11:39 pm GMT

The Arctic MX-4 is one of the most reliable thermal pastes for air-cooled builds. If you’re a seasoned hand at PC building, you’re likely familiar with the Arctic. The company has been at the forefront of premium thermal pastes for a number of years.

MX-4 is an older formulation but is supremely easy to use. If you’re looking for one of the best thermal pastes for CPUs and GPUs, this is a great choice. However, it isn’t well-suited for overclocking and there is a curing time to get the most effective use out of it.

ProsCons
It has great heat conductivity for its price.It isn’t well-suited for overclocking.
MX-4 is easily found at most retailers.MX-4 is relatively expensive for its overall performance.

Check out the ARCTIC MX-4 on Amazon.

Most Reliable: Arctic Silver 5

Most Reliable
Arctic Silver 5
$6.97
  • 99.9% pure micronized silver
  • Non-electrically conductive
  • Also contains sub-micron zinc oxide, aluminum oxide, and boron nitride particles
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01/16/2024 11:44 pm GMT

The Arctic Silver 5 is a dependable choice with a proven track record. Chances are you’ve seen the Silver 5 recommended, and that’s for good reason. This is a great jack-of-all-trades thermal paste, and it has fairly decent performance.

It does have a curing phase, but it can handle air cooling and overclocking with ease. It isn’t the overall best you can purchase. That said, the Silver 5 is easy to apply, works well, and will likely serve your PC or GPU admirably until it’s time to refresh it.

ProsCons
Silver 5 is one of the most beginner-friendly options on the market.Temperatures can fluctuate a bit during the curing phase.
It has great overall performance.For the price, the thermal conductivity could be higher.

Check out the Arctic Silver 5 on Amazon.

How to Pick the Best Thermal Paste: Step by Step

Most thermal pastes will do the job when it comes to your average PC build. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing your next compound.

Application

The easier a thermal paste is to use, the more likely it is you’ll use it again. Now, the ease of application will vary based on a few factors. Pastes with a thicker consistency are great for heat management but can be difficult to apply evenly.

Liquid metal pastes are even more difficult, requiring careful attention and steady hands. Make sure you watch some videos before actually going to apply the paste itself, as you don’t want to overdo it.

Conductivity

The biggest factor to keep in mind with thermal pastes is how effective they are at dispersing heat. Now, you can likely find benchmarks for the listed pastes covered in this guide. However, every setup is different, so you’ll want to make notes on your current effective temps under load as well as after applying the thermal compound.

Liquid metal pastes are the best choice for conductivity, but they have their own shortcomings. You’ll want to figure out what sort of needs you have before purchasing and applying thermal paste to your CPU or GPU.

Using the Best Thermal Paste: What It’s Like

Good thermal pastes will keep your computer’s operating temperatures lower than the stock compound. You’ll want to replace it fairly regularly, as the paste itself can dry and lose efficacy. If you’ve picked the sort of thermal paste for your CPU or GPU, you’ll notice more stable operation overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my CPU need thermal paste?

It absolutely does. While your fan or water cooler might handle the actual heat removal, you need a thermal paste to help act as a medium for heat transference.

Does my GPU need thermal paste?

Yes, just like a CPU. You’ll want to refresh the thermal paste regularly to keep operational temperatures stable.

Can I replace the thermal paste on my laptop?

You can, but you might be better off letting a trained technician handle that.

Should I replace my thermal paste regularly?

Absolutely, thermal paste does need occasional replacement to keep operating at its full efficacy.

Which type of thermal paste is best for heat removal?

Liquid metal thermal pastes excel at removing heat, however, they are generally far harder to apply.

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