First off the Contestants.
(Not pictured:Aluminum Foil, Antiseptic Gel)
Toothpaste, Antiseptic Gel, Dielectric Silicone, Hair Styling Clay, Peanut Butter, Raspberry Preserves,
Anti Seize Lubricant, High Temperature Grease, Lip balm Liquid Gel Deodorant, Aluminum Foil, No TIM
Yes these are the best (and worst) things I could find to replace conventional TIM. I will be rating them based on convenience, ease of procurement, thermal conductivity and longevity, all the things you look for in a high end thermal compound. I will be rating these from best to worst. Keep in mind the top five performed as good if not better than the old thermal gunk that came with the machine. All testing took place in my garage, it was 6c kind of cold for testing..
This started life as a Sony Vaio in 2001, I found it all broken in a friends garage and he said I could have it. I fixed and here I am trying to kill it again.
Its running a P4 1.6 running at 2.0, a TNT2 64 32mb video card, 384mb Pc133 Ram, Stock Heatsink with 80mm fan set at medium the old one was broken.
Does not Support BIOS overclocking so I used Speedfan to get a few extra MHz and a few more degrees. Low heat CPU may not be best for this subject.
1. Dielectric Silicone Idle 22c, Load 34c
Dielectric Silicone is used primarily as a heat conductor for HEI ignition. Meant to last indefinitely in high heat conditions in automotive applications. It is not electrically conductive according to the label. You can get it at any automotive store and some hardware stores. It is not a very common house hold item.
Projected life span: Months to years
Pros: Very good cooling, very long life span, fairly cheap at $4 a tube.
Cons:Not a common household product, low availability.
2.Liquid Gel Deodorant Idle 23c, Load 34c
For this experiment I used Mitchum Power Gel Deodorant/Antiperspirant because it is the only deodorant powerful enough to keep me smellin fresh all day. Liquid gel deodorant is found in all 24 hour department stores, some gas station/convenience stores and many people homes. Unfortunately it is meant to evaporate quickly and will only provide good thermal conductivity until dry. Fortunately in an enclosed environment I suspect it would stay moist for at least a day.
Lifespan:A day or less depending on conditions.
Pros: Fairly common, cheap, thermally conductive, and keeps your CPU smelling nice.
Cons:Short lifespan, electrically conductive.
3.Crest Toothpaste Idle 22c, Load 35c
Toothpaste so minty, so fresh, and a surprisingly good TIM substitute. Fairly cool temps recorded. Very common, most everyone will have this on hand in they're time of need. Available almost anywhere. Unfortunately lifespan is short at only around 12 hours because it becomes dry and crusty quickly.
Pros:Very common, availability is awesome, cools well, minty freshness.
4.X-Balm Chapstic Idle 23, Load 35c
This is a generally common item available everywhere. Cools well and smells like cherries. Unfortunately is paraffin based and runs when hot. I wouldn't trust this product for more than a day, tends to become solid overtime. Also very cheap.
Pros:Common and cools fairly good. Smells nice.
Cons:Wax based, runs when hot.
5.Antiseptic Gel Idle 25c, Load 36c
This one time use packet was taken from a first aid kit. Antiseptic gel is less common that tooth paste but can be purchased almost anywhere. It cools well but isn't recommended for long term use because it is water based and will evaporate. Smells nasty when hot.
Lifespan:24 hours or until dry.
Pros: Common, cheap, available anywhere, cleans wounds from testing.
Cons:Relatively short lifespan. Smells bad, only cools about as well as stock TIM.
6.High Temp Grease. Idle 23c, 38c
This automotive goop is used as a lubricant and is meant to survive high temperatures without thinning out. Lasts along time. For some reason cools very well at idle but much worse at load. This is a semi common product I guess, I always have it around but i love cars almost as much as computers so I don't know how many people actually have this on hand. Can be purchased at any hardware or automotive store.
Pros:Cools better than nothing and lasts along time.
Cons:Smells really gnarly, oils usually considered bad for thermal conductivity.
7.Hair Molding Clay Idle 25c, Load 38c
This crap has been sitting in my bathroom ever since I got talked into buying it from a hot hairdresser. It smells awesome but is water based with a lot of paraffin wax in it making it doubly dangerous. However this combination makes it slow to dry and a longer term solution. Unfortunately dangerous and long lasting does not make it an good thermal conductor. Can be bought at cheap haircut places like Cost Cutters.
Pros:Long lasting, smells good, better than nothing.
Cons:Dangerous, not very common, low availability.
8.Aluminum Foil Idle 25, Load 38c
This one scared me, a lot. The idea of putting a thin sheet of highly conductive metal on a circuit board gives me the creeps. I tested shiny side up, shiny down worked much worse. Weirdly enough it works as well as the liquid options. Very common to any kitchen. Available at grocery stores. One positives is that it never dries out so lasts indefinitely.
Lifespan:How long does aluminum last?
Pros:Cheap, shiny,lasts forever
Cons:Does not cool very effective, very electrically conductive
9.Raspberry Preserves Idle 25c, Load 40c+
I didn't have any grape... But this shows how bad sugary things are at dissipating heat. Tastes good most people have some sort of jelly on hand. Does not do a good job of cooling and dries out within minutes. Shut down burn in because the sweat taste had turned into something new and nasty. Upon removal it was clear that it would take the next half hour to remove the caked on red concrete that had formed.
Cons.Poor thermal conductor, sticky, sucks to clean, etc...
10.Anti Seize Lubricant Idle 26, Load 42c
This stuff is to keep nuts and bolts from seizing together and becoming irremovable. Has an amazing lifespan, years plus and can withstand temperatures over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. I though this one would work excellent but i was wrong, I figured it looks like AS5, it must work like it. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it to seat onto the heat sink. This is most likely due to it being oil based.
Pros:Looks like AS5
Cons:Not AS5, non thermally conductive.
11.No TIM Idle 27c, Load 45c
Nothing, not thermally conductive but super cheap and easy find...anywhere? Easy clean up. Generally a bad idea really.
12.Creamy Peanut Butter Idle 27c, Load 53c
Most people will have this tasty stuff around the house and if they don't can buy almost anywhere. Generally a bad conductor of heat, but smells awesome when CPU is at load. Works worse than nothing. Tested for a half hour no changes.
Pros:Good for sandwiches, very common.
Cons: Terrible at conducting heat.
Review 2 on Page 5 Click Here
Edited by gabrieltessin, 26 May 2009 - 08:42 PM.