When it comes to testing a thermal interface material, the goal is very similar to cooler reviews where the idea is to determine how cool the processor stays under stress. With this concept in mind, I will be thrashing out an Intel based setup to see just how well this compound works.
Before we delve into the number, though, let's take a quick look at the test box.
Intel E6600 Processor @ 2.4GHz
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4 Motherboard (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
2GB Corsair PC8500C5 DDR2 Memory (Supplied by Corsair)
Sapphire X2900XT Video Board (Supplied by Sapphire)
In the past, we have made it a habit to look at temperatures at both idle and at load. In this test session, I will be monitoring a bit differently than before. Idle temperatures are more important when realizing the cooling potential of heatsinks, so I will be aiming at testing load temperatures.
Our test methodology consists of running a 100% load test of the processor for approximately 26 minutes. After noting the maximum temperature, I went through the temperature logs and figured an average temperature throughout the test cycle.
As noted above, the processor is running at default speed it has the stock Intel OEM heatsink mounted for our testing. All system voltages are also set to default values so that everything will be on an even keel and we can give all compounds we evaluate the same test bed as the others. Ambient temperature was a constant 23C and relative humidity was less than 25% during all test phases. Finally, all thermal compounds tested are given a 3-day burn-in time even if they state they do not require it. This allows all tests to be conducted on an even plane and no excuses for questionable performance can be given.
After our testing was completed, it was good to see that the folks at Noctua have done the job right. This thermal compound ranks right up there with the best of them and manages to carry an average temperature of 48.5 Celsius. This is a very acceptable performance and will fit well into your own enthusiast rig.