Specifications, Availability and Pricing
I went ahead and listed all the specs for the TIMs I would be testing today, so that you could run a head to head comparison of all of the compounds properties that are available. The MX-4 from Arctic Cooling is listed first and shows that this new compound keeps the same thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/mK as did the MX-3. Viscosity is at 870 Poise for the MX-4, which is a little less than the MX-3, but a little more than what MX-2 offers. The density of the MX-4 comes in at 2.5 g/cm³, and again is less than the MX-2 by a lot, and just more than what MX-3 offers. What does this all mean? Well to me, just from the specs I see of these three compounds, I would guess that theMX-4 is a bit more easily spread than MX-3, but should offer similar temperatures, but we will let a huge series of tests do that math for us.
One of the biggest complaints I heard from MX-3 users, was the fact that the paste just wasn't spreadable. It seems Arctic Cooling has taken that into consideration with the new release. On top of the customer base, it only seems right that a new product should not only be easier to use, but should also perform better. My previous thermal compound tests showed that even though they got the consistency wrong with MX-3, they did however make a better product. Conducting heat is the main job here, so I will throw the "spread-ability" of the compound out the window, and just state, that at least MX-3 was a better product than MX-2 in the resulting temperatures during its use. Let's see if they got it right with MX-4.
Another thing I listed across the specs chart was the cheapest pricing that I could locate a tube of any of the other TIMs. Here is where Arctic Cooling got it right. With an MSRP set at $5 per every 4 gram tube, even if it doesn't score as the best, it is surely an affordable solution to your TIM needs. As you can see there are a few others that list at around or below that $5 mark, but most only supply 3.2 - 3.7 grams of material, where Arctic Cooling offers a few more tenths of a gram per tube, and honestly that is one or more CPU applications in each tube for your dollar. Word around the Arctic Cooling camp is that the new MX-4 will be ready, with packaging, around mid August, so keep your eyes peeled at your favorite e-tailers, as it is only like six weeks away now.