According to the makers of the Arctic Silver Thermal Compound which we are reviewing here today... "Arctic Silver Thermal Compound is the only premium silver thermal compound specifically designed to maximize the thermal conductivity between today's high-performance processors and high-capacity coolers." Many coolers ship with "plain" cheap white (or gray) thermal compound, most processors come with thermal pads, but what's the use of having a top of the line Alpha HSF, when you only have cheap thermal compound in place? It really defeats the purpose of the whole aim of cooling the processor. This is where the Arctic Silver "Premium Silver Thermal Compound optimized for small contact area" comes into play! This thermal compound comes with 79% to 82% pure micronized silver content, micronized silver is the material used to produce the thermal conductivity (as far as I know it is...) So the more percentage of micronized silver content, the better. The Arctic Silver is one of the leaders in this department, whereas other thermal compounds have no where near this amount of silver. As you can see from the image above, the Arctic Silver compound is contained in a funky looking applicator syringe tube which makes using the compound much easier than contemporary cheapo thermal pastes which just comes in small plastic seals. The Arctic Silver tubes contain 6.5g (0.23 oz) of compound, just in case you were wondering...
High Speed PC provided us with the Arctic Silver compound which is apparently designed for small contact areas. Basically meaning for processors which are based on a 0.18 micron process or smaller - not that there are any processors smaller than 0.18 at the moment. These processors include all Coppermine (PIII, Celeron II), PIII SECC2, AMD Duron, AMD Thunderbird (Socket Version), AMD Athlon with heatplate removed and AMD Slot A Thunderbird with heatplate removed.
There is another "model" of the Arctic Silver compound which is designed for large contact areas, that is basically for all processors based on a higher micron process than 0.18, the processors "supported" which I'm talking about here are the Celeron, PII SECC, AMD Athlon with heatplate, AMD Slot A Thunderbird with heatplate, K6, K6-2, K6-3, Pentium Classic and Pentium with MMX. So, basically the Arctic Silver for small contact areas is for newer processors and Arctic Silver for large contact areas is for older processors, capiche?
I also think it should be mentioned that this compound can be used on all chips which require a heatsink, not just CPU's!
I suck at science and physics, so to explain the Arctic Silver's conductivity I've done a little copy and pasting from High Speed PC. "Negligible electrical conductivity. Arctic Silver was formulated to conduct heat, not electricity. It is only electrically conductive in a thin layer under extreme compression. (Much safer than silver greases engineered for high electrical conductivity.). Superior thermal conductivity. 4.65 to 5.15 W/m*K depending on the version and particular batch." I don't know exactly what all that means, but it sounds cool enough.
Testing & Installation
As for installation, let's just say it is dead simple, this is thanks to the tube applicator syringe which the Arctic Silver compound is contained in. The paste itself takes a small squeeze to get flowing, but it is very smooth and not lumpy, it isn't hard but it isn't runny it just sits where you want it to on the chip. According to the manufactures of Arctic Silver, they claim that the compound can produce a 2 to 7 degrees centigrade lower CPU temperatures than any other thermal compound. Using the compound on my Intel Pentium IIIe 700MHz @ 700MHz and MSI BxMaster with a Global Win FKP32 HSF, the processor (when idle) operated 3 to 4 degrees C lower compared to normal cheapo white compound which we had laying around the house. With results like this you should easily be able to overclock your processor to the next step, whatever that may be.
The Arctic Silver compound is by far the most effective thermal paste I have EVER used! It does it's job, and very well at that. If you are wondering why your new HSF is not performing as well as you saw in reviews or product specs, I highly recommend you buy some Arctic Silver compound... You will not regret it, mark my words! The processor temperate will be lowered, thus, in turn allowing you to overclock your processor more!
Rating - 8 / 10