When you hear the name OCZ, odds are good that you think of either memory or heatsinks. These folks have been producing both product lines for a while now. So it should come as little surprise that they would delve into the realm of thermal interface material.
For those who have kept up with the OCZ offerings, you will recognize that this isn't the first time that this company has tried their hand with thermal materials. A few years ago they created a silver based compound designed to compete against the vaunted Arctic Silver. While their older goop was effective, it did not bring anything new and exciting to the table. Some were also put off by the thicker consistency of the compound, feeling it did not spread as easily as the leader of the pack.
Now comes a new material hot on the heels of a new breed of thermal interface material that is trying to knock off the industry leader from its high perch. Other compounds we have recently tested have done quite well, so now the big question is if OCZ can add its name to the list of products that can trounce the popular Arctic Silver line.
So come join us as we answer that very question. Can the OCZ Freeze handle the competition of Arctic Silver, and also keep up with the standards that have been set by the newest crop of compounds that are now gracing our store shelves. Relax and we will find out together.
Recently we performed a test of several TIM products that have recently hit the market. All of these new kids on the block are using a new formula and getting away from thermally conductive materials. OCZ follows this plan of attack and offers something they call Freeze. It still comes in an easy to use syringe dispenser so you won't have to worry about how you're going to apply the compound.
One thing OCZ has managed to do is to make the consistency of their TIM a lot smoother. This makes application to your processor or GPU very simple. You will not have to worry about your TIM clumping up and possibly creating voids in the core area. It gives you a peace of mind when you know your thermal material is going to spread completely over your core.
Another advantage of the Freeze compound is the lack of any required burn-in time. Many will recall the requisite two day burn time to allow the TIM to properly set up. This product does not require this burning in and allows you to apply and overclock without fear of not getting the proper thermal protection. This makes for much greater convenience for those who want to push their systems to their utter limits.
So, we have a compound that is easy to apply and has a very smooth texture for optimal protection. It is also non-conductive and requires no burn-in. While everything is looking good so far, we now turn our attention to actual usage so we can see just how well it performs.
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 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
2GB Corsair PC8500C5 DDR2 Memory (Supplied by Corsair)
GeCube X1900XTX Video Board (Supplied by GeCube)
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 load test of the processor for approx 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 and 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.
After thrashing the processor at 100% load throughout the testing, we find that the OCZ Freeze compound is running right in the same arena as the other newcomers. It has a maximum load temperature of 51C and averages just a bit higher than the other products, all of which still manage to beat out the Arctic Silver. If you are still using the AS goop, it really is time to change.
When it comes to a quality TIM, we need to consider what is going to be best for our system components. After all, the processor and graphics boards of today are going to be some of the most expensive parts in your box, so it only makes sense to care for them in the best manner possible.
In the past few months, we have seen several companies come out with new compounds and they all claim to be able to beat "that silver stuff" that everyone seems to love so much. What's more, they are all doing just that! It just doesn't make any sense to continue to use a compound that is electrically conductive, especially when it is not as effective.
OCZ has brought to the table a thermal material that beats the silver goops hands down, requires no curing time, and is not electrically conductive. It performs right in line with similar products being offered and is also cheaper than Arctic Silver. I have no qualms at all in recommending a tube of OCZ Freeze for your next (or current) build. It works well and will last a long time after applying, so you just cannot go wrong.
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