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Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste shootout. Does SFF benefit?

3lfk1ng

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Editorial Staff
Gold Supporter
Jun 3, 2016
832
1,546
www.reihengaming.com
Huge thanks to Noctua for sending us a review sample of their new NT-H2 thermal compound. Please let us know what you think below!

Noctua’s latest NT-02 thermal paste has been available in retail channels for a few months now but after playing around with it, I’ve been reluctant to post this review. Not because Noctua’s proposed gains are in any way false, but because it doesn’t appear that the small form factor community can measurably benefit from its usage.
Check out the review here.
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Nov 11, 2015
851
693
Interested in the "more to come later" regarding the thermal pad...

Also hoping for some review info in the Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut thermal pad(s)...!

Thanks...!
 

Valantar

Master of Cramming
Jan 20, 2018
419
247
No Gelid Extreme? I'm gutted. ;)
Not sure why the wink there, but that's the one I was missing :p I've gone from GC Extreme (a lot of stuff previously) to TG Kryonaut (main desktop, laptop repaste) to NT-H1 (secondary gaming rig, came with the cooler), and I've been very happy with all three.

I'm just glad we're past the days of diamond-based "pastes" that needed a soak in boiling water to come out of the syringe at all. Those were not the days, that's for sure.
 

3lfk1ng

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Editorial Staff
Gold Supporter
Jun 3, 2016
832
1,546
www.reihengaming.com
Yea, sorry to disappoint. You can bet that with results like what was seen in the review, I don't plan to add more pastes to the review. This is no fault to Noctua at all either. I'm sure that if I still had my Threadripper, this paste review would have shown slightly better results under a 240/280mm rad or the Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3.

However, for our reviews, we do our best to keep the hardware specifications(especially case size) as close to the hardware specifications that our community would be using. This helps to illustrate what our community could expect from using the hardware we cover. This is the sole reason why we don't use open test benches for our testing.

In conclusion, it seems that no matter the paste, when you're trying to keep everything cool under 10 liters, the interface material, provided it's a paste, doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
 
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NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
235
159
I second a review on the Carbonaut thermal pads 🙂 I haven't heard who is the OEM for those and Thermal Grizzly isn't selling them in the US as far as I've seen (yet), but overclockers.co.uk has them.

The IC Graphite pads are OEMed by Panasonic, and you can buy larger sheets of the stuff on digikey/mouser/etc and cut it up to the sizes you need :D It's very nice not having to wipe up paste any time you have to adjust/remove a heatsink.
 

Valantar

Master of Cramming
Jan 20, 2018
419
247
Yea, sorry to disappoint. You can bet that with results like what was seen in the review, I don't plan to add more pastes to the review. This is no fault to Noctua at all either. I'm sure that if I still had my Threadripper, this paste review would have shown slightly better results under a 240/280mm rad or the Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3.

However, for our reviews, we do our best to keep the hardware specifications(especially case size) as close to the hardware specifications that our community would be using. This helps to illustrate what our community could expect from using the hardware we cover. This is the sole reason why we don't use open test benches for our testing.

In conclusion, it seems that no matter the paste, when you're trying to keep everything cool under 10 liters, the interface material, provided it's a paste, doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
Not disappointed at all - after all, it's pretty well known at this point that all high quality thermal pastes perform within a handful of degrees of each other, and I really appreciate the SFF point of view. It makes perfect sense that the paste is less important the lower the thermal load, but verifying that in a restricted use case is important nonetheless. I also think it's good that you're using a test platform with a good mounting system like Noctua's to ensure equal mounting pressure across repastes. Of course there's an argument to be made for a second testing platform with far higher power, but results for something like that (albeit likely also in a large case or on a test bench) can be found elsewhere, and be used to form an opinion for the relatively few building SFF HEDT rigs. For the rest of us, this is exactly what we need :)

I also like seeing results for the graphite pad, especially as other reviews I've seen of similar products have shown them to be sub-par - but usually in use cases with more power or better airflow. It's good to know that something like that can actually be used.
 
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