Arctic Silver 3It was not too long ago when Arctic Silver 2 made its mark in the overclocking community. Until that time most of us really didn't give much thought to that small dap of application which goes between the CPU and the cooler. Arctic silver really made us realize what a significant role thermal paste plays when it comes to heat conductivity. While many were coming out with fancy high-end coolers, Arctic Silver LLC were busy researching on the best thermal paste for CPU's and finally in 1998 they came out with a killer product, known to us all as Arctic Silver 2 (AS2).There's no doubt Artic Silver 2 is the best heat conducting thermal paste out there, as up to now, I have never come across a competitive product closely matched to its performance. Maybe nanotherm is also making some impact as a cheap alternative to AS, however it's still not possible to reach the standards of AS2.Four years after the initial launch of AS2, we're introduced to its successor, Arctic Silver 3 only a couple of weeks back. Since the day I got hooked up to AS I have not used any other thermal paste on any of my systems. If you haven't already switched to AS, let this be the day you do so.
So what's new with Arctic Silver 3?Well this section has been taken out of the Arctic Silver website as they explain it best.Arctic Silver 3 features: * Made with 99.9% pure micronized silver.Arctic Silver 3 uses three unique shapes and sizes pure silver particles to maximize particle-to-particle contact area and thermal transfer. This exclusive combination gives the compound a distinctive silver-green color as each type of particle reflects light differently. * Over 70% silver content by weight.Arctic Silver 3 also contains a small percentage of specially engineered micronized boron nitride. The thermally-enhanced boron nitride ceramic particles improve the compound's flow characteristics and long-term stability. * Controlled triple phase viscosity.Arctic Silver 3 does not contain any silicone. The suspension fluid is a proprietary mixture of advanced polysynthetic oils that work together to provide three distinctive functional phases. As it comes from the tube, Arctic Silver 3's consistency is engineered for easy application in a thin even layer. During the CPU's initial use, the compound thins out to enhance the filling of the microscopic valleys and insure the best physical contact between the heatsink and the CPU core. Then the compound thickens slightly over the next 50 to 200 hours of use to its final consistency designed for long-term stability.(This should not be confused with conventional phase change pads that are pre-attached to many heatsinks. Those pads melt each time they get hot then re-solidify when they cool. The viscosity changes that Arctic Silver 3 goes through are much more subtle and ultimately much more effective.) * Absolute StabilityArctic Silver 3 will not separate, run, migrate, or bleed. * Thermal conductivity: >9.0 W/m°K (Hot Wire Method Per MIL-C-47113) * Thermal Resistance: <0.0024°C-in²/Watt (0.001 inch layer) * Extended temperature limits: - 40°C to >160°C * 4 to 15 degrees centigrade lower CPU core temperatures than standard thermal compounds or thermal pads.(When measured with a calibrated thermal diode imbedded in the CPU core.) * Negligible electrical conductivity.Arctic Silver 3 was formulated to conduct heat, not electricity. It is only electrically conductive in a thin layer under extreme compression.(While much safer than electrically conductive silver and copper greases, Arctic Silver 3 should be kept away from electrical traces, pins, and leads. The compound is slightly capacitive and could potentially cause problems if it bridged two close-proximity electrical paths.) PerformanceAlright, it's time to see what kind of an improvement is achieved by Arctic Silver LLC's newest addition to their line of thermal pastes. For testing purposes we got a Athlon XP 1600+ (1400MHz) running at 1570Mhz. It's certainly not a great degree of overclocking, however it's good enough for our purpose. If you go to the Arctic Silver LLc's webpage you'd see that AS3 needs a period of 72Hrs before it reaches its full potential. Therefore the results seen here are after 3 days of usage. We also used a Swiftech MCX 370OA cooler attached to a 7000RPM fan.The moment of Truth (After Full load)
As the tests reveal AS has yet again produced a winning product. Even though it may not be by a huge margin in comparison to AS2, we must realize that even a 2°C reduction in heat is incredible when it comes to overclocking. After all we thrive on getting every ounce of power from our CPU's and a few degrees of less heat allows us to crank up that lever a bit more. Now that I have used Arctic Silver 3 I can't wait to see their release of Arctic Silver 4 when ever it comes.