Tech

Ketchup is not the best thermal paste, but better than cheese or toothpaste.

Editor’s opinion: Avid enthusiasts are constantly on the lookout for new technologies and methods to reduce the operating temperature by one to two degrees. Most of the efforts bear little fruit and instead serve as a warning that No do. This is one such example.

A member of the ComputerBase community recently supplied some thermal pads and pastes to the test using an older Radeon R7 240 graphics card. The GPU is normally passively cooled, but a fan has been added to speed up the testing process. Some unconventional alternatives have been added to spice things up, and that’s more of what we’re interested in here.

The card runs at 780MHz at 1.15V by default and has multiple throttling levels that automatically reduce the clock speed and supply voltage. If things get too hot, it turns off completely.

Ketchup came first, and after a five-minute test in Furmark, the GPU recorded a temperature of 71°C. Among wacky alternatives, this was the best performer.

The standard toothpaste reached 90°C after a similar cycle, while the diaper rash cream, potato paste, and cheese slice reached 105°C and were thermally throttled.

What is your best bet in pursuit of cooler temperatures? First, use real thermal paste. Proven variants such as the Arctic MX-4 and Corsair TM30 performed best in the 49°C and 54°C test, respectively. The way you set the paste can also affect the temperature, and some even claim that additives like salt can help, but we wouldn’t recommend trying this.

Again, use methods that work and are safe. In addition to updating the thermal paste, make sure the heatsink fins are free of dust that could hinder their cooling ability. Adding a larger and/or more powerful fan to the GPU heatsink will also lower temperatures, as will proper cable routing in your case. If all else fails, consider switching to a more extreme solution such as water cooling.

Image credit: AssassinWarlord


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