Tuniq is working hard to make a name for themselves in the crowded DIY enthusiast community. They offer wide variety of hardware from cases to power supplies and they have even dove into the thermal grease market. They sent us some of their latest thermal compound, simply titled "TX-2." Here at HardwareLogic we don't play games or use smoke and mirrors to try to make products look good. We push these products to limit and compare them against formidable opponents. We strive to give our readers true results, based on value and performance. Today is no different. We didn't pamper this new compound. we put TX-2 up against the most popular grease company around, Arctic Silver. We will get to this head-to-head-to-head match up between Arctic Silver 5, Arctic Silver Lumiere and Tuniq's TX-2 soon enough, but first let's a closer look at TX-2.
|Thermal Conductivity||4.5 W/mk|
|Temperature Range||-45 to 200 degrees Celsius|
Tuniq shares these scientific terms and statistics about their new goo, right on the tube. They must be proud of their stats. To most people this is going to just look like a foreign language, but we'll try to give you a crash course (or at least a tad bit of understanding). The viscosity just means how "runny" it is, as in, how easy it drips or how easy it would run down an angled slope. For comparison purposes, water would be about 1cP, honey up to10,000cP and peanut butter about 250,000cP (obviously depending on the PB brand the temperature :P ). Thermal Conductivity is basically how much heat can be transferred through the goo (more comparisons: Stainless Steel, 16W/mk and Copper, 400W/mk). And obviously this TX-2 is able to operate well within operating temperatures for our PCs, with a slightly higher top-out than that of AS5. The main thing we want to see is how this is going to work in our system. What can this grease do?! Is this going to be another wanna-be grease or have we finally found a David that can topple the Goliath (Arctic Silver)?
We, of course, start each set of tests with a neat and clean CPU. We always use ArctiClean to clean and prepare our CPU for testing each time new paste is applied, since we have yet to find any formidable cleaning agent. For those without any ArctiClean, some over-the-counter alcohol (90% or higher) will work just fine to get that CPU clean and shiny.
TX-2 does not have several pages of directions on how to apply it's thermal paste like Arctic Silver (and believe us, we are not complaining). For our testing we applied a dot of goop to the center of the CPU spreader that would be about equivalent to that of a piece of rice (if it were long and skinny). With the pressure of the cooler, this amount is more than enough to expand and cover the entire top of the CPU heatspreader. Simple enough so far right? Well let's move on to our testing and see what this stuff can really do.
Today's HardwareLogic Test Bench consists of the following components.
- INTEL Pentium 4 631 Processor
- ASUS P5WD2-E Premium Motherboard
- 2x512mb OCZ PC2-6400 DDR2-800 RAM
- ATI 2400XT Video Card
- Seasonic M12 Modular 500W PSU
- Seagate 80GB SATA-II HDD
- Vista 32bit Home Premium Operating System
- Custom-made open air test bench
We understand that anyone with real concerns about the grease between their CPU and cooler are most likely looking to get every degree they can out of their cooler. Our goal was to push the envelope a little bit to get a higher noticeable variance between these different greases. We decided we would do this by recording temperatures with a system on a respectable overclock, using a mid-grade cooler. We overclocked this already hot running CPU (P4 631) to 4.2ghz and upped the voltage to 1.425v. We grabbed a Scythe Katana 2 to be used as cooler for two reasons. This cooler will give us slightly higher temps because it focuses on a combination of silence and performance, rather than performance alone. Secondly, the Katana 2 was extremely easy to remove and reinstall in between testing since it does not have a backplate (pushpins only), therefore does not require motherboard removal. Unless otherwise noted, the temperatures were recorded after 72 hours of thermal cycles on the test bench.
TEST SERIES #1
CPU Settings: 4.2ghz, 1.425V
Cooler: Scythe Katana 2
|Ambient Temps 23.0 to 24.0|
|Ambient Temps 24.0 to 25.0|
While using the Scythe Katana 2, we followed the Arctic Silver directions for their goo as described on their website. The temperatures were recorded after 72 hours of thermal cycles on the test bench. The Arctic Silver 5 remained on the test bench for much longer. We pushed it for more than 240 hours of thermal cycles, including some occasional periods where the test bench was turned off completely, as suggested by Arctic Silver (minimum 200 hour break-in period). For the record, there was no drop in temperatures after the break-in periods on our test bench. This is not to say that some systems will not see the temperature drop that Arctic Silver claims is likely, but we surely did not see it during our testing.
We decided to do a second series of tests with a higher end cooler, the Zalman CNPS9700LED. We figured some people would be itching to see results from a high end cooler and we did not want to disappoint. We decided to bypass the break-in periods during this testing for two reasons. First and foremost, we were already limited on time and we could not wait another 2 weeks for complete AS5 break-in. Secondly, we saw no drop in temperatures after the recommended break-in periods during our initial testing. All temperatures recorded during this second series of tests were within the first couple hours of installation.TEST SERIES #2
CPU Settings: 4.2ghz, 1.425V
Cooler: Zalman CNPS9700LED
Ambient temps: Between 23.0 and 24.0 degrees Celcius
David vs. Goliath?? Some may think so. The results don't lie! It was easy to conclude that TX-2 outperforms both of the popular and highly respected thermal compounds put out by Arctic Silver. There are many companies out there that have made claims to rival Arctic Silver compounds and very few have come close, let alone succeeded. We were rather shocked by the results. Frankly we were expecting results very close to Arctic Silver compounds, but not results that slightly bettered AS5 and clearly outperformed Lumiere.
We wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't toss in our little disclaimers regarding the Arctic Silver products. There are some users that may benefit more for the Arctic Silver compound, especially those that do get the 2-5 degree drop from AS5, or those that prefer the non-conductivity of the Lumiere compound.
Ultimately we have to go by our end results. This makes our recommendation clear. For any enthusiast looking to get every degree they can out of their CPU, there is no need to look any further than Tuniq's TX-2.
OTHER REVIEWS OF NOTE
It’s always nice to have more than one opinion on a component before you spend your hard earned money. For one, we may see something others missed, or vice versa. As with all reviews published at HardwareLogic, we'll not only give you our recommendation, but also point out reviews from some other great sites around the Web.