Best thermal paste for CPU and GPU in 2023

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If you’re looking for the best thermal paste for your GPU or CPU, we’ve got you covered right here with our top picks.

Getting the right thermal paste for your GPU or CPU can prove critical for keeping your components running at full power, without overheating. This only gets more true if you intend to overclock them.

Best thermal paste for CPU and GPU

Arctic Silver 5

Thermal conductivity

8.9 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.0015°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-50°C to 130°C

Break-in period

200 hours

Arctic MX-4

Thermal conductivity

8.5 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.016°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-50°C to 120°C

Break-in period

None required

Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut

Thermal conductivity

11 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.007°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-200°C to 350°C

Break-in period

None required

The way thermal paste works is by reducing the tiny pockets of air or small bumps between the heat spreader of your CPU or GPU and the surface of its cooler. This allows the heat to be more effectively and efficiently transferred over to the cooler, thus reducing the overall temperature of your processors and improving performance.

All of the pastes on this list will work for both your CPU and GPU, making sure both can work to their full potential. We have provided a description of each product and categorised them so you know exactly what kind of product you are getting.

Let’s get into our picks.

Best overall best thermal paste – Arctic Silver 5

Arctic Silver 5

Thermal conductivity

8.9 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.0015°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-50°C to 130°C

Break-in period

200 hours

Pros
  • Excellent thermal resistance
  • Wide range of operating temperature
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Break-in period

Arctic Silver 5 is an exceptional thermal paste that provides a very good heat conductivity, durability, and longevity. 

This thermal paste is a high-performance thermal compound that has been in the market for over a decade and represents a very popular choice among enthusiasts and overclockers. It’s made of 99.9% pure silver, which provides excellent thermal conductivity and helps to reduce the CPU and GPU temperature significantly. It’s also easy to apply and has a long lifespan, which makes it an excellent investment for your system. This is something to consider if you’re combining this paste with a top pick cooler like the best cooler for i9-13900K, as you don’t want the thermal paste to let down the investment you made in the cooler.

In conclusion, thanks to its features that guarantee excellent reliability, the Arctic Silver 5 is considered one of the best thermal pastes on the market. So also taking into consideration the selling price, we can affirm that this thermal paste is the best overall option of this guide. 

Best thermal paste for air-cooled systems – Arctic MX-4

Arctic MX-4

Thermal conductivity

8.5 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.016°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-50°C to 120°C

Break-in period

None required

Pros
  • No break-in period requried
  • Cheap
Cons
  • Less wide range of operating temperature

The Arctic MX-4 is an effective and affordable thermal paste that’s ideal for air-cooled systems that don’t require special conductivity capabilities.

 It’s made of carbon micro-particles that help to reduce the temperature of your CPU and GPU by up to 8 degrees Celsius. It’s also easy to apply as all the thermal paste of this guide and doesn’t require any burn-in time. 

The Arctic MX-4 is a very effective and affordable thermal paste that’s ideal for all the users that want to apply it to a normal setup which will surely feature an air-cooled system. If you’re not sure where to begin with searching for one of these and are just getting started in setting up your cooling system, check out one of our handy guides like the best cooler for Ryzen 5 5600x to help.

So for those generic types of uses, we can do nothing but recommend it, you will have excellent quality for its price.

Best thermal paste for water-cooled systems –  Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut

Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut

Thermal conductivity

11 W/mK

Thermal resistance

0.007°C-in²/W

Operating temperature range

-200°C to 350°C

Break-in period

None required

Pros
  • No break-in period required
  • Wide range of operating temperature
Cons
  • More expensive

The Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut is a premium thermal paste that’s designed for water-cooled systems and offers superior thermal conductivity and effectiveness in extreme temperatures. 

This thermal paste is made of silicone-free components that reading its heat dissipation capacity turns out to be a pretty impressive component. Hydronaut is an amazing choice to work in extreme temperatures, making it an ideal choice for overclockers and enthusiasts. However, just because this is a strong choice for thermal paste, this should in no way be treated as replacement for a dedicated cooler. If you are overclocking this is even more important. To help get you started on where to look for a good CPU cooler head over to our guide to the best CPU cooler for Ryzen 9 7900X3D so you can overclock as safely as possible.

It’s also easy to apply and doesn’t require any burn-in time. The only downside is that it’s relatively expensive compared to other thermal pastes of this guide but as we said is justified by this specific features. So if you’re a computer geek that has a setup equipped with a water-cooled system, this is the choice for you.

Frequently asked questions

Picking the best thermal paste can be a tricky decision, so we know many gamers will have questions they want answers to. We’ve done our best here to answer your most pressing queries.

Can you use the same thermal paste for CPU and GPU?

Yes, there is no difference between CPU thermal paste and GPU thermal paste. You can use the same product for both.

Does too much thermal paste cause overheating?

If you over-apply your thermal paste, it can actually start to act like insulation and increase overheating rather than decreasing it.

Do you need thermal paste as well as a cooler?

Yes. Thermal paste should be within ever cooler and many have thermal paste pre-applied. At no point should you be gaming with only one due to the danger of overheating.

About the Author

Rory Greig

Rory Greig works as a tech writer for Videogamer. He is a writer with a strong knowledge of gaming technology and an eye for detail. He is especially interested in graphics cards and generative AI.