If you’re in there mining deep for digital currency, using an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner, you are likely creating a lot of heat in the computer. All that activity is going to create a fire of energy that needs to stay cool to run efficiently. The best way to keep a smooth transfer of heat from the processor is with a thermal paste.
While a majority of older ASIC miners do not have the need for a thermal paste, things have changed in the latest models. The heatsink design has been updated to basically take over the whole internal structure of a miner, the hashboard. With that kind of expanse from the heatsink, thermal paste is starting to become a necessity.
Here, we break down the 5 thermal paste options we would recommend to get the job done. Let’s get started!
1. IC Diamond
After working with this thermal paste, it is clear that this is our favorite. For one, the longevity is up to four times longer than other brands. When working with technology that requires heavy use, the last thing you want to do is have to put in more paste often. Each tube contains twenty-four carats of micronized diamond – a natural thermal superconductor with a conductivity of 2,000-2,500 w/mK. To add an extra boost, diamond is five times more superior in thermal conductivity than silver, so it really does make a difference in the long run. Not to mention this is used by the military so you know the quality has to be exceptional.
In application, IC Diamond can be a challenge to put on. The key thing to remember is you just need an amount about the size of a grain of rice. That goes directly in the middle of the chips on the hashboard. As long as you’re extra careful, there should be no issues.
2. Thermalright TFX
This paste is a top-tier option that is friendlier on the wallet. Thermalright is made of carbon microparticles, which create an off-the-chart thermal conductivity. There’s no metal in it and it is not electrically conductive. Not having to worry about a short circuit will give any user a sigh of relief. This is also a great pick for longevity since it is expected to last at a minimum of eight years.
This is another thermal paste that takes patience to apply. A tip to make the momentum easier is to just warm the tube a tad in advance. That should make it smooth like butter.
3. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme
Extreme is a great way to name this product. Not only will the hot pink colour be easy to remember, but the particles used are tinier than all the others. The solution put together over years and in consultation with experts in the field, has created an industrial-strength cooling paste system. With a great product comes a high price, but when you use it, you understand why. The thermal conductivity is at 14.2w/mk and it has the top ratings on the market, so this paste is ready for whatever you throw it’s way.
The properties of this thermal paste could have made it the 2nd position of our list, but its enormous price unlike other products prompted us to position it in the third position.
4. Thermalright TF8
This might be the perfect thermal paste for beginners. TF8 has the easiest-to-use applicator to get the paste on the unit. This is quite satisfying for someone who does this stuff for a living, which makes it a perfect pick for the new or more casual user. We see this as a pretty legit paste that will do what it is designed to do. The TF8 has a theoretical thermal conductivity of 13.8 w/mK, making it a medium between cost-effectiveness and performance.
This thermal paste may require a bit more regular changes than the other options on this list, but nothing excessive, regular maintenance of your machines with a touch-up of thermal paste is always a good thing to do.
5. Arctic MX-4
This is a popular choice and is actually one of the most purchased thermal pastes. The price is good and from the legions who have used it, the reputation is pretty high. Over the years, the paste itself has had very little evolution. However, due to saturation, it is a product most people know and trust. It has a simple applicator and can last for several years.
Now, if you’re using an ASIC miner, you might be wondering if your unit falls into the category of needing thermal paste. Here are some of the most popular miners that do need it:
- Antminer S19, S19 Pro, S19j
- Whatsminer M20, M21, M30
- Innosilicon A10
- Antminer T17, S17, T17+, S17+
Seeing the last mentioned, Antminer 17 series, on the list might stupefy some. Typically, if you have one of these miners, you would know that the hashboard has a soldered heatsink. That type of design makes it unable to get the benefit of using thermal paste. Unfortunately, poor manufacturing and failure rates of chip copper plating have forced replacements to be developed. The updated hashboards have heatsinks that cover it entirely. Like the other models, that makes it a candidate for thermal paste.
When it comes to thermal paste in general, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, no matter how quick and effortless the thermal paste applicator is, it’s important to be very careful. After you get the hang of it, applying the paste becomes an art form. The action is about getting the perfect ratio on the unit to keep it cool. If too little is applied, it will dry out faster. If too much is used, the paste can spill over, causing a whole new mess of problems. However, with strategic planning, there’s no way to learn like getting in there and doing something for the betterment of your ASIC miner.