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Thread: Noctua NT-H2

  1. #1
    Xtreme Reviewer
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    Apr 2011

    Noctua NT-H2


    All modern PC CPUs produce enough heat that they need a heat sink. Almost all of them need a heat sink with a fan. Many heat sinks come with some sort of thermal transfer paste pre-applied - typically a patch of grease-thermal paste goop or whatever you want to call it. With the heat output of modern CPU's, and even more imortantly, overclocked CPU's, there just has to be something between CPU and heat sink. The reason why there has to be something there is that the two mating surfaces of processor and sink aren't flat. They may look flat...They may have a mirror polish. But, on a microscopic scale, they are vastly different. Without thermal transfer compound, everywhere heat sink metal doesn't mate with CPU package material is a teeny-tiny air gap. Air is a good thermal insulator. As long as your heat sink looks flat when you lay a ruler on it then there'll be a decent amount of actual contact, of course, but the amount of heat that'll actually make it around the air gaps may be surprisingly small. Hence, thermal compound. It's grease with lots of minuscule thermally conductive particles mixed into it, basically. It doesn't conduct heat as well as direct contact, but it's a heck of a lot better than air gaps. Now here is where the picture becomes a little grey, and perhaps a little confusing for the uninitiated. Not all thermal pastes are created equal! Many people tend to purchase a thermal paste that the majority says is better, quite often without considering viable alternatives that exist out there. It's understandable, it is the nature of the consumer. Today I have been given the opportunity to test Noctua's NT-H2 thermal grease which has been stated as a pro-grade TIM solution for enthusiasts who demand both exceptional performance and maximum ease of use. The NT-H2 looks to improve upon the already existing NT-H1 thermal paste with a new chemical structure and zerocuring time.

    Let's take a brief look at the specifications for Noctua's NT-H2...

    Packaging & Contents

    Noctua's NT-H2 comes professionally and thoughtfully packaged, just as we'd expect it to. As with all the Noctua products, there is an overview of the key features on the front, and more detailed specifications and explanations on the back. Noctua has released the NT-H2 thermal paste in two different packages. A standard 3.5 g and larger 10 g tube.

    The sides have features printed in 5 languages.

    Noctua still sell its NT-H1 compound and it is also now being produced in larger 10g tubes. Noctua has extended this new format of package to its old thermal paste.

    Once the cardboard cover is removed, we find a tray that houses the thermal paste syringe.

    On the back of this box, we will find instructions to spread the paste perfectly. Packaged with the smaller NT-H2 3.5 g paste is three new NA-CW1 cleaning wipes while the larger NT-H2 10 g will come with ten.

    Those cleaning wipes included with the thermal paste can be purchased separately in packs of 20. The NA-SCW1 cleaning wipes ship inside an all-black box. The box itself is well made and sturdy with just the product name on the front.

    Also note that we have the instructions for using the wipes on the back of these with safety warnings.

    A Closer Look

    Noctua's NT-H2 comes in a syringe. There is only minor information on the outside of the syringe, including a brief description and some usage warnings.

    The NT-H2 compound is a medium shade of gray in color, and it is very thick and dry. When spread out with a razor there is no shine, which is evident of the dryness. The compound is easy to spread. I have to say it's like the consistency of a thinned peanut butter. I guess that's the best way to describe it, but it is very easy to spread.

    The new Noctua NT-H2 thermal compound builds upon the previous success of the NT-H1 material with a new blend of metal oxide microparticles for an improved and lower thermal resistance. The NT-H2 is also non-corroding and non-conductive so there's no risk of short-circuiting components and is suitable to use with all types of heatsinks including copper, aluminium and nickel plated.

    The lower bond-line thickness with conventional mounting pressures allows for less air cavity concentration which should provide better thermal conductivity between the heatsink plate and the heat spreader. Some thermal compounds need a longer break-in period or cure time until they reach their full performance and some thermal pads must undergo a dedicated burn-in process. By contrast, NT-H2 is ready to go right away and doesn't require any special preparations. NT-H2 unique formula is highly stable over time, even after longer periods of usage. It can be stored at room temperature for at least 3 years and due to the compound's exceptional curing, bleeding, dry-out and thermal cycling characteristics, it can be used on the CPU for 5 years or more.

    The new Noctua NA-SCW1 cleaning wipes are designed to clean CPUs, GPUs and the contact surfaces of heatsinks. Each individual wipe is moistened with a custom detergent mixture for enhanced cleaning capability.

    Installation Process

    Noctua has kindly added a couple of videos to its website demonstrating how to apply the product on different-sized CPUs:


    The results on an 8700K show that thermal paste is still a very close contender no matter who the manufacturer is. It shows that whilst Noctua NT-H2 was the lowest on, it had a joint win with many other pastes from other vendors.

    For the TR4 load tests, it shows that Noctua NT-H2 was victorious again but this time by a large margin. Performance differences show more clearly the higher the heat load is. For example, the performance benefit of NT-H2 over other pastes may not show on a 95W 8700K processor, but will usually show very clearly on a 180W AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU like in our case.

    Final Thoughts

    I must admit that I was really impressed by the Noctua NT-H2's performance today. NT-H2 was very easy to apply and demonstrated a better stability than the other greases and provides very satisfactory results straight out of the syringe. The Noctua NT-H2 thermal compound was a pleasure to work with. It was easy to apply and the performance was great right from the start. No burn-in time was needed with the NT-H2, unlike Arctic Silver products. One of the best things about the NT-H1 and now the NT-H2 is the fact that it does not require any break in periods. That means users can apply it directly and except long-term stability up to 5-years. If you are reapplying thermal paste on your CPU or GPU then thoroughly cleaning off the old stuff is important. Τhe new NA-SCW1 cleaning wipes, are ideal for cleaning up after applying these materials. These wipes are pre-moistened with a custom detergent mixture, which makes it easy to clean contact surfaces prior or after cooler installation. If you are going to buy some Noctua thermal compound then you might be happy to know that a quantity of the NA-CW1 cleaning wipes will be provided for free. Standard 3.5g and extra-large 10g NT-H2 packages include three (3.5g) and ten (10g) NA-CW1 cleaning wipes, respectively. Meanwhile if you just need the wipes, a set of 20 (product code NA-SCW1) will be sold separately.

    For those who like to tinker with their computer system's cooling solution, this new product on the market that could be of considerable assistance. In the world of thermal matters, one degree can make or break a system.You've got plenty of choices when it comes to thermal compounds these days and you want the one that's going to give you best results and I think that's Noctua NT-H2.
    The suggested retail prices are as follows:

    NT-H2 3.5g: 12.90 EUR/USD
    NT-H2 10g: 24.90 EUR/USD
    NT-H1 3.5g: 7.90 EUR/USD
    NT-H1 10g: 14.90 EUR /USD
    NA-SCW1: 7.90 EUR/USD

    Last edited by testman78; 02-19-2019 at 09:00 PM.

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