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Study compares thermal conductivity of everyday products, including toothpaste, potato, cheese, ketchup, and baby cream

Using toothpaste as an alternative to proper thermal compound on GPUs and CPUs is something some have tried with mild success. Although it works, you're probably better off using a low-grade thermal paste. However, for those that may not have any at hand, there's another everyday product better than toothpaste that you can use – ketchup.

A user named AssassinWarlord over at the ComputerBase forum has been testing some thermal product alternatives. Besides various thermal compounds and everyday products like the commonly used toothpaste, the enthusiast also tried potato, cheese, baby cream, and ketchup. The tests were run on an AMD Radeon R7 240, a 30W TDP graphics card that can even be cooled passively.

Image credit: Computerbase (AssassinWarlord)

Surprisingly, ketchup was the best of all everyday products, with the GPU peaking at 71ºC. The second best product was toothpaste, which let the GPU heat up to 90ºC. Every other non-thermal paste product made the GPU throttle at varying levels. The table below includes all the results of the testing:

Product Temperature Throttling level
0.5mm Arctic TP2 79 °C
0.5mm EC360 Blue 105 °C 2
0.5mm EKWB 105 °C 3
1mm Alphacool Apex 11W/mK 66 °C
1mm Arctic TP2 105 °C 1
1mm Arctic TP3 61 °C
1mm EC360 Gold 76 °C
1.5mm Arctic TP2 105 °C 2
1.5mm Arctic TP3 68 °C
1.5mm TG Minus8 105 °C 1
Double-sided thermal pad with aluminium 105 °C Shutdown
Copper tape 105 °C 3
Cheese 105 °C 1
Potato 105 °C 3
Arctic MX4 49 °C
54 °C
Amasan T12 63°C
Silver-based paste 65 °C
Ketchup 71 °C
Toothpaste 90 °C
Penaten baby cream 105 °C 1
Copper-based paste 105 °C 1

The throttling levels are classified in the following manner: unthrottled, the GPU clocks at 780Mhz at 1,150V. The throttle level 1 means the GPU dropped its clock speed to 730Mhz at 1,050V. In throttle level 2, the GPU was running at 400Mhz at 1,050V, and on level 3 at 300Mhz at 1,050V.

Despite the decent results of ketchup, we recommend you keep using thermal compounds to conduct the heat generated by chips. Considering how cheap they usually are, it's not worth risking your components just to save a few pounds.

KitGuru says: What other everyday products would you like to see tested as an alternative to thermal paste?

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