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:
|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|
|Arctic MX4||49 °C|
|Silver-based paste||65 °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?