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Arctic Silver Céramique: Arctic Silver have been working hard on a new compound that isn't conductive, and infact doesn't contain silver at all. The new compounds name is Ceramique and as the name describes, this is a Ceramic based solution.
 
 
Date: July 21, 2003
Catagory: Cases & Cooling
Manufacturer:
Written By:
 

are probably no stranger to you if you're an enthusiast. Even if your not you probably have heard of them. There claim to fame is there line up of performance thermal compounds, which as the name suggests contain silver to aid in thermal transfer. However silver not only conducts heat but also electricity and whilst the amount of silver in there products is very low, some users are a bit wary of using such compounds. To this end, have been working hard on a new compound that isn't conductive, and infact doesn't contain silver at all. The new compounds name is Ceramique and as the name describes, this is a Ceramic based solution. Let's see how it performs shall we?

Specifications and Information

The high-density, ceramic-based thermal compound specifically designed for modern high-power CPUs and high-performance heatsinks or water-cooling solutions.

Made with micronized aluminum oxide, boron nitride and zinc oxide
Ceramique uses a high-density layered composite of five unique shapes of thermally conductive aluminum oxide, boron nitride and zinc oxide sub-micron pArcticles to maximize pArcticle-to-pArcticle contact area and thermal transfer.
This exclusive combination provides performance exceeding most metal based compounds.
Average pArcticle size: 0.38 microns <0.000015 inch
( 67 pArcticles lined up in a row equal 1/1000th of an inch. )

Controlled triple phase viscosity.

Ceramique does not contain any silicone.

The suspension fluid is a proprietary mixture of advanced polysynthetic oils that provide superior performance and long-term stability.

During the system's initial use, the heat from the CPU lowers the viscosity of the compound to enhance the filling of the microscopic valleys and ensure a minimum bond line between the heatsink and the CPU core. Then the compound thickens slightly over the next 100 to 300 hours of use to its final consistency designed for long-term stability.

(This should not be confused with conventional phase change pads that are pre-attached to many heatsinks. Those pads melt each time they get hot then re-solidify when they cool. The viscosity changes that Ceramique goes through are much more subtle and ultimately much more effective.)

A Closer Look

Ceramique comes in a new style syringe of 2.7 grams (there is also a 22 gram syringe available) which Arctic Silver are hoping will lead to less wasted compound in the syringe, since with this new design you know there's none left when the plunger is completely flush with the flange. Unlike previous compounds from Arctic Silver, Ceramique is based on a Ceramic mix of aluminium oxide, boron nitride and zinc oxide. Unlike Arctic Silver, it doesn't conduct electricity and in-fact is an electrical insulator, neither conducting nor has any capacitance properties. Arctic Silver recommends 12 hours of use to cure the compound so all of our testing has been done with this in mind.

You can see that the Ceramique is a white colour and has a pretty thick consistency, making it more difficult to spread than its silver cousins. However whilst it is more difficult to spread (in so much as the pressure you need), it isn't a problem just a comparison, and in actual fact spreads out evenly. Application is pretty much the same as before, you apply the compound to the core of the CPU (in the case of AMD chips) or to the heatspreader (for Intel P4's). You're aiming to get a very thin and even coating, wafer thin.

Arctic Silver also recommends that you apply some to the HSF, specifically in the area that will mate with the CPU. So apply a little to this area and rub it in, then rub it off with a lint free cloth. This ensures that any microscopic holes that are on the core/heatspreader and the HSF are filled. You can get full instructions

Testing

Ok, let's get to the bit that I would guess most are waiting for and that's the Testing. We've tested the Ceramique on a P4 2.4C, with the Swiftech H20-8500.

As expected the generic Silicon Based Paste was the worst performing of all. It is within a few degree's of the other products but considering the price of each of these you might as well spend a few extra and get something that will maximize your heat transfer capabilities. All of the other products however performed pretty much on par with each other. The Ceramique performed as well as Arctic Silver III and the Nanotherm compound. So basically for one product to be better than another we need to find other advantages.

Conclusion

Arctic Silver have opted to create a compound that works just as well as its competitors and is no longer conductive, indeed Ceramique acts as an electrical insulator. Since it wont conduct electricity, there's no reason you will 'Void your AMD Warranty' by using this. Ceramique is also just as capable in its thermal transfer properties as its silver based brethren making it a good choice. Ceramique, whilst thicker in consistency is in my opinion easy to apply and a lot less messy than the silver, although you will certainly need some card or a razor blade to smooth it out properly. It also cleans up just as easily as any other compound I've worked with. There's not really that much you can say about thermal compound, it either works well or it doesn't; in this case it does work well.

Considering it is just as capable as others on the market, comes in a neat and easy to use syringe, applies well, and is non-conductive, I'm going to give it a recommended award.

Pros
Applies evenly
Less messy due to thicker consistency than Arctic Silver III
Non-Conductive
Performs on par with other compounds
Easy to use syringe
Cleans up easily enough

Cons
None

Bottom Line
There really isn't that much difference in performance when it comes to thermal compounds, but Arctic Silver Ceramique is non-conductive, easy to apply and keeps up with the competition.

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