Prolimatech PK2, PK3 TIM
We are only as strong as our weakest link, this becomes apparent when we start looking at our Thermal Interfacing Material (TIM), or commonly referred to as thermal paste/compound, because the cooling efficiency of our computers is greatly determined on how well the heat that is produced from a computer component (Ex. CPU) gets transferred to our heat sinks (Ex. CPU cooler).
When it comes time to choosing the right thermal paste/compound for our computer systems, we have a multitude of options that we can choose from. These choices range from the standard silicon based formula to the more elaborate silver based formulas, and just about everything in between. We also need to keep in mind that not all thermal pastes/compounds are created equal, some do very well while others fail miserably. So which brings us to how do we choose the right thermal paste for our computer systems. We can do one of three things to determine on what is the best thermal paste/compound for our computers: We can start purchasing various different types of thermal compounds and try each one out on our computer until we find one that best suits our computing needs, which will get rather costly and very time consuming. We can ask around in our favorite computer related forums for assistance, which will both help us and at the same time confuse us. To finally, we can start reading reviews of thermal paste/compounds at our favorite computer related review sites, for instance here at Legit Reviews. Or, we can do a combination of any of the above.
Over here at Legit Reviews, we happen to be looking at two newer additions of thermal paste/compounds from Prolimatech, the PK2, and the PK3. These two thermal paste/compounds come in three different volumes, 1.5g, 5g, and a large volume of 30g tubes. The volumes we will be looking over here at Legit Reviews are the 5g volumes of thermal paste/compound. The price ranges for the PK2 thermal paste/compound from 4.99 USD for a 1.5g tube, 11.99 USD for a 5g tube, 31.99 USD for a 30g. While the PK3 thermal paste/compound ranges from 6.49 USD for a 1.5g tube, 14.99 USD for a 5g tube, and finally 34.99 USD for a 30g tube, all volumes of Prolimatech's thermal paste/compounds come with free shipping.
Prolimatech Thermal Compound PK2 Specifications
- Specific Gravity: 2.5g/cm³
- Adhesiveness: 250000Cps
- Thermal Conductivity: 10.2 W/m-℃
- Thermal Impedance: 0.015 ℃-in²/W
- Included One syringe of thermal compound and one easy-spread card(1.5g) One Syringe of thermal compound and one easy-to-spread spoon(5g、30g
Prolimatech Thermal Compound PK3 Specifications
- Specific Gravity: 2.7g/cm³
- Adhesiveness: 330000 Cps
- Thermal Conductivity: 11.2 W/m-℃
- Thermal Impedance: 0.013 ℃-in²/W
- Included: One syringe of thermal compound and one easy-spread card(1.5g) One Syringe of thermal compound and one easy-to-spread spoon(5g、30g)
Given the specifications of each one of these thermal compounds, a quick look through the difference between these two thermal compounds (at least the only difference I am more concerned with) is that the PK2 thermal paste has a thermal conductivity of 10.2 M/w-°C, while the PK3 thermal compound has a thermal conductivity of 11.2 M/w-°C. In laymen terms, the higher the number in M/w-°C means the better thermal conductivity of the thermal paste.
Prolimatech’s Pk2 and Pk3 Packaging
Prolimatech keeps the packaging of the two thermal paste/compounds pretty simple. The only real difference between these two, in terms of packing, is the PK2 thermal paste comes in a green package (one on the right in image), while the PK3 thermal paste comes in an orange colored package (one on the left).
Prolimatech prints the general specifications of each thermal paste/compounds onto two sides of each packaging.
Then on the final side, Prolimatech prints the general features of the two thermal paste/compounds onto the packaging. The key features I am only concerned with are: Non-conductivity, and both of these thermal paste/compounds require no burn-in time, basically means that these do not require a lengthy period of time to get maximum results.
Looking at the PK2, PK3 TIM Up Close
Prolimatech uses a syringe style of applicator to make ease of application as simple as possible, also Prolimatech color codes each type of thermal paste. Once again the orange colored syringe is the PK3 (left), The green colored syringe is the PK2 thermal compound. Prolimatech also includes into each packaging a spreader, this is used to evenly spread the thermal paste across the surface of our heat producing computer component (Ex. CPU).
I wanted to know what the consistency of each thermal paste is prior to applying them to my computer. I ended up using the back side of a CD/DVD jewel case and then placed a small portion of each thermal paste onto it. I then used the spreader and smeared each one. From the looks of it, these two thermal paste/compounds have about the same even consistency to them, they do not appear to be too thick, nor do they appear to be too thin; which, should make applying both of these thermal paste/compounds onto various heat producing computer components easy.
Now it is time to see how these two thermal pastes spread out once applied to the top of a CPU. The CPU pictured here, is an Intel Core i7 3820. Since both thermal pastes from Prolimatech have the same consistency, I will only be showing one application of the thermal paste onto the CPU, that thermal paste I chose was the PK2 thermal paste.
Since I don’t get very good results when I spread the thermal paste evenly across the top of the CPU (I could never get a nice uniform coat of thermal paste across the entire surface of the CPU), I decided to use a five dot pattern. This is only a test fit, as I wanted to see the thermal paste dispersion pattern once it has been applied to a CPU. I will make adjustments to the amount of thermal paste after this test fitting.
With just using the weight of my hand being pressed up against the CPU water block and then removing it, I can see that the Prolimatech’s PK2, and PK3 thermal compounds spreads out quite evenly across the entire surface of the CPU.
Legit Reviews Testing System
I will be testing the PK2 and Pk3 thermal paste/compounds with my water cooled computer that is currently using the Intel Core i7 3820 CPU. I will not be including the default CPU core speeds for reasons that while using the default CPU core speed of 3.8 GHz the differences between each tested thermal paste/compound did not provide me with enough temperature variation, this variation was roughly about 1°C while using this default CPU core speed of 3.8GHz. So, instead I decided to use a set of strict guidelines that will give me a more reliable temperature variation between each of the tested thermal paste/compounds.
These guide lines will be:
- Each of the thermal paste/compounds will not have a settle in time, the minute the computer booted into Microsoft’s Windows 7, I immediately started my four LinX runs.
- For idle temperatures I allowed the CPU to throttle itself down to 1.4GHz.
- For full load testing results the CPU will maintain an overclock of 4.8GHz.
- Each of the tested thermal paste/compounds will be applied exactly the same way (for this I used a five dot pattern)
- The target average temperature of the CPU will be no more than 75°C, +/- a couple of degrees.
For the testing purposes I will be be running 20 loops on an 64bit version LinX x 4 runs on each of the tested thermal paste/compounds. I will record the highest temperature achieved out of these four LinX runs, on all four cores of the Intel Core i7 3820 CPU, of both idle temperatures and full load temperatures. The program I will be using to monitor the temperature of the CPU will be Core Temp 1.0 RC3. For idle temperatures, I allowed the computer to remain on the desktop for 30minutes after all four of the LinX runs were completed.
Ambient air temperature of the room conducting this review/test remained about 20.5°C, +/- 0.3 °C.
A list of all of the included thermal compounds used in this review:
- Gelid GC-Extreme
- Antec Formula 7 Diamond based compound
- Prolimatech’s PK2 Aluminum based compound
- Prolimatech’s PK3 Aluminum based compound
Since I have explained all of the rules and what I will be including as comparison out of the way, it’s time to see how well the Prolimatech’s PK2 and PK3 performs.
PK2 and PK3 Temperature Results
Even though I have listed all of the temperatures of each one of the cores of the Intel Core i7 3820 CPU, I will be taking the average of each one of the tested thermal paste/compounds, this is achieved by adding each one of the individual cores of that specific thermal paste/compound then dividing that by four.
Now looking at the average CPU temperatures from all of the tested thermal paste/compounds, the Gelid GC-Extreme gave us the best average CPU temperature of 28°C; which, I will use as my base line CPU temperature. Being, followed by the Antec Formula 7 compound which comes in at 29.25°C which is a 1.25°C increase. With the PK3 thermal paste/compound it comes in third place with an average CPU temperature of 30.25°C which is an increase of 2.25°C when we compare it to the GC Extreme. And finally, the PK2 thermal paste/compound average CPU temperature of 31.25°C which is an increase of 3.25°C when comparing it to the GC Extreme, putting this compound in last place.
While knowing what the CPU idle temperature is, and important to know, it is not a true test of how our thermal paste/compounds perform. It is the full load testing of the CPU that will make or break our cooling efficiency of our computers. So let’s move on to the full load testing results and see how the Prolimatech’s PK2 and PK3 thermal paste/compounds compare.
Let’s get the average of all of the tested thermal paste/compounds and see how things compare then. Like what I did during the idle load testing, I will be using the Gelid GC Extreme as my base line CPU temperature. The average temperature of the GC Extreme is 65.5°C. Averaging up the CPU temperatures of the Antec Formula 7 we get 65.25°C which is a decrease of 0.25°C when we compare it to the GC Extreme temperature. When we compare the PK3 average CPU temperature of 68°C to the GC Extreme average temperature of 65.5 we get an increase of 2.5°C. And finally looking at the average CPU temperature of the PK2 thermal paste/compound we have 69.25°C which is an increase of 3.75°C when compared to the average CPU temperature of 65.5 with the GC Extreme.
Final Thoughts on PK2 and PK3 Thermal Pastes
These two thermal paste/compounds from Prolimatech, the PK2 and the PK3, not only were easy to apply, these two thermal paste/compounds were able to keep way below my targeted average CPU core temperature of 75°C by almost 6°C. Not to forget, that both of these thermal paste/compounds require a no cure time, or burn in time; which means that we do not have to wait for this thermal paste/compounds to have a wait time to get maximum results. The more I think about the performance of these two thermal paste/compounds, the PK2 and PK3 from Prolimatech, the more I realize that these two thermal paste/compounds performed well above and beyond what I originally expected them to perform at.
Prolimatech offers 3 different volumes of each one of the thermal paste/compounds to better fit our individual computing needs, the volumes that these two thermal compounds come in are 1.5g, 5g, and finally Prolimatech offers a large volume of 30g; which, only a few thermal paste/compound manufacturers provide such a large volume of thermal paste/compound of 30 grams. The pricing of each individual volume for both of the PK2 and Pk3 thermal paste/compounds are:
PK2 Thermal Paste/Compound Volumes
PK3 Thermal Paste/Compound Volumes
All volumes of the PK2 and the PK3 thermal paste/compounds come with free shipping and handling.
When we look at the cost of the Prolimatech PK3 thermal paste/compound and compare that directly to the cost of Gelid's GC-Extreme thermal paste/compound, we start to see the value of the PK3 thermal paste/compound. Gelid's GC-Extreme thermal paste comes in a 3.5g volume tube that has a cost of $12.99, which ends up being $3.71 per gram. When we do the same to Prolimatech's PK3 with a volume of 5g at a cost of $14.99 we end up having a cost of just about $3 per gram; which ends up being $0.71 cheaper per gram. This is 20% cheaper per gram then Gelid's GC-Extreme thermal paste/compound. When we compare temperature to temperature the difference between Gelid's GC-Extreme and Prolimatech's PK3 at full load there is a 4% performance difference. At the end of the day, Prolimatech's PK3 thermal paste/compound is only 4% warmer and costs 20% cheaper per gram then Gelid GC-Extreme. I feel Prolimatech did a very good job of balancing cost per gram and performance quite nicely with the PK2 and the PK3 thermal paste/compounds.
Legit Bottom Line:
The Prolimatech PK2, and PK3 are a perfect candidate for anyone needing a good thermal paste that is not only easy to apply to various computer components, it also will give us good thermal control of those high heat producing computer components.