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I dont have thermal grease, what is a good alternative?

Years ago I used silver paint and it worked well.

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7  
You might experiment with alternatives, but why take the risk when thermal paste is cheap? –  Stephen Jennings May 6 '11 at 5:47
3  
You're going to risk a $50-300+ part for want of $8 of thermal grease? –  jcollum Dec 13 '13 at 0:40
2  
Stephen and Collum, ever consider availability? Maybe that person lives somewhere where thermal paste is not available in stores and they can’t order it online; not everywhere is the United States. Remember, the Internet is global. –  Synetech Dec 13 '13 at 1:33
    
There are some interesting answers below. However, without documented proof that they work and are safe to use, I wouldnt try them unless you accept the risk of damaging your electronics. –  Keltari Jan 7 at 15:23

5 Answers 5

Unless it's an emergency just wait until you have thermal paste. If it is an emergency:

Thermal paste mostly works due to the zinc oxide. The best TEMPORARY fix is to use diaper rash cream from a grocery store.

It's important to remember though that while both products are nearly identical, diaper rash cream has a lot of extra stuff including a higher water content so use just a tiny drop on the end of a toothpick and replace it with real thermal paste ASAP.

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I don't know if it's the best one, but it works well. –  Pedro Werneck Mar 6 at 15:00

Toothpaste (non grit) and pencil lead shavings work well together, I got a 10 degree Celsius decrease using this method.

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This thread seems to suggest some interesting options:

  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Silver Paint
  • Tin Foil
  • Liquid Metal

Take these suggestions with a pinch of salt. I'd just order more online.

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4  
"Pinch of salt" here being a figure of speech :-) –  Sirex May 6 '11 at 11:31
1  
Don't forget JBweld, read an article back before 1ghz processors came out, they found JBweld did a better job than thermal paste, only one problem, it tends to be permanent. –  Moab May 6 '11 at 15:08
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Actually, tin-foil was the first McGyver solution that popped into my head, but of course, it is essentially pointless because it is solid and thus leaves the air-pockets unaffected, so it is no different that not using it at all. Also, with a thermal conductivity of up to 1,462.5 times that of air, a pinch of salt actually would be practical, literally. –  Synetech Dec 13 '13 at 1:45

This page tests various temporary solutions, some of which cooled better than 8-year-old stock goop:

Degrees Celsius, idle and load in 6 C room:

 1. Dielectric Silicone:  22, 34
 2. Liquid Gel Deodorant: 23, 34
 3. Crest Toothpaste:     22, 35
 4. X-Balm Chapstic:      23, 35
 5. Antiseptic Gel:       25, 36 (cools about as well as stock TIM)
 6. High Temp Grease:     23, 38
 7. Hair Molding Clay:    25, 38
 8. Aluminum Foil:        25, 38
 9. Raspberry Preserves:  25, 40+
10. Anti Seize Lubricant: 26, 42
11. No TIM:               27, 45
12. Creamy Peanut Butter: 27, 53

In 18 C room:

 1. Mayonnaise:           31, 45
 2. Ranch Dressing:       30, 47
 3. Shaving Gel:          33, 47
 4. Easy Cheese:          33, 48
 5. American Cheese:      35, 49
 6. Candle Wax:           33, 51
 7. Chewing Gum:          38, 51
 8. Plastic Wrap:         40, 60
 9. Paper:                38, 72+
10. Duct Tape:            41, 85+
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On a recent assembly, my thermal paste was dried up so I ran without. Big No-No. I was pushing temps of 87 idle topping @ 106 before thermal overload and system shutdown.

I did some quick research and decided on 'Anti-Seize' as an alternative mainly because I had it on hand. I've been running for a week now on a 130 watt processor (as of July 29, 2015) with idle temps at 47 C & full load at 58 C.

Published Operating range is 5 - 68.6 C so I can live with those temps.

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Thanks for your answer. But focus more on answering the question and leave out extraneous information like build parts and cost. –  EntropyWins Jul 29 at 22:52

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