Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Completely puts the competition on ice
A recent need to repair my cooler brought about the chance for my first forray into liquid metal and an opportunity to pit two heavyweights of the liquid metal world against one another. Those two are Grizzly's Conductonaut & Coollaboratories' Liquid Pro.
My test setup:
CPU: AMD FX-9590 - the last of the vanguards and a known oven that will instantly heat up to 70+ celsius and shutdown PCs without proper cooling
Motherboard: Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z
Cooling: Corsair - H115i - An AiO watercooler
Ram: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Trident 2400mhz
GPU: EVGA 980 Ti Classified Edition
Things to note about liquid metal usage:
DO NOT USE WITH ALUMINUM! Liquid metal can and will bond with other metals, leaving some scarring or even worse pitting where the metal essentially "rots." This is why there are "DON'T USE ON ALUMINUM!" signs everywhere. On top of that the aluminum dust created from this compound can just "explode" since the chemical reaction creates water. So yeah... Don't use on aluminum surfaces. Nickel and copper are fine though as both either have none or with the latter very minimal damage when reacting with liquid metal (usually light-medium stains.)
Soldered CPUs will have minimal temperature changes. Due to them directly soldered, they are already setup for maximum thermal efficiency. With liquid metal, you get maximum thermal efficiency from delidding the CPU and having the delidded CPU die directly touch the heatsink, something which can't be done with AMD or any other solder CPUs like Intel's 9980XE.
The whole delidding and scarring from liquid metal that defaces the CPU voids the warranty as most manufacturer's warranty is voided once the serial number of the CPU can no longer be seen.
You want to apply as thin a layer of liquid metal as possible. If you see any bubbles or if it moves when you turn it to the side, you put too much. Just use one drop and "paint it on."
For this test I applied the Conductonaut to both my CPU & GPU. It's packaging is just fantastic. Grizzly has done almost everything possible to make things as easy as possible. It comes with two black japanese q-tips. These are tightly wound and won't fall apart with use which is EXTREMELY important as it means they won't compromise the compound. There is also an curled applicator tip for the syringe as well as an suction tip for retrieving extra liquid metal. It also comes with two 70% (yuck) isopropyl alcohol pads.
As far as differences from the Liquid Pro there are a good number. Conductonaut is much easier to spread and does so beautifully. The q-tips don't fall apart and work fantastically. You can even put the q-tips in a plastic bag and reapply the left over metal next time. The curled tip works wonders as you don't have to awkwardly hold the tube vertical over the CPU to apply. It also doesn't just squirt out like the liquid pro, you're able to control the amount that comes out much better. The alcohol pads were a bit too small and a little too wet, but aren't comically oversized like Coollaboratories' pad and I didn't have to wring them out either unlike Coollaboratories which was soaked in way too much alcohol.
Cold boot and idle temps took me back, upon boot it was 39 celsius and once idle in OS my temps were 28 celsius. I haven't had idle temps this low since I first applied diamond thermal paste years ago on my FX-8350. The 9590 has even worse heat dissipation as well as .7 GHz higher base clock and matches those temps which is impressive. So far this is a record on my 9590 as I don't believe I ever went under 36 with my diamond paste. The GPU sits at 38 celsius idle, down from the previous low 50s it sat at before.
"Launching another streaming session, Conductonaut shows liquid metal's strength."
I ran a torture test on Prime95 for over an hour. Temperatures hovered around 41-42 celsius and never rose above 45.
During a normal gaming session which consists of running a streaming client, chatbot, chat program, discord, stream preview through chrome and of course Monster Hunter World on 1080p high the temps stayed strong at 41-42 celsius on the CPU, down from the normal temps of 64 celsius of previous setups. The GPU held itself to 60 celsius, an 8 degree drop from the previous 68 celsius held by Liquid Pro and IC7 Diamond.
I was able to easily overclock the FX-9590 to 5.02GHz without any issue. Idle CPU Temps range from 29 celsius to mid-30s which is amazing.
Launching another streaming session Conductonaut shows liquid metal's strength, it becomes more efficient as the temps go higher. With the 5.02GHz overclock CPU temps settled around 36 celsius, 5 degrees lower than when it wasn't overclocked!
The GPU held itself to 62 celsius this time around. I added +551 MHz overclock to the memory clock and +88 MHz to the GPU base clock. Keep in mind the 980 Ti classified comes pre-overclocked so things are getting crazy!
I fired up UniEngine's Superposition benchmarks. On 1080p high GPU temps jumped to 70 celsius, well below the 85 they used to be. Average FPS was 77 with a max of 94 fps. Score ended up being 10251 with no errors which puts it at #7 as far as single 980 Ti rankings on high. Not bad considering its getting beat by Ryzens and 8700Ks.
Pushing my luck I added another +100 MHz to the mem clock and pushed the GPU clock to +128MHz. With a +651 MHz mem clock and +128 MHz GPU clock, the anomaly filled test crashed. I lowered the mem clock to +600 MHz and GPU clock to +115MHz. There were still some anomalies, but it survived with temps never going above 61 celsius (fans were at 100%.) A score of 10459 bumps me up to #6 with #1 being 10938.
Now on to the torture tests on the CPU. Prime 95 failed miserably. Immediately 2 cores failed. Upon restarting the test the entire PC froze. I upped the CPU voltage from 1.48 to 1.5 to see if it's a power draw issue. Minimum temps rose 2 degrees from this change ,but maximum temps stayed the same. The test stayed on for a few minutes before freezing again. After increasing to 1.51 it still did the same. Lowering the voltage back to 1.47 and the overclock to 4.92GHz things were stable once again and Prime95 ran without issues for an hour. CPU temps never got past 42 celsius during the test. Not quite the triumphant thrill of breaking that 5GHz wall, but I'll take it!
Overall Conductonaut shows why it is #1 in the liquid metal market. The competition isn't even close. From ease of application to performance Conductonaut leaves everyone behind with no hopes of catching up in its wake. Tests show considerable drops in temperatures vs. the competition, almost 20 degrees in some cases. This is going to be my only liquid metal supplier until someone dethrones them since I'm pleasantly surprised by the results.
5 out of 5 stars
If you want to pick up some Conductonaut you can find it at the link below: