TikToker boosts CPU cooling performance by adding salt to thermal paste

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,573   +174
Staff member
Bottom line: Salt is corrosive and can accelerate the corrosion of metal. Adding salt to a moist material like thermal compound then sandwiching it between a CPU cooler and heatspreader sounds like a long-term recipe for disaster.

Hardware enthusiasts have no shortage of choices when it comes to thermal interface material. Options exist across a plethora of price and performance categories with solutions varying in terms of ease of application, electrical conductivity and material composition.

Generally speaking, I suspect most probably reach for a mid-grade paste and don't think twice about it after installation. For others, unlocking every performance advantage is part of the fun. TikTok user mryeester falls squarely into the latter category.

The content creator is well known for conducting zany experiments on computer hardware. Most are total goofs, like using orange juice instead of water in a liquid cooling loop or stacking multiple fans on top of each other, but occasionally things get interesting.

@mryeester Reply to @nn.dimethyltryptamine grinding up the salt to mix with thermal paste! #pc #pctips #thermalpaste #mryeester ♬ original sound - Lonely Bunker

While testing alternative thermal paste recipes, mryeester discovered that adding crushed salt to a generic TIM improved CPU temperatures under load by a couple of degrees Celsius. Does that mean you should immediately remove your cooler and mix in some sodium chloride? No, probably not.

If you're hell-bent on shaving a couple of degrees, there are much safer alternatives to achieve the same goal.

Spending a few bucks on a quality TIM with a respectable conductivity value will no doubt help, as will upgrading your cooler (moving from an OEM cooler to a premium air cooler or AIO kit, for example). Others have found success in experimenting with application methods. Another possibility is improving airflow in your case, perhaps through better cable management or by switching to fans that move more air. Noctua is known for making great case fans that are relatively quiet.

Taking it a step further, lowering your CPU's voltage will reduce the amount of heat generated but could come at the cost of system stability. If all else fails, kicking the AC down a couple of degrees will always do the trick.

Image credit: Mika Baumeister

Permalink to story.

 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,355   +4,362
"Generally speaking, I suspect most probably reach for a mid-grade paste and don't think twice about it after installation."
Honestly, I just look for something cheap because the temperature difference between what could be called the best and what could be called the worst is about 7.5°C across MANY different thermal pastes (a maximum difference of only 13.5%).
x55gSEMYGi2YaPGFWHKGs6-970-80.png.webp

I personally used Arctic Silver Ceramique in the past because newegg always had it for a good price but I found some stuff on eBay called HY-510 that cost me less than $5 for a gigantic 30g tube of the stuff. I've used it on my stepfather's R9-3900X, my own R5-3600X and my own R7-5700X. It works just fine and it only proves that blowing your wallet on Kryonaut Thermal Grizzly is only worth it if you REALLY want to overclock your CPU to the moon and need that extra few degrees.

Here's the video that convinced me to buy the HY-510. Check this out:
Now, Noctua NT-H1 is a popular and well-respected thermal paste. For a paste as cheap as HY-510 to just match the NT-H1 would be an amazing feat but the HY-510 actually beats the NT-H1 by 3.3°C. That's only a 4% advantage but it's big enough that on Tom's chart, it would be in first place at 34.5°C!

I'm not sure what CPU he's using but it doesn't really matter because with the same cooler, the same CPU, the same ambient temperature and the same test, any comparison results between different thermal pastes would be 100% valid. It's also worth pointing out that this channel is from the Philippines and there are few countries hotter than that.
 
Last edited:

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 889   +1,418
I use pure water as my thermal paste and the CPU stays flat at room temperature the entire time. My CPU will fail long before its metal corrodes even a bit, giving water a major advantage over a salt-enriched thermal paste. I learned this trick from HowToBasic if anyone is curious, his tutorials are the best:
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,355   +4,362
Hmmmm...I feel like it needs some Pepper to go with that salt
I dunno... I've always found that pepper makes things hotter. :laughing:
I bet you can achieve better and yummier results with a nice amount of caramel sauce.
I might burn my tongue on the heat spreader! :laughing:
Now, since you like caramel sauce, I'm about to torture you with something that you can only get in the Canadian province of Québec. It's called Tarte au Sucre but in English, it's known as Sugar Pie. A much better name for it would be Maple Pie and it is nothing short of an oralgasm with every bite. It's so sweet that you need vanilla ice cream to cut it. It's to die for:
product_image.img.1024.png

I gave it a horror movie monster nickname, "The Diabetic Nightmare". :laughing:
 

PEnnn

Posts: 1,010   +1,361
I dunno... I've always found that pepper makes things hotter. :laughing:

I might burn my tongue on the heat spreader! :laughing:
Now, since you like caramel sauce, I'm about to torture you with something that you can only get in the Canadian province of Québec. It's called Tarte au Sucre but in English, it's known as Sugar Pie. A much better name for it would be Maple Pie and it is nothing short of an oralgasm with every bite. It's so sweet that you need vanilla ice cream to cut it. It's to die for:
product_image.img.1024.png

I gave it a horror movie monster nickname, "The Diabetic Nightmare". :laughing:
I looked it up and sounds like a great recipe actually! Adding it to my collection...

I got hooked on another Canadian (Montreal) recipe, the Butter Tart (with raisins, brown sugar and eggs, etc for the filling). It's addictive!

Canadians are evil, throwing such addictive recipes at us people with a sweet tooth!!:)