Hardware enthusiasts are always looking for ways to lower temperatures to increase processor performance. Some would even go to extreme lengths, such as grinding the heat spreader on a Ryzen 7000 CPU on a belt sander. (Opens in a new tab). I’m serious.
TikToker, Mryeester (Opens in a new tab)when he’s not making weird thermal paste designs (Opens in a new tab), wanted to see if adding salt to thermal paste could be the secret ingredient to unlocking supercooling. Spoilers: It wasn’t.
According to his theory, since the thermal conductivity of iodized salt is higher than some thermal pastes, mixing the two would create a miracle gloop with better heat transfer. As Mryeester stated in his video, tests showed that temperatures rose 20 degrees above normal. The problem is that salt rocks are thick, which creates a small gap between the CPU and the cooler, where you want as much contact as possible.
To learn more about the experiment of the people who know cooling best, I reached out to Noctua. A hardware manufacturer who knows a thing or two about CPU cooling; explained to me why it’s a bad idea to put salt in your thermal paste (or any other foreign substance while we’re at it).
After initially asking if I was serious, which is my daily routine of asking hardware pros if it’s a good idea to make a ridiculous PC mod I saw online, the company said “it’s not”. I don’t recommend doing that,” then went on to give several reasons why you shouldn’t mix salt with your thermal paste.
@mryeester (Opens in a new tab)
♬ Aesthetics – Tollan Kim (Opens in a new tab)
“The thermal conductivity of salt is much lower than that of common filler materials such as aluminum oxide or other metal oxides,” a representative told me. “Also, the salt particles prevent the cooler from making good contact with the CPU, the thermal performance will be poor due to poor contact. Finally, there is a high risk of corrosion problems.”
Part of me was hoping that salt would be a cheap and easy way to improve CPU cooling, so you can imagine my disappointment that it wasn’t. I’m glad there are still hardware adventurers willing to risk precious PC gaming components in these wild experiments, though, so I don’t have to.