Although thermal compound is already applied to coolers, it’s a good idea to purchase and apply new paste when installing a CPU for PC enthusiasts who wish to attain improved temperatures at stock speeds. This is due to the fact that the thermal compound included with the cooler is frequently rather dated because it was lying on a shelf for months prior to being purchased. Therefore, while maintaining a low CPU temperature may be effective, it is unlikely to result in the optimum outcomes. Additionally, the thermal paste must be changed yearly. Eventually, it starts to dry out and lose its effectiveness. When it’s ignored for too long, the computer begins to run slowly and progressively overheats. Over time, this can harm the CPU.
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What is Thermal Compound? Why is Thermal Compound so Important?
This substance, which is put between the heatsink and the device it’s intended to cool, is a heat-conductive substance also known as thermal paste, thermal grease, or conductive grease. It enhances conductivity between the CPU and heatsink. The processor’s surplus energy is safely dissipated by the heatsink outside of the device, where it is removed by the fan or another cooling device.
To assist in ensuring that the system stays at a comfortable temperature, this thermal interface material can also be used between different parts. This results in a significant gain in thermal performance and aids in preventing overheating, both of which lengthen the CPU’s useful life.
How Thermal Compound Works?
A thermal compound operates in a very straightforward manner to assist in enhancing heat conduction. There are minute flaws on CPUs, heatsinks, and coolers that are invisible to the naked eye. These minute imperfections can trap air, which reduces the heatsink’s overall performance. As you are surely aware, air does not conduct heat well, and heatsinks are made to do just that.
The optimum potential performance of the surfaces is achieved through the smoothing out of these microscopic gaps on and between the surfaces by the thermal compound. The heat is then effectively transferred away from the component producing it by the heatsink.
The thermal compound is ideal for use as a conduit to enable improved heat transmission because the grooves between the processor’s heatsink and that chip’s heatsink aren’t exactly even. It is crucial for gaming PCs in particular that all the energy is absorbed by the CPU grease to guarantee that it only gets to the heatsink and not to any of the internal computer circuits.
Not All Thermal Paste are the same
It’s hardly surprising that the market for thermal compounds is so congested because they are a high-margin product. But it’s important to understand that no two products are exactly alike. While some pastes on the market claim to be able to endure temperatures of up to 300°C and even higher, the maximum temperature that a liquid metal thermal paste can withstand is 150°C.
The thermal and electrical conductivity, durability, and viscosity of a compound are all influenced by its composition. Pastes can be prepared with a variety of substances, such as:
Nanoparticles made of copper, silver, graphite, carbon, and other anti-oxidants
PC aficionados can choose among thermal compounds made of metal, silicon, carbon, or ceramic, but it’s important to pick one that has the right characteristics to meet their unique needs.
For instance, a gamer with a CPU that is overclocked at breakneck speed can select a metal paste with the best conduction capabilities to ensure that all the heat is effectively removed from the internals of their computer.
Thermal Compounds in Metal
These have the best heat conductivity, but they also have excellent electrical conductivity. This means that the paste must be applied to the metal contacts of the motherboard with the utmost care.
Thermal Ceramic Compounds
These are not conductive because they don’t contain any metal. These yield excellent outcomes, are substantially less expensive, and are safer to use. They are so well-liked because of this. They won’t, however, result in a temperature drop as significant as the liquid metal thermal paste.
Thermal Silicone Compounds
Thermal pads with these already on them are positioned between the processor and the heatsink. Although silicone thermal pastes are very simple to use, they don’t provide the same level of efficiency as other compounds.
Adhesive heat sink paste should be avoided because it adheres to components it is used on firmly. As a result, it would be difficult to replace the cooler, for example, if the need ever occurred.
Things to Consider When Buying Thermal Paste
Purchasing the incorrect paste can not only make the PC hotter, but it could also reduce its performance. Applying the proper amount of thermal gel will keep the CPU and GPU from overheating or overclocking.
These are a few things that PC enthusiasts should think about before investing in a thermal compound that will best increase the temperature and performance of their PC.
The paste’s thermal conductivity should be taken into account as a second component. For maximum versatility and complete dependability to keep your system secure and cool, it’s crucial to select a paste with the right thermal conductivity values. For how effectively it moves heat from the processor to the heatsink, each thermal paste has a rating for thermal conductivity. Even further reduction occurs when a paste’s thermal conductivity is higher than the combined temperature of its constituent parts.
Different liquids and non-metallic substances have varying degrees of conductivity. The conductivity of liquid thermal paste is typically 70W/mK (watts per square meter of surface area), while that of non-metallic compounds ranges from 4 to 10W/mK. The basic rule is that a compound will transfer heat more efficiently the higher its number rating.
Viscosity and Density
It’s crucial to pick a thermal paste with the proper density in order to improve the application procedure. This will make it possible for it to easily fit inside the CPU. Although liquid thermal paste is famously difficult to apply, it has a substantially lower density than regular thermal paste. Care must be given while selecting the paste to make sure that it has the proper consistency for applying it directly to the CPU or GPU without running the risk of damaging the components.
The substance will be thicker and more resembling a real paste as its viscosity increases. This kind of paste works well for attaching the processor’s heat sink compound. Lower viscosity substances are often more liquid and, when used in excess, have a tendency to leak easily onto the motherboard.
whether it is conducting or not
Absolute caution must be used while applying a thermal compound to the computer’s processor or other components because doing so could result in dangerous short circuits if the paste conducts electricity. It’s a good idea to select a carbon-based compound that is devoid of any electrical conductivity to ensure that there are no short circuits when the compound is applied. It is also possible to choose a substance with low conductivity to enable application without shorts, even if the paste comes in contact with any electrical parts.
TDP (Thermal Design Power)
The amount of electricity that a processor will consume is indicated by its thermal design power. This can be used as a rough guide to predict how hot it will get. A processor with a higher TDP will probably consume more power and produce a lot more heat as a result. This is another factor to take into account when selecting the best thermal compound to make sure it can withstand the heat produced to keep the components safe, cool, and operating at their peak performance. On the processor specifications, the TDP is stated.
If the cooling solution being used is not very effective, it will be nearly hard to lower the temperature of a system, even with the best thermal compound on the market. Users of PCs must ensure that the cooling system they are utilizing is capable of handling the amount of heat produced by their processor. If not, it won’t matter whether type of thermal compound is used.