High-performance thermal paste is essential for keeping electronic devices in their ideal temperature range, preventing them from overheating and damaging themselves or posing a risk to users. Thermal paste is used to fill in microscopic gaps between a chip and its metal heat sink, improving the transfer of heat from the chip to the cooler.
Many different products are available for purchase from the various major PC manufacturers. While most of them offer high-quality performance, some are better than others depending on the application and usage scenario.
The most important metric to pay attention to when selecting a high-performance thermal paste is its thermal conductivity, listed in W/mK (watts per meter Kelvin). However, there are other metrics that can be useful as well. For instance, specific gravity is a measurement of how dense the product is, which can also affect how easy it is to apply.
Some high-performance pastes use suspended metallic particles, which can have an even better thermal conductivity than copper. The problem is that these compounds are often electrically conductive and should not be used on chips without a heatspreader or in areas with nearby exposed components, as they may short circuit the device or cause it to malfunction.
Unlike liquid metal, traditional thermal compounds are not electrically conductive and can be safely applied by users of all experience levels. The Gelid GC-Extreme is an example of a traditional compound that offers good stability during application, requiring only slow consistent pressure on the syringe plunger. It also has an excellent level of cleanliness upon application, which makes it a favorite among system builders.High-performance thermal paste