Thermal paste is one of the most important parts of building a computer. It transfers heat from the CPU to the heat sink and prevents it from overheating, which causes stuttering, throttling, and blue screens.
A great thermal paste fills microscopic imperfections and prevents air bubbles, which are a poor conductor and hinder heat dissipation. The best thermal pastes are easy to apply, have good density, and won’t leak.
It is a non-conductive material
The primary function of thermal paste is to ensure that the excess heat generated by a CPU or other chip is carried away from the chip and dissipated in the environment. It also helps eliminate air gaps that would hinder the transfer of heat. It also fills in imperfections that could cause electrical short-circuiting.
A thermal paste with good conductivity values is essential to keep components cool and functional, especially under heavy loads or overclocking scenarios. In addition, it should be long-lasting and not dry out quickly. This is particularly important for gamers and overclockers who use their computers extensively.
Some of the best non-conductive thermal pastes are made from liquid metal compounds, such as CoolLaboratory Liquid Ultra or the newer Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. These pastes consistently outperform traditional pastes by a margin of eight to ten degrees Celsius, giving users more leeway to overclock their processors. However, they are more expensive and require careful application due to their thickness.
It improves heat dissipation
Thermal paste improves the performance of an electronic device by transferring heat from the processor to the metal heat sink. The heat sink can then dissipate this heat into its surroundings. This process keeps the device at a safe temperature and prevents overheating, which can damage the component or lead to abnormal circuit operation.
The best thermal pastes have high conductivity and can fill in microscopic gaps between the processor and heat sink. They also prevent air bubbles, which have a low conductivity coefficient and act as an insulator, hindering heat transfer. This is especially important in microprocessors, which require high performance.
The best thermal compounds have a normal viscosity, stability during application, and easy cleanup. They also have good electrical non-conductive properties and a smooth, consistent spread. They also offer good adhesion between surfaces. A few popular examples are Gelid GC-Extreme and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut. Other options include a silicon-based thermal pad and polyimide films.
It prevents air bubbles
When you are using a thermal paste, it is important to apply it correctly. This will prevent air bubbles between the processor and the heat sink. Air is a poor conductor of heat and will hinder the ability of the heatsink to dissipate heat. The solution to this problem is to use a paste with a low viscosity and good stability. It should also be easy to work with and clean up. It should also be free of oil, which will transfer to the chip and degrade its performance.
The best thermal paste is made with a base matrix and a filler, such as silver or copper. Typical matrices are epoxies, silicones and urethanes. The fillers are usually carbon micro-particles, aluminum oxide, boron nitride or zinc oxide. These materials increase the base matrix’s thermal conductivity by reducing its thermal resistance. Some thermal compounds have different application techniques and prerequisites, so read the instructions for your CPU cooler carefully.
It is easy to apply
Thermal paste is a simple solution to a common problem in high-voltage electronics. It fills microscopic imperfections between a chip and its heat sink, improving heat transfer. This reduces temperatures and extends the lifespan of the device.
Most thermal pastes consist of ceramic or metallic materials suspended in a proprietary binder. They have moderate viscosity and good stability during application, making them easy to use and clean up. They also resist drips and runs, which makes them a favorite among system builders.
Some pastes use unoxidized metals such as silver, which is even more thermally conductive than copper. These are better suited for chips with heatspreaders and are safe to use, but they must not be used on exposed components or they could short-circuit them.
Most thermal pastes are sold in tubes and accompanied by small shovel-like tools for application. It is important to apply a thin, consistent layer of paste. Otherwise, it can clog the heatsink or inhibit proper air flow.