Thermal Compound Roundup – February 2011

Introduction

The thermal compound, also known as thermal grease, is a key component to get the best cooling performance for your CPU. But are certain products better than others? In order to check this out, we tested thermal compounds from five different brands: Zalman, Prolimatech, Cooler Master, Evercool, and Spire. Let’s see what we’ve learned from this round-up.

For a better understanding on how the thermal compound works and how to correctly apply it, please read our How to Correctly Apply Thermal Grease tutorial. The most important thing that you have to have in mind is that it is a mistake to think that the more thermal grease you apply, the better. The thermal compound is a worse heat conductor than copper and aluminum (the metals usually found on cooler bases). So, if you apply more thermal compound than necessary it will actually lower the cooling performance instead of improving it.

In this roundup we are testing five different thermal compounds, shown in Figure 1.

Thermal CompoundsFigure 1: The thermal compounds included in our roundup

Let’s get a closer look at the contenders in the next pages.

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Author: Rafael Coelho

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.

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