Thermal paste or thermal grease is a compound that is used when heat sinks are installed in the central processing unit (CPU) or in any other parts of a computer. A heat sink is a component which is fixed with a fan, and performs the function of transferring heat from a solid medium, thus cooling the medium. The heat sink prevents overheating of the computer due to usage. Thermal paste, also known as thermal gel or heat sink paste, is an essential component similar to a glue, which is applied to the computer processor before attaching the heat sink. This increases the efficiency of the transfer of heat to and from the heat sink and the processor, and also enhances the computer's performance. The surface of the computer processor and the heat sink may have minute imperfections invisible to the naked eye. Air can get trapped in these gaps, thus slowing down the function of the machinery. The active ingredients the paste fill up the gaps and prevent the blockage of air.
Thermal paste can be categorized according to their composition and conductivity. This heat transfer compound is made of substances that are thermally conductive. Given below are some of the types, from which you can choose the best and most appropriate thermal paste for your computer CPU or video game console.
Ceramic-based heat sink paste is considered the best for a CPU. The CPU is one of the busiest parts of the computer, which consists of several small switches. Heat is generated every time a switch is operated. Heat in the CPU increases quickly, due to the functioning of the switches. So, in order to prevent overheating, thermal paste is used.
This paste is made up of tiny fibers of carbon and sometimes even diamond powder. These compounds have excellent electrical as well as thermal properties, which improves the transportation of heat. Carbon-based thermal paste is more efficient due to the presence of small carbon fibers.
The main compound in this is particles of certain metals which can conduct heat. Common metals used are silver and aluminum. Since this grease has a better conductivity of heat in comparison to other thermal pastes, it is considered to be the best for the Xbox console, which heats quickly. In order to keep a check on the temperature rise, metal-based ceramic pastes are used.
Liquid Metal-based Thermal Paste
This is perhaps the most expensive, due to the presence of rare metal alloys like gallium. This unique compound is the epitome of efficiency, transferring heat eight times faster than other thermal pastes. This can be used in both computers as well as game consoles, but as mentioned, is very expensive.
Thermal paste plays a key role in protecting computer parts in case of overheating. One of their main drawbacks is that they are quite expensive, but apart from this are very beneficial.