OCZ Quicksilver Thermal Compound Review
If you've ever
installed a fancy new heatsink on your processor then you know thermal compound
can be very influential to cooling. If no thermal compound or thermal
pad is used in the interface between a heatsink and the core of a
processor, improper heat transmission may occur. If that happens the heatsink
may over heat (if it is overclocked for example), or it may
just run hotter then it really needs to.
Even a very small amount of thermal
compound can affect the transmission of heat between the surface of a
processor and the base of a heatsink. In fact, manufacturers generally
recommend only a small amount of thermal compound ever be used. Too much thermal
compound can actually make the situation worse, but for the most part is just a
waste of the material.
Generally speaking, thermal compounds are bad at transferring heat energy.
Where copper can transfer upwards of 398 W/m*K, the average thermal compound
hangs in at around 0.70-1.4 W/m*K. So why would anyone want to put such horribly
unconductive goo on their processor? Two reasons really. Thermal compound fills
in the small voids that exist between a processor core, and the base of a
heatsink. This improves the path by which heat energy travels. Improve?
Well the alternative is to have air fill those voids. Air is much worse at
transferring thermal energy than even the poorest thermal compound out there.
The tradeoff is an improvement - so long as the compound is applied
This has been drilled into everyone's head a million times, but I find myself
even putting too much thermal goo on sometimes. Heck, I once saw our man 'west',
hands covered in thermal compound, and heatsink almost totally white! So how
much compound should you apply, and how should you apply it? The best way I have
found to apply thermal goo is to put a very small dab on the core, and spread it
around with a piece of rubber or plastic to get a layer of uniform thickness.
The finger method may be easy, but rarely ever gives you good consistent
In the days when processor dies didn't have their silicon exposed it was also
a good idea to rotate the heatsink atop of the processor to remove any excess
compound. Now a days I don't recommend that at all. It scratches the silicon too
In an effort to solve a few of these concerns metal-based thermal compounds
have been introduced like this. The addition of very fine metallic particles
increases the thermal conductivity of the compound, but can also make the liquid
electrically conductive. That point can lead to a very hazardous
situation if too much of the compound is applied and inadvertently comes
in contact with electrical contacts, shorting them out.
that does not use a thermal pad. Tip: Use
- Silver-impregnated Thermal
- About 3-5cc worth of compound
To test the
effectiveness of the Quicksilver thermal compound we used the synthetic test
apparatus and the ThermoEngine V60-4210 heatsink. With the Thermoengine on the small copper
die template a small amount of the silver-based thermal compound was applied
to the base of the heatsink. The system was then left until
the temperature stabilized. What is the synthetic test platform you ask?