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ThermalRight Chill Factor Paste

Manufacturer: ThermalRight Inc.
Supplied by:
Sidewinder Computers
Street Price: $6

by Dean Barker  (12/15/2006)

Introduction

The last time we sat down with high performance thermal paste, we found that it did make a difference.  A difference to the tune of a half degree Celsius.  To some that isn't enough to make it worth the effort, to others it's a matter of wringing every last drop of performance out of their system.  Our friends at Sidewinder Computers seemed pretty excited about ThermalRight's new paste, Chill Factor and said we really needed to check it out.  My thoughts prior to testing this new goo were "okay so this stuff will make 3/4 of a degree of difference instead of just 1/2."  I came to discover rather quickly that I was very very wrong.  ThermalRight's new Chill Factor Paste showed us that thermal paste has come a long way and is very much worth its salt now. 

The new goo comes is a small syringe holding 4.8ml of 'Chill Factor.'  Now I'm not going to get into "specifications" of thermal paste but two items of note listed on ThermalRight's website are that the paste is not electrically conductive meaning if you drip it on your board you won't short it out and that their paste is "...just right amount of consistency that’s not too fluidal and not too thick to prevent CPU from being pulled off its socket during removal of heatsink."  Yep, I've done that.

Thermal Interface Materials 101

Let me take a second to explain how high performance thermal paste works.  All mating surfaces on coolers try, try mind you, to be perfectly flush with a perfect surface.  Now this is a nice goal but it is difficult to make it a reality.  All coolers have small gaps or pits on their base that may not even be visible to the eye.  The more gaps there are, the less surface area of the cooler is in contact with the processor therefore the less efficient the cooler is in whisking heat away.  Now by filling in those pits and gaps you are turning empty space into more useable area for heat to be conducted through.  Thus, we increase the efficiency of the cooler.  How well these pits get filled depends on the paste and how thermally conductive it is.

Performance

To test ThermalRight's Chill Factor we fired up our aging Athlon64 test bed and ran five runs of the processor at 100% load with SiSoft Sandra's XI burn in module.  The highest and lowest results were thrown out and the remaining three were averaged and graphed below.  This was done for ThermalRight's Chill Factor as well as some generic thermal paste.  Since we are using some ThermalRight goo, it only seemed fair to pair it with a ThermalRight sink in testing, namely the ThermalRight Ultra 90 for AMD.


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