Thermal compound is the stuff you put between a CPU’s Intel-branded heat sink and the processor to fill the small gaps and promote better thermal transfer from chip to heat sink. It’s an essential item that can lower temperatures considerably. The problem is, there are so many thermal grease products out there that they all claim to be the best, but a quick look at the performance charts shows that this is far from the truth.
The main attribute to look for in a thermal paste is its thermal conductivity, often listed as W/mK (Watt per meter at Kelvin). A high number translates into higher thermal responsiveness that helps the two surfaces “talk” to each other better.
Other important attributes include a low melting point and ease of application and clean up. A syringe with capillary applicator tip is ideal for precise placement. And it’s good to find one that doesn’t dry out quickly like cheap white grease does, especially if you end up putting a lot of it on.
A popular example of a high quality, easy to use thermal paste is Phobya’s Liquid Metal Compound LM. It comes in a convenient syringe with a capillary applicator tip and ships with cotton swabs for spreading. It’s a relatively simple product to use and spreads well with generous pressure. It has an excellent performance compared to competing thermal compounds but it’s slightly more expensive than others. The screw-on cap on the syringe keeps the compound fresh for a longer period of time and prevents it from drying out, which is a common issue with many cheaper thermal greases.