Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: November 4th, 2010
Tuniq TX 4
Thermal Interface Material (TIM)
These type of products are variously referred to as thermal grease or thermal paste, when the correct term is Thermal Interface Material (TIM). The purpose of Thermal Interface Material is to provide a way to match the heatspreader or die surface of the processor being cooled, with the base of the heatsink being mounted. Because of manufacturing tolerances, many of these surfaces are not truly flat. Manufacturers do not ablate the surfaces of their processors heatspreaders or heatsinks bases to be optically flat and parallel to the mounting plane. Mounting a heatsink without using an intermediate filler will result in hotspots where air is trapped between the heatsink and heat source, reducing heat transfer and the efficiency of the cooling device.
Thermal Interface Material fills in the air gaps caused by mismatches between the two surfaces. The less paste used, the better, as while preventing air filled hotspots is the aim, too much TIM will have the same negative effect by introducing new hotspots. A good TIM will be viscous enough to spread and fill in the gaps between the imperfections in the surfaces, as well as have a high thermal conductivity. Thermal conductivity is how effective the material is in transferring heat. If the TIM prevents heat transfer, it is effectively insulating the heat source and trapping heat instead of allowing it to be dissipated. This is a bad thing.
Tuniq TX-4 Specifications
Operating Temperature: -45C - 160C
6.53W/mK Thermal conductivity
TIM Spreader included
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