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Thermal Pads: Everything You Need to Know

Thermal Pad: Everything You Need to Know

You might have heard the word thermal pad as a source of heat transfer within the CPU, but do you know where exactly it works? A thermal pad, usually known as an alternative to thermal paste, is used to help your PC run cool.

Computer parts produce heat when they work. The heat increases when you load heavy applications and games. A heated PC may result in frequent shutdowns and permanent damage unless you find a reliable solution to help dissipate heat. 

The reliable solution is a good thermal interface material – a thermal pad. Let’s check out how it works as a good heat transfer within the CPU and how we can use it.

What is a Thermal Pad?

A thermal pad, also known as a thermally conductive pad or thermal interface pad, is a thermally conductive sheet placed between the CPU parts to help dissipate heat.

CPU parts may look even but have microscopic imperfections which trap air. When you place a thermal pad within those surfaces, it softens and goes into the air gaps, eliminating air and boosting heat transfer

Also, you need to know that thermal pads are electrically insulative pre-formed rectangles usually manufactured with silicone or paraffin wax.

People ask us: Do thermal pads work? Yes, they do. Although the heat transfer they offer may not be as good as CPU grease, applications like RAM and VGA cards require thermal pads only. 

Alternatives

A thermal pad helps transfer heat within the CPU. There are many other thermal interface materials such as liquid metal, electrically conductive thermal paste, electrically insulative thermal paste, and gap fillers that act as an alternative to thermal pads.

However, you need to note that thermal pads will be best suited to RAM chips. If you need a thermal interface material to put on an integrated heat circuit, we recommend using a thermal paste, specifically N-B Max Pro

Read: What are the different types of thermal pastes?

Thermal Pad Advantages

A thermal pad has many advantages over other thermal interface materials. Applying it instead of any liquid or semi-liquid interface material is less messy and won’t leak to the surroundings.

Note: if a thermal paste leaks to the CPU pins and motherboard surroundings, it can cause a short circuit or other permanent damage to the CPU.  

Another advantage is that it won’t stain your hands, unlike thermal pastes, which need to be removed with alcohol if it stains the skin. Along with being super-easy to apply, it won’t attract dust and offers uniform thickness on each corner. 

These advantages are not possible if you use liquid metal, gap fillers, or thermal paste. You can easily cut it into pieces of your desired length and use it on the CPU. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the quantity while applying too. It lasts around 5+ years within the CPU.

Thermal Pad Disadvantages

Where there are numerous advantages of thermal pads, there are disadvantages too. Thermal pads are comparatively expensive and may not work as well as other thermal interface materials. 

Additionally, you cannot reuse thermal pads, unlike other interface materials that come in tubes and have a shelf life of 8 years so that you can use them again and again. Thermal pads are not good in electronics, where small temperature changes are an issue. 

How to Use a Thermal Pad?

Using a thermal pad is easy, unlike other thermal interface materials with a risk of leakage and short circuits; applying it is a clean and hassle-free process. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a thermal pad:

  1. Start with removing the previous interface material and cleaning its stains.
  2. Calculate the area’s exact length and width of the surface and cut it to the exact dimensions. 
  3. Remove the protective film from one of its sides.
  4. Place it on the CPU surface and press gently.
  5. Tear off the other side of protective film. 
  6. Install the CPU.
  7. You are now good to go. 

Also read: What is the best way to apply thermal paste?

Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Using Thermal Pad

Below are some mistakes you should avoid while using thermal pads to ensure maximum heat transfer:

When using thermal pads, do not stack the one above the other. Doing so will induce more air gaps between the thermal pads reducing heat transfer. 

Also, avoid using a thermal pad and thermal paste together. Although thermal pads and thermal pastes are heat conductive, they will oppose heat transfer if used together in a system and kill the CPU. 

Don’t miss our comprehensive guide: Thermal paste vs. thermal pads – which is the best?

Nab Cooling has Launched the Best Thermal Pad – N-B Supermax

Good news: Nab Cooling has launched the best thermal pad in the market. This silicone thermal pad has a heat conductivity value of 15W/mK, which offers extreme heat transfer and excellent running of the CPU.

Due to its non-electrical conductivity property, it is safe to use. Also, this silicone thermal pad is non-corrosive and non-toxic. It won’t harden in the CPU for over five years under extreme temperatures. 

The 90mm x 50mm dimensions ensure that this thermal pad can be accurately put on PCB surfaces, laptops, game consoles, VGA cards, memory ICs, MOSFETs, chipsets, microcontrollers, and many other SMD components. 

Do you know what is better? These thermal pads come in 1.5mm, 2mm, and 3mm thicknesses and a density of 3.2g/cm³. Additionally, this non-curing silicone interface material works excellent within the range of -60℃ to +220℃, making these compatible with a wide range of applications. 

Conclusion 

Thermal pads are an alternative to other thermal interface materials such as liquid metal, gap fillers, and thermal pastes. It is less messy and super easy to apply. Just peel off the film, gently press, and you are all good to go. 

We recommend you buying Nab Cooling’s N-B Supermax, which supports a wide range of operating temperatures, comes in a size that you can quickly put on numerous applications, and promises extreme thermal conductivity. 

Are you wondering where to buy a thermal pad?
Here you go: 

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