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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 06 January 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Best CPU Cooler Performance AMD Socket AM3 Preview
Thermally Conductive Element Reference
Scythe Kabuto SCKBT-1000
Scythe Mugen-2 SCMG-2000
Spire TherMax II
Titan FENRIR TTC-NK85TZ
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer
ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 PWM Premium
Cooler Surface Preparations
Cooler Test Methodology
Test Results: Stock Cooling Fan
Test Results: High-Output Fan

Conductive Elements

Manufacturers have made a small fortune off of confusion tactics and misinformation. Marketing departments often times neglect to refer back to solid science when making their bold claims, which is why we have assembled a complete list of thermally conductive elements in the reference chart below.

It's very well known that Silver, Copper, Gold, and Aluminum together comprise the top four most thermally conductive elements. However, without knowing the thermal conductance of these elements you might be fooled into thinking the performance was close. As it turns out, Silver and Copper both offer nearly twice the performance of Aluminum when transferring thermal energy such as heat. The reason Aluminum is used in so many applications is because it's the least expensive top-tier metal available. Most Thermal Interface Material and CPU coolers use several different elemental ingredients to work together, but after a careful inspection of the performance levels it comes as a surprise to me that some of the most popular products make use of such poor conductive elements.

Thermal Conductance Element Name Symbol
4.29 W/cmK Silver Ag
4.01 W/cmK Copper Cu
3.17 W/cmK Gold Au
2.37 W/cmK Aluminum Al
2.01 W/cmK Calcium Ca
2.01 W/cmK Beryllium Be
1.74 W/cmK Tungsten W
1.56 W/cmK Magnesium Mg
1.5 W/cmK Rhodium Rh
1.48 W/cmK Silicon Si
1.47 W/cmK Iridium Ir
1.41 W/cmK Sodium Na
1.38 W/cmK Molybdenum Mo
1.29 W/cmK Carbon C
1.17 W/cmK Ruthenium Ru
1.16 W/cmK Zinc Zn
1.024 W/cmK Potassium K
1 W/cmK Cobalt Co
0.968 W/cmK Cadmium Cd
0.937 W/cmK Chromium Cr
0.907 W/cmK Nickel Ni
0.876 W/cmK Osmium Os
0.847 W/cmK Lithium Li
0.816 W/cmK Indium In
0.802 W/cmK Iron Fe
0.718 W/cmK Palladium Pd
0.716 W/cmK Platinum Pt
0.666 W/cmK Tin Sn
0.599 W/cmK Germanium Ge
0.582 W/cmK Rubidium Rb
0.58 W/cmK Dubnium Db
0.575 W/cmK Tantalum Ta
0.54 W/cmK Thorium Th
0.537 W/cmK Niobium Nb
0.506 W/cmK Technetium Tc
0.502 W/cmK Arsenic As
0.479 W/cmK Rhenium Re
0.47 W/cmK Protactinium Pa
0.461 W/cmK Thallium Tl
0.406 W/cmK Gallium Ga
0.359 W/cmK Cesium Cs
0.353 W/cmK Lead Pb
0.353 W/cmK Strontium Sr
0.349 W/cmK Ytterbium Yb
0.307 W/cmK Vanadium V
0.276 W/cmK Uranium U
0.274 W/cmK Boron B
0.243 W/cmK Antimony Sb
0.23 W/cmK Hafnium Hf
0.23 W/cmK Rutherfordium Rf
0.227 W/cmK Zirconium Zr
0.219 W/cmK Titanium Ti
Thermal Conductance Element Name Symbol
0.2 W/cmK Polonium Po
0.186 W/cmK Radium Ra
0.184 W/cmK Barium Ba
0.179 W/cmK Promethium Pm
0.172 W/cmK Yttrium Y
0.168 W/cmK Thulium Tm
0.165 W/cmK Neodymium Nd
0.164 W/cmK Lutetium Lu
0.162 W/cmK Holmium Ho
0.158 W/cmK Scandium Sc
0.15 W/cmK Francium Fr
0.143 W/cmK Erbium Er
0.139 W/cmK Europium Eu
0.135 W/cmK Lanthanum La
0.133 W/cmK Samarium Sm
0.125 W/cmK Praseodymium Pr
0.12 W/cmK Actinium Ac
0.114 W/cmK Cerium Ce
0.111 W/cmK Terbium Tb
0.107 W/cmK Dysprosium Dy
0.106 W/cmK Gadolinium Gd
0.1 W/cmK Lawrencium Lr
0.1 W/cmK Einsteinium Es
0.1 W/cmK Berkelium Bk
0.1 W/cmK Californium Cf
0.1 W/cmK Fermium Fm
0.1 W/cmK Curium Cm
0.1 W/cmK Nobelium No
0.1 W/cmK Americium Am
0.1 W/cmK Mendelevium Md
0.0834 W/cmK Mercury Hg
0.0787 W/cmK Bismuth Bi
0.0782 W/cmK Manganese Mn
0.0674 W/cmK Plutonium Pu
0.063 W/cmK Neptunium Np
0.0235 W/cmK Tellurium Te
0.0204 W/cmK Selenium Se
0.017 W/cmK Astatine At
0.00449 W/cmK Iodine I
0.00269 W/cmK Sulfur S
0.00235 W/cmK Phosphorus P
0.001815 W/cmK Hydrogen H
0.00152 W/cmK Helium He
0.00122 W/cmK Bromine Br
0.000493 W/cmK Neon Ne
0.000279 W/cmK Fluorine F
0.0002674 W/cmK Oxygen O
0.0002598 W/cmK Nitrogen N
0.0001772 W/cmK Argon Ar
0.0000949 W/cmK Krypton Kr
0.000089 W/cmK Chlorine Cl
0.0000569 W/cmK Xenon Xe

Recipes usually call for only the finest ingredients, and the very same principle is true for overclocker and hardware enthusiast products. Thermal pastes are often times mixed from at least a dozen different components, while heatsink coolers may use only one or two different metals. Armed with the knowledge above, you might expect any silver-based product to be a clear-cut winner... but building a superior product by design is different than what you receive in execution. Production and material costs usually dictate how the product is designed and fabricated.

Keep these materials in mind as we take a look at the new products Benchmark Reviews has collected for this round-up article, beginning with our first contender...



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Best CPU Cooler Performance AMD Socket AM3 PreviewTFT 2010-02-17 17:11
Elements Thermal Conductance Research has not completed yet.
It lack the elements release rate into the air when heat stop provided to the element.
Nor has the chill factor when contacted with a reference element/cooper.
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# PaulyPaul Letteri 2010-03-12 05:29
Hello It would be most helpfull of listing what motherboards would work with these based on experience and feedback. also the dimentions espially from the mount to under the 1st fin for many of us with denominator type memory have problems with clearance .
I would also like to mention I have a 770usb3 Gigabyte board and it is very disturbing that their engineers did not give a least 65mm from center of the cpu for the % is very high for coolers with 120mm fans
especially for over clockers such as myself. thank you and good work on your testing reports , Paul.
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