The thermal conductivity of thermal cushions is measured in W / mK (watts per Kelvin meter), and it is a measurement that defines the ability of the material to change its temperature, so that the higher its thermal conductivity, the better it will be able to break the heat which generates the processor to the heatsink. However, the higher this conductivity, the higher the price of the product, but is it worth paying more in terms of performance?
How does the conductivity of a thermal pad improve performance?
In order to answer this question we relied on the original tests of Igor’s Lab, linked at the end of this article, which tested the latest thermal tablets. GP-Extreme of Gelid Solutions and, in addition, EC360 Silver from Jaden Technologies, both with a theoretical conductivity of 12 W / mK according to their technical specifications. To this test he added the thermal pads delivered in the factory with an RTX 3080 whose theoretical conductivity is 11 W / mK.
This has been tested, as we mentioned, on a graphics card RTX 3080 with liquid cooling, and the objective is to see the efficiency of both thermal pads in GDDR6X memory since, after some complaints and rumors, we have seen that the temperature of the memory in these graphics cards is skyrocketing and therefore there were not few users who chose to empty their graphics card to change the thermal pads in order to get a better temperature result.
In the following GDDR6X memory temperature graph, we can see that the temperature rises quite quickly in any case, but at some point it stabilizes and does not increase any more, and also the variations are only 1º C up or down in Anyway.
Let us first analyze the blue line, which corresponds to the reference thermal pads whose conductivity is 11 W / mK. On paper, they should perform less well than the other two models used (conductivity 12 W / mK), but this temperature graph shows that in the end their performance was just the opposite of what was expected, beating the two other models in performance. and for quite a while. But let’s start with the best of them and then move on to execution, as there is hardly any other way to describe this result.
At present, Jaden’s EC360 seems to have a thermal conductivity which would rather approach the 8W / mK and not the 12 announced by the manufacturer, which is done to the detriment of a third of what was announced and we can be said that they are deliberately deceiving customers. .
As for the Gelid thermal cushions… What can I say? If the result seen with the EC360 was surprising, the 80º C obtained with them from Gelid are even more so, and suppose a conductivity of about 3 W / mK, a quarter of what was announced and showing that, again, the manufacturer is misleading customers.
In conclusion: pay attention to the conductivity announced by the manufacturer
Once again, we find that at the end of the day, the customer has no way of knowing exactly what they are buying until they try it for themselves. Blindly relying on brand labels or specifications is a mistake, and it is repeatedly found that some vendors dramatically exaggerate their product specification numbers until they are done. real tests. Of course, we’re not a standards body or anything like that, but we can do an objective assessment of performance.
Therefore and answering the original question, we can say that higher thermal conductivity does not necessarily mean higher performance in thermal buffer, and the recommendation is do not trust specifications techniques that brands give and it is best to read neutral benchmarks because this is where we will see the actual performance of the product and what we can expect from it if we decide to buy it.