Prolimatech PK-2 & PK-3 TIM ReviewRHKCommander959 -
Category: CPU Cooling, VGA Cooling
Price: $6 -$35
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Often times people wonder what thermal paste is and which is best to use when they assemble their cooling devices. Thermal Interface Material, often abbreviated as TIM, is an agent applied between a heat sink and CPU/GPU cores or other integrated circuits and hot electronics. While the base of a heat sink may appear flat, they are not truly flat or smooth although lapping (the process of removing small layers at a time) can increase these traits. TIM fills the gaps between the hot object and the heat sink, thus it helps with heat conduction. In a perfect world if both surfaces were perfectly smooth and flat then paste wouldn't be needed.
Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS) are installed on most processors and larger GPU cores. These are metal lids that protect the fragile core from damage, such as by a bad heat sink installation. The IHS conducts heat away from the cores underneath by solder or TIM. The top is usually uneven and can be easily seen through lapping. Thermal paste fills the unevenness between the two bodies. Prolimatech has provided samples of two of its newest TIMs — PK-2 and PK-3. Both come in three capacities: 1.5g, 5g, and 30g. PK-2 is thinner and meant for easy application while PK-3 is thicker and intended for higher thermal conductivity.
PK-2 comes in a green box while PK-3 comes in orange. All boxes no matter the size have the same basic design. Website at the top left, logo and TIM type in the center, “Nano Aluminum High-grade Thermal Compound” and the capacity at the bottom right. At the top is a small hole for hanging the tubes up generally in a retail setting. The back of the boxes list the relative composition by weight of the two pastes. Both have the same ranges for Aluminum and Antioxidant while PK-3 has more Zinc Oxide and less oil than PK-2. The TIMs are made in Taiwan.
The sides of each box list the features and specifications. The features of PK-3 are high thermal conductivity, low thermal resistance, long-term stability, low dry-out, non-corrosive, electrically non-conductive, and no “burn-in” time required. PK-2 features: easy application, long-term stability, low dry-out, non-corrosive, electrically non-conductive, no “burn-in” time required. Specifications for PK-3 include: specific gravity of 2.7g/cm³, adhesiveness of 330,000 Cps, thermal conductivity of 11.2 W/m-ºC, and thermal impedance of 0.013 ºC-in²/W. PK-2 specifications include: specific gravity of 2.5g/cm³, adhesiveness of 250,000 Cps, thermal conductivity of 10.2 W/m-ºC, and thermal impedance of 0.015 ºC-in²/W. Both boxes come with a syringe of TIM and one easy-to-spread spoon that ladies will recognize as disposable makeup spatulas. The 1.5g boxes only come with a piece of cardboard for spreading.
The only thing left to do is unpack the boxes and look at the contents on the next page.