Anybody who is a true computer hardware enthusiast these days knows that keeping your CPU from overheating while pushing it to its limits is one of the most important concerns. Thermal compounds like arctic silver are the front line of that defense, conducting the heat directly from the CPU to the heat sink. Without the compound, small imperfections in the surface of the heat sink can render the heat sink almost useless and lesser compounds can actually insulate your processor. Thermal compounds that are available for purchase have remained unchanged for some time. So I descided it was time to reinvent my thermal compound needs with some diamond dust!
To my great amusement we have apparently drawn a lot of attention both positive and critical of our experiments here. It is important to maintain some clarity here in perspective. When we originally published article nearly 3 years ago there was not a single commercial diamond based product available. We were in uncharted territory with our experiments and research. It is possible and we acknowledge that our testing methodologies at the time may have been flawed, however under any and all scrutiny we have never taken the article down or changed our original findings because we feel it would be a disservice to our fans and our selfs to hide or disguise our findings.
We are excited and gratified at the amount of interest and research ongoing with this area of interest and continue to encourage both findings and research be presented in a plane and easy to reproduce method to the public to help further the DIY Enthusiasts ability to make DIY Thermal Compounds a reality.
The most popular type of thermal compound has silver suspended in silicone grease. Research has been done by overclockers.com demonstrating a far superior type of thermal compound using diamond. Silver has a respectable thermal conductivity at: 429W/m K. Diamond on the other hand has a thermal conductivity of 900-2320 W/m K. So worst case scenario we double performance, and best case is roughly a 5x multiplier.
Another nice advantage with diamond is that it is not electrically conductive. Silver based compounds will conduct electricity which makes a sloppy application of the compound a risk for shorting out your expensive hardware.
It appears that several people have come up with this idea independently, but we didn’t want to make that fact stop us from sharing our two cents on the matter as well. There are mumbling’s about commercially available compounds being in the works but we thought, “Why wait when we can have our candy now?” We are going to show you how to make your own diamond compound, and provide you with some of our own results for the improvements it provides in actual cooling performance. We will be comparing Arctic Silver to our home brewed batch of diamond compound. Pending some more testing and refinement we will be giving away a few “experimental samples” in a week or 2.
25 Carats (5 grams) of 60,000 mesh diamond powder available for roughly $30 on eBay or as raw material, sometimes used in buffing compounds.
It’s worth mentioning that the purity of the diamond powder is an important factor. While most industrial diamonds are pure, some less than honest peeps will mix in other materials. Check on the purity with your vendor.
Silicon grease compound containing: Polydimethylsiloxane and Polytetraflouroethylene. This is available at some hobby shops or your local chem shop. Make sure that the compound you get does not have a thermal conducting component like zinc oxide as this would provide an insulating value compared to our diamond.
The diamond powder is very abrasive and is a hazard if inhaled. You should mix it in a small container with a closable lid. To make our own mixer we will start by bending a paperclip into a stirring paddle. the depth of the stirrer should be as deep as the container you have.
I found a small ear plug container in my assorted parts bin to use for this but a film canister would work well to, and in hind site I think a small ziplock bag and just squishing it would work real well also. Poke a hole in the lid for the stirrer and insert the bent paperclip .