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When buying a CPU or Graphics card, most manufacturers have already installed or included a heatsink + thermal conducting paste or pad with the product.
This thermal conducting paste is usually made of silicone, either grey or white and has the effect of filling the gaps between the heatsink and the chip, to improve heat transfer from one surface to the other.
So you are wondering why companies like Akasa produce heatsink paste when something is already included. The answer is that the Akasa product (TC 5022 Pro) performs significantly better than the standard one and holds its ground against other pastes (like Arctic Silver).
The paste comes in a small tube and is pretty expensive. The compound is made of silicone, but has the benefit that it is easily applied on surfaces, as well as performing very good, even when not applying too much pressure (i.e. the holding clip or screw pressure).
Akasa claims that it can be used in a temperature range of -20 to 120 degrees Celsius.
I wanted to try the effect of this paste on my 8800 GTX cooler, so I took the card apart (voids the warranty) and removed the existing thermal pad with Akasa TIM Remover (Citrus-based solvent).
After the 8800 chip was cleaned up, I applied this paste in a zig zag pattern, evenly covering the chip and then putting the heatsink back on. After moving the cooler in a circular direction to force the air out, I fastened back the screws.
Booting up the PC and starting the NVIDIA Monitor, the idle temperature of the GPU was 69 degrees, compared to 76 degrees before. When running Supreme Commander, this temperature went up to 82 degrees, compared to around 86 before.
Since the Zalman fan on my CPU was already fastened, I didn't see the need to test it out on that, but from what I have seen, the Akasa paste really is a professional grade product (I got the paste and the cleaning solution from the tech guys at the graphics chip company I work at).
The average retail price of this product is around GBP 7.50, although it can be obtained at a cheaper price through independent shops or auction sites such as eBay for GBP 5+
I saw it on some retail sites for about 8.50 EUR (which is around 5 pounds), although prices in the UK tend to differ.
Also, it is recommended to have a good high-grade cooler in the first place, like a Zalman or a Scythe, because although the heat is going from the chip to the heatsink, the stock cooler will not be able to transfer this heat onto the moving air fast enough.