Early this morning, Cooler Master tweeted a picture of its new spade-tipped thermal compound applicators and captioned it “we didn’t change the shape of the syringe to make applying thermal paste a lot easier, but because we’re getting tired of having to explain to parents that their kid isn’t using drugs.”
It took the Ars staff a few minutes of grappling with Poe’s Law to figure out if they were serious or not. On the one hand, how many parents would really mistake thermal compound for a medical syringe? On the other hand… the world’s a big place, and as recently as 2015, I needed to tell parents en masse that the most prevalent server operating system on the planet isn’t malware, so who knows? But Cooler Master is probably just joining the likes of Wendy’s, Denny’s, and Old Spice on Snarky Brand Twitter.
What we’re sure of is that the spade-tipped applicator looks a lot more pleasant to use than the general purpose closed-needle-tip syringe senior techs and enthusiasts have been grappling with for decades. If you’re not accustomed to it, thermal compound is thick, goopy, and an absolute nightmare to clean off of any credit card you unwisely use to try to spread a thin film of it evenly across your new CPU, as guides have advised for as long as thermal compound has existed. (Some techs keep a “fake” credit card around for just this purpose, which at least lets them get some use out of spam credit card offers.)
Spreading the thermal compound manually isn’t necessarily a real requirement—as PC Gamer recommends, a pea-sized blob of compound squeezed directly onto the center of the CPU will be squashed out into the requisite thin paste by the pressure of the heat sink alone. And if you’re a PC tech who swaps out a heatsink or CPU once a day, you’ll get the hang of that method quickly enough—but most people, even hardware enthusiasts, won’t do a heat sink replacement more often than once every couple of years.
We think Cooler Master’s new applicator looks like a real win for people who don’t feel sure enough of the “blob it and hope” method.
Listing image by Jyothis / Jim Salter