Thermal conductivity - discussing the heatsink material
The heatsink material is the most important as far as the performance of cooling is concerned. In principle, the heat sink can be made of different materials. The thermal conductivity is one important issue. The following comparative table shows the thermal conductivity of different materials.
At first glance it is obvious that silver and copper have the best conductivity. As silver is too expensive for a massive heat sink, the manufacturers at best use copper. Using aluminum is cheaper but the conductivity is by far not as good as copper. That means silver and copper spread the heat very quickly. These two materials offer the best quality for a high cooling effect in a heat sink/fan system.
Well designed: Elan Vital's cooler is equipped with a copper heat spreader. In addition to that, it has cooling foils made of aluminum.