Theory: Ideal Cooling
This table shows a comparison of the thermal conductivity of different metals.
The basic principle behind a CPU cooler can be reduced to a single mathematical equation which describes the heat flow of two media while ignoring external factors:
Iw = ??x (T1-T2) x (l/A)
A brief explanation is in order - Iw describes the heat flow created between two different bodies (materials) the moment a temperature difference (T1 and T2) exists. I describes the length and/or the distance between the two bodies, while A describes the surface (cooling or radiating surface). Gamma describes the thermal conductivity coefficient. A quick glance at this equation reveals which qualities an almost ideally designed cooler must have. The temperature difference (T1-T2) is the factor that drives heat flow. In addition, heat flow is substantially affected by the material's thermal conductivity (gamma) and the radiating surface . That should explain the fundamentals.