Photo: Cooler Master (Twitter)

We’ve all been there as a teenager. What starts as a nerdy afternoon building a fancy new gaming PC ends up with a stint in rehab after your parents assume those tiny syringes full of thermal paste mean you’re doing the drugs. Cooler Master is apparently tired of all the confusion, so it’s redesigned its thermal paste applicators to look less like drug paraphernalia.

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If you’ve never built your own PC, or carefully watched someone else do it for you, thermal paste (or thermal grease) is a compound made of materials like silicones or urethanes mixed with materials like aluminum oxide, boron nitride, or aluminum nitride. It looks like metallic toothpaste and it’s applied to the surface of a computer’s processor before the heatsink is installed on top. The thermal paste improves heat conductivity between the processor and the heatsink to maximize its dissipation, and it also serves to eliminate air gaps between the two which can act as unwanted insulation.

Thermal paste is available in a variety of containers, but it’s most commonly sold in tiny plastic syringes for easy application without the need for additional tools. Apparently, those tiny syringes look similar enough to the needles used for injecting certain types of drugs that parents of nerdy teenagers have expressed concern. Or so Cooler Master claims in a tweet from yesterday:

The redesigned thermal paste syringes are wider and flatter and feature a new nozzle that applies a large, thin swath of thermal paste which, from the looks of it, results in a better application of the material. Cooler Master’s website even goes out of its way to point out the redesigned syringe’s “enhanced user experience design” and describes the new packaging as an “Exclusively flat-nozzle syringe designed to enhance application experience.”

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The new syringe design will undoubtedly appeal to young PC builders worried about their overly conservative parents getting the wrong idea, but Cooler Master’s claims about what actually inspired the redesign are simply some clever, and apparently effective, marketing.

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