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Author Topic: You're using too much thermal paste!  (Read 9100 times)
cmg5461 (OP)
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September 20, 2012, 09:44:19 PM
 #1

For reference, the acrylic block is 4" x 4"










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September 20, 2012, 09:55:54 PM
 #2

This is so true. Nice way to demonstrate it.
scifimike12
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September 20, 2012, 10:32:42 PM
 #3

Tell that to MSI.  I had to clean off the TIM on all my MSI 7xxx cards because they put way too much.  Plus I like MX-2 and had a bunch left over.   Grin
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September 20, 2012, 10:34:44 PM
 #4

This or a similar thread was posted last year.  Not that I disagree with what you see here, but it doesn't tell the whole story... the effects of thermal heating and cooling will change the shape, thickness and nature of the thermal paste spread you see under that acrylic.

So this test is kind of meaningless in a real world scenario.


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September 20, 2012, 10:47:34 PM
 #5

I have the same paste btw. Got it with my Cooler Master Hyper 212+ cooler.

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September 20, 2012, 11:05:30 PM
 #6

I have the same paste btw. Got it with my Cooler Master Hyper 212+ cooler.
Ditto. It's not AS, but very good stuff for just everyday use. Love the cooler, too, btw.

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cmg5461 (OP)
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September 21, 2012, 12:02:38 AM
 #7

This or a similar thread was posted last year.  Not that I disagree with what you see here, but it doesn't tell the whole story... the effects of thermal heating and cooling will change the shape, thickness and nature of the thermal paste spread you see under that acrylic.

So this test is kind of meaningless in a real world scenario.



Correct, but having less of a blanket of TIM insulating the chip = good.

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September 21, 2012, 12:45:37 AM
 #8

I don't see the problem. Unless your thermal paste is as thick as modelling clay, I don't see how you can over-apply. Any excess will simply ooze out of the side, and thermal paste shouldn't be thick enough to prevent this, especially with as much pressure as most heatsinks apply via tight screws and springs. For my GPU cores, I've always done an X with a dot in each "quadrant" with my shin-etsu x-23-7921-5 thermal paste, and never had a problem. My temperatures are always lower than what they were originally. IMO, it's better to have full contact and wasted thermal paste than have partial contact and wasted surface area.

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September 21, 2012, 12:47:46 AM
 #9

Just don't spread it, then it bubbles everywhere.
Unsure what happens when heat is applied post bubbling - so that could just be a moot point.

Heat that acrylic block up to 80C !!! ;P

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September 21, 2012, 12:58:59 AM
 #10

Just don't spread it, then it bubbles everywhere.
Unsure what happens when heat is applied post bubbling - so that could just be a moot point.

Heat that acrylic block up to 80C !!! ;P

That too. I refuse to spread because it can make air pockets, which is extremely poor conductor of heat energy. Also not all heatsink are equal. It may be concave or convex, or have minor warping that you can't detect. Spreading thermal paste thin will leave huge air pockets in your heatsink defects. Let your thermal paste do it's job and spread on it's own.

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September 21, 2012, 03:06:08 PM
 #11

Thermal paste is good stuff but it doesn't conduct heat as fast as copper of aluminium so the thicker it is the more it inhibits heat flow. It conducts electricity too so any finding its way onto the circuit board can do damage.

Most heat paste does NOT conduct electricity. If it did I would have lost many gpus or cpus / boards already.
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September 21, 2012, 03:32:51 PM
 #12

Tell that to MSI.  I had to clean off the TIM on all my MSI 7xxx cards because they put way too much.  Plus I like MX-2 and had a bunch left over.   Grin

UGH .. I *HATE* TIM pads. also can't stand them on northbridge heatsinks. I've had it happen when I'm installing a new motherboard and might knock the northbridge heatsink that it pops off. I have taken to simply redoing the northbridge heatsink with arctic silver 5 (not the thermal adhesive though) since it's just the right kind of sticky. Just the regular thermal compound seems to hold much better than those awful pads.

Temps on CPUs and graphics cards have always been able to go lower by redoing the heatsinks properly. I'm not sure why manufacturer insist on crappy TIM pads. I'd pay a few bucks more if the heatsink was factory installed with AS5 instead.

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September 21, 2012, 03:42:28 PM
 #13

Temps on CPUs and graphics cards have always been able to go lower by redoing the heatsinks properly. I'm not sure why manufacturer insist on crappy TIM pads. I'd pay a few bucks more if the heatsink was factory installed with AS5 instead.

I really despise the big sheet of TIM that comes with (especially Koolance) water blocks.  Not only do I not have a secondary way of ensuring contact because there are no mounting attachments for RAM, VRMs, and such, I have to cut the stupid crap myself.

I do like the very thin adhesive on the Swiftech RAM heatsinks (which I never use for RAM anyway) but I wouldn't use TIM on anything performance critical.
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September 21, 2012, 05:17:21 PM
 #14

I really despise the big sheet of TIM that comes with (especially Koolance) water blocks.  Not only do I not have a secondary way of ensuring contact because there are no mounting attachments for RAM, VRMs, and such, I have to cut the stupid crap myself.

FYI, EK does the same thing.  Not a big deal for me and I've done quite a few waterblocks.  The thing that drove me nuts though, was when EK didn't use spacers etched in the waterblock.  You had to get a small amount of TIM and use that to stick to the block and hope that it doesn't move when you attach it to your card.  Thankfully they learned with their latest series (HD 7xxx & GTX 6xx) and applied the spacers within the block.
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September 21, 2012, 05:54:01 PM
 #15

Tell that to MSI.  I had to clean off the TIM on all my MSI 7xxx cards because they put way too much.  Plus I like MX-2 and had a bunch left over.   Grin

They'ed rather cover their ass and put too much instead of not enough...

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September 21, 2012, 11:23:12 PM
 #16

This or a similar thread was posted last year.  Not that I disagree with what you see here, but it doesn't tell the whole story... the effects of thermal heating and cooling will change the shape, thickness and nature of the thermal paste spread you see under that acrylic.

So this test is kind of meaningless in a real world scenario.

I agree with what you're saying theoretically, but the BFL FPGA singles I have all had way too much paste on them. I even had one half it's hashrate because thermal paste dripped onto some transistor knocking out one of the FPGA chips. I wiped all the paste off and applied a very small amount of paste to the chip and it's been running fine for about two months now. Doing the same to my other units has given an overall benefit in throttling reduction (I started doing it because of the prior thread). This stuff is not meant to be slathered on, and doing so hinders the conduction.

I used to have a pic of the thermal paste on the transistor. Not sure where it went.
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September 21, 2012, 11:48:40 PM
 #17

Thermal paste is good stuff but it doesn't conduct heat as fast as copper of aluminium so the thicker it is the more it inhibits heat flow. It conducts electricity too so any finding its way onto the circuit board can do damage.

True, but as ssateneth pointed out above, the final thickness of the paste has nothing (or not much) to do with the amount applied.  I think air pockets or insufficient amount of paste are more important problems.

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September 22, 2012, 04:29:43 AM
 #18

What color was the paste?  I have been trying to educate the assemblers on proper application of paste and we switched to Arctic Silver MX-2 from the crap we had been using before.  I'm wondering if it predated the change.  If not, I may need to go talk to them again about application technique.

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September 22, 2012, 05:02:48 AM
Last edit: September 22, 2012, 05:23:34 AM by Kaliecious
 #19

This is what I use but its pricey

http://www.coollaboratory.com/en/products/liquid-pro/

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/coollaboratory_liquid_metal_pro_thermal_compound_review,6.html

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September 22, 2012, 05:05:34 AM
 #20

I haven't seen that before, how well does it work compared to MX-2?  Can I get some in the US?  I would love to test it out... I like Shin-Etsu but it's way too hard to apply for the assembly folks - is this stuff harder to apply than a basic paste?


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