Thermal Pad vs. Thermal Grease?

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kylo
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Thermal Pad vs. Thermal Grease?

Post by kylo » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:10 am

I just got an AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz.. The heatsink and fan came with it in the box..

The thermal pad is already on the heatsink (came like that).. I also have thermal grease..

My question is should i use the thermal PAD or thermal GREASE? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

tehfire
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Post by tehfire » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:11 am

What kind of thermal paste do you have? If it's good stuff like Arctic Silver 5 or MX-2, then the paste is hands-down better than a stock pad. Pads are convenient, but not very efficient in heat transfer. Some pastes are not much better than pads, but as said before if you have good paste then it is by far the better choice. I would clean off the old pad with some high quality isopropyl alcohol and put on some AS5 or similar.

jhhoffma
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Post by jhhoffma » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:46 am

+1

I remove thermal pads immediately when I get a new CPU and put on some AS5 or equivalent.

Olle P
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Post by Olle P » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:03 pm

As noted above: pads are pretty inefficient.
But I'm yet to see a stock CPU cooler come with a pad applied. All AMD (Foxconn) coolers I've used have had a thin layer of grey thermal grease pre-applied, and that's been pretty good.

Cheers
Olle

barophobia
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Post by barophobia » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:19 pm

Just don't put too much grease on it or else it will ooze out and start shorting random stuff.

tehfire
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Post by tehfire » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:12 pm

Olle P wrote:As noted above: pads are pretty inefficient.
But I'm yet to see a stock CPU cooler come with a pad applied. All AMD (Foxconn) coolers I've used have had a thin layer of grey thermal grease pre-applied, and that's been pretty good.

Cheers
Olle
As an aside, it has been quite a while since I've seen pads being used. Back in the 486 days, everything had them. They were also quite popular in the P(entium)II and PIII days when the processors were on cartridges. But yes, you're right. Most of the time nowadays what looks like a pad is actually a pre-applied layer of paste.

And to go along with baro, I would just put a small amount of paste (size of a grain of rice) at the center of the CPU IHS and let the pressure even it out.

Olle P
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Post by Olle P » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:33 am

Pads are very common on graphics cards, where they form the thermal bridge between RAM and cooler. (Low pressure, wide mechanical tolerances and relatively low heat output makes them perfect for the job.)

Cheers
Olle

Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:02 am

Pads are common also on Southbridge heatsinks. I recently removed one on a Gigabyte board. It looked desperately cheap and inefficient at best.

Something to also keep in mind is that removing heatsinks and their pads, greases etc. from stock on CPUs, motherboards, graphics cards and the like is supposed to void the manufacturer's warranty to you. Which is pretty dumb if you ask me. They know there are aftermarket products out there and people do buy and use them. The aftermarket companies by existing are indirectly promoting the voiding of the warranty of the part(s) in question. Why can't both work together? Okay, I don't expect Intel or AMD to honour a warranty when some hero puts a 2kg heatsink on their CPU... but there should be some sort of compromise available.

Typically, a processor's warranty will say that unless you use the stock heatsink and fan that came bundled with the CPU, your warranty will be voided. And many motherboards these days come with so pathetic looking and cheap heatsinks to the detriment of the system that removing them for aftermarket ones is a serious option; yet that option will supposedly void the warranty!

Fortunately, in certain jurisdictions, including Australia, a statutory warranty can be used (to varying degrees of success) to override the manufacturer's one.

wwenze
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Post by wwenze » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:08 pm

Pentium 4 heatsinks also came with pads using some unknown black material. Pads are still found on some GPUs also.
Shamgar wrote:Pads are common also on Southbridge heatsinks. I recently removed one on a Gigabyte board. It looked desperately cheap and inefficient at best.

Something to also keep in mind is that removing heatsinks and their pads, greases etc. from stock on CPUs, motherboards, graphics cards and the like is supposed to void the manufacturer's warranty to you. Which is pretty dumb if you ask me. They know there are aftermarket products out there and people do buy and use them. The aftermarket companies by existing are indirectly promoting the voiding of the warranty of the part(s) in question. Why can't both work together? Okay, I don't expect Intel or AMD to honour a warranty when some hero puts a 2kg heatsink on their CPU... but there should be some sort of compromise available.

Typically, a processor's warranty will say that unless you use the stock heatsink and fan that came bundled with the CPU, your warranty will be voided. And many motherboards these days come with so pathetic looking and cheap heatsinks to the detriment of the system that removing them for aftermarket ones is a serious option; yet that option will supposedly void the warranty!

Fortunately, in certain jurisdictions, including Australia, a statutory warranty can be used (to varying degrees of success) to override the manufacturer's one.
Manufacturors only provide warranty when their products are used under proper operating conditions. If upgrading to a better cooler with resulting lower temperatures, not a problem.

But, what if you used a heatsink with inadequate cooling capabilities instead (think slow fan speeds and SPCR). Or if never mount properly for GFX HSFs. The product overheats, dies, and it's not the manufacturor's fault because the product is not used under its normal operating conditions. Similarly, death by overclocking and overheating are not covered, and AMD had a guide on how to judge if socket 462 Athlons were killed that way, for distributors and shops can reject the return.

Ok, perhaps to make it clearer, while most of us are looking at products obviously better than the pathetic excuse of a HSF "that works as long as temperatures are below 70 celcius", there are even cheaper and lousier HSFs being produced and used in bulk - pirated Intel HSFs. Or, I've seen people using ZM-80 on a 9800Pro without a fan, and one that killed his card instantly because he mounted it wrong (and he even claimed the heatsink was faulty).

Olle P
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Post by Olle P » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:11 am

Shamgar wrote:... removing heatsinks and their pads, ... is supposed to void the manufacturer's warranty to you.
... Why can't both work together? Okay, I don't expect Intel or AMD to honour a warranty when some hero puts a 2kg heatsink on their CPU... but there should be some sort of compromise available.
It's not a 2kg heatsink that's the most common problem.
The problem is ESD protection! How many home users use a certified ESD-protected workstation, wearing proper clothes and follow the proper routines to prevent ESD damages when they replace the heatsink?

My guess is that it's well below 1% of the users that do it formally correct. If those few can prove that they did it right they should have no warranty problems.
The rest of us just have to take our chances...

Cheers
Olle

Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:11 am

Olle P wrote:The problem is ESD protection! How many home users use a certified ESD-protected workstation, wearing proper clothes and follow the proper routines to prevent ESD damages when they replace the heatsink?

My guess is that it's well below 1% of the users that do it formally correct. If those few can prove that they did it right they should have no warranty problems.
The rest of us just have to take our chances...
That makes sense. Yet I don't think there are many home users (even experienced) who use a "certified ESD-protected" workstation. At the most, they may use an anti-static wrist guard and some anti-static mats/bags. Whether this provides sufficient protection at all is questionable -- but it is better than none. Many users have home built computers functioning for years that were assembled with little ESD-protection.

One could say that the majority of users have "neglected" their warranty obligations and they should not be entitled to any claims. This would also apply to vendors, shipping companies, hired assemblers etc; anyone one in the chain. Would all of them have taken extreme care and precaution when handling the computer components we buy?

To use an example... let's say you bought a new tyre and wheel package from the tyre mart that comes with a five year onroad warranty. The warranty states that you must check and maintain to the recommended pressures at least once a week to meet your warranty obligations. Say you forgot the check it for one week, or maybe more. Besides this oversight, you are a usually fastiduous and careful driver/owner. Should you then never be able to claim for anything under warranty? I'm sure most people would claim anyway, despite the letter of the warranty agreement saying otherwise. Because it can be viewed as an unfair imposition.

This is a bit off the subject... but I think it's something that's relevant to all users. Especially those who readily change out the components in their PCs.

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