I tired "AIT thermal pads" just for the heck of it and guess what, my e8500 is about 4-9c cooler than it was with AS5 and MX-2.
Maybe because it was a "pad" and a lot easier to work with than the tube stuff. I'm using the coolermaster hyper z600 heatsink. And the way it is setup, I can't "twist" the heatsink in place like some thermal paste recommends...
It's on passive mode and idling at 29-33c. Where it was 34-38c before.