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Best and Worst TIM you've worked with?

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The worst would be the multitudes of stock-applied TIM which harden into a clay/wax-like brick over time, and then require extreme care to not rip the processor out of socket during removal. I've gotten tons of packets of cheap white stuff over the years (included with whatever random products), but always immediately tossed them in the trash. Second mention (for stuff I've actually used) would be whatever was applied to the bottom of my current Arctic Freezer 13. I originally had an 8700k, and got lazy during the build when I saw (what looked to be half-way decent) pre-applied TIM on the bottom of the heatsink. I had an opportunity to sell the 8700k a year later and get a 9700k for roughly a wash, and took it. When I removed the HSF, it was a horrible runny/gooey mess, and excessively difficult to remove. Proper remounting of the same Freezer 13 with AS5 on the 9700k runs 5-7C cooler, so it was also a lousy performer.

For the best.....I dunno. I started with Arctic Silver II, and still currently have enough Arctic Silver 5 to last me another 20-25 applications. I've always been happy with the performance, and never roasted anything. I know how to apply it well, and also what to expect out of it. Whatever is the latest and greatest --- the difference isn't by enough to make me toss what I have. If PC building is still a thing by the time I run out, I'll reassess the TIM landscape.
The Arctic Mono Plus I bought had that terrible pre-applied thermal paste and it made a giant mess. The mess actually prevented the graphics card from working until I carefully removed it all with a soft toothbrush and isopropyl. Even trace amounts of it was causing issues, I had to really clean it thoroughly.
 
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I spent some time looking for the Hardocp review, where they used Cheese as a comparison; I guess they really are dead.
 

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Worst TIM i used, what comes with a heatsink. AS5 and MX4 are good.

Havent used anything else yet.
 
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I spent some time looking for the Hardocp review, where they used Cheese as a comparison; I guess they really are dead.

I believe the main site has been mothballed at this point. You can still get to the forums though
 

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has anyone here used the thermal pads that linus reviewed a while back?

Even if they're not amazing, they do seem mess free
 
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has anyone here used the thermal pads that linus reviewed a while back?

Even if they're not amazing, they do seem mess free

An ex student of mine bought a set from the US. He raves about them. The reviews all say they are good and I kinda regret not taking him up on his offer of buying his spare one.
 
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has anyone here used the thermal pads that linus reviewed a while back?

Even if they're not amazing, they do seem mess free
They're not amazing......... but they are mess free.
 
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I honestly just put MX-4 on everything. CPU, GPU, toast, pizza. Delicious.
 

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Messy, greasy, hard to clean.. what? 98-99% isopropyl alcohol and a cloth is all you need. I use a sock lol. No mess no muss no fuss. Nice and clean..

AS5 is great if you know how to use it, I would swear by it still, but I don't have any left.. and have moved on. You guys should check out some Thermalright stuff. It kicks axe. But like all the others, its only as good as the application. Or you can keep using whatever makes you happy.
 
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Best and worst = CLU, but it's a pita to use, hardens and is a huge pain to remove and clean. Oh did I mention it can stain the IHS?

I went back to using the large tube of PK-3 I have. PK-3 works well enough, though I haven't really kept on top of what is the hot TIM to use these days.
 
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I use AS5 or MX4, whichever is closest where I'm working, lol.

I can't really tell much difference.

The worst I ever used was indium solder.

That was a terrible idea; even tho it melts at 117C, it's almost impossible to remove.

I applied it with a heatgun, and thought I could remove it the same way, but Noooo.

I finally wrapped the heatpipe HS with a washcloth and no fans, and ran a benchmark until it fell off.

Didn't kill the socket775 core2 duo it was on, somehow, lol.

DTTAH, Kids! Rofl.

Indium I have here melts at a higher temperature, somewhere around 160c.

has anyone here used the thermal pads that linus reviewed a while back?

Even if they're not amazing, they do seem mess free

Their very difficult to get working correctly, due-to mounting pressure which is the key to unlocking their performance. You can't have too much or too little, very hard to get right. I dismiss thermal pads due-to idle temperature being too high.
 
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Indialloy 1E, from Indium Corporation.

They now say 118C, but the roll I have here says 117, IDK why.


I recommend these guys, they're great to work with, professionally.

IIRC, this was $10 a foot for .031" solder, no flux. That was in ~2006, so prices may have changed.

Thermal conductivity IS better than pastes, but; it's hard to use.

At 160C, I'd have never gotten the HS back off. :)

There are a bunch of alloys; each suited to a particular application.
When you have a board that has to be assembled in a certain order, and has to be reflowed multiple times, you start with 60/40 lead, and work your way down to this.

We used it mostly to solder heat sensitive optical components for testing; that way we didn't damage them, and we could remove them and send them back.

One of the IR sensors we looked at came with a guard. :D
For some reason, they didn't tell us who the other customer was, lol.
IR was the wrong wavelength for us, but we tested it anyway. We were on the UV end of things.

One of the worst weeks I had was finding out this wonderful magnetic shielding material we were going to use couldn't be exported from the US.
It had applications in classified things, so we had to jump around like crazy and find something else; we ended up using material from Russia, lol.
 
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PK-3 is the best I've worked with and CM Essential IC I foolishly bought when I really needed some paste and couldn't wait was the worst.
 

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Best? MX-4 and Noctua NT-H1 without a doubt. Liquid Ultra for a bare die (GPU or delidded CPU).
Worst? Probably Arctic Silver 5, all that hype and it was nothing special. I can't believe some people like to use it on even this day, it's like 15 years when I used it.
 
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I work with MX-4 and Kryonaut. MX-4 is a bit easier to apply, but Kryonaut works well too if you go slow like @GlacierNine mentioned.

Initially I wanted to use the MX-4 on everything I don´t value as much as my main rig to save some money in the long run, but after comparing both in terms of performance I´d say the extra money spend on Kryonaut is not worth it for the performance.
I do think the biggest benefit of Kryonaut will be had under an LN2 pot, as I believe it has a smaller chance of cracking. But that is a different topic which has mainly to do with uneven mounts.

So I ended up using both MX-4 and Kryonaut at random on everything that needed a TIM. Both do the job, Krynonaut seems to perform about 1-3°C (max load temp) better on average from my experience which will not gain any noticable headroom for OC.

Don´t know what conclusion I end up with, my Threadripper 1950X runs at 4.12GHz all cores with 56°C load temp and Kryonaut between the IHS and waterblock, but my 2500k hit 5.3GHz ambient cooled with MX-4 so both are suited for overclocking. I guess I can recommend MX-4 for a nice price/performance ratio.



PS: The worst stuff I found to be the pre-applied paste on GPUs from 2010 and earlier. Even when it was a new card back in the day you could make a decent improvement on your temperatures by replacing it.
 
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TFX came today, worst to apply yet, like trying to spread play dough on wax paper, it just rolls into tubes. Tried pressing it flat, refuses to stick to heatsink and instead clings to applicator. Try to touch up a spot? Remove half of what you've managed to apply. In the end dabbed it with my fingertip to get a uniform coating, no difference in temps from every other paste I've tried including kryonaut, making me sure now that thermal paste means absolutely nothing and I could probably have used 2 sided tape.
 
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TFX came today, worst to apply yet, like trying to spread play dough on wax paper, it just rolls into tubes. Tried pressing it flat, refuses to stick to heatsink and instead clings to applicator. Try to touch up a spot? Remove half of what you've managed to apply. In the end dabbed it with my fingertip to get a uniform coating, no difference in temps from every other paste I've tried including kryonaut, making me sure now that thermal paste means absolutely nothing and I could probably have used 2 sided tape.

That's how I felt about the kryonaut. Did you try warming it up in boiling water before application?
 
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My Kryonaut was ok and easy to work with... until my arm injury. Then, the rest of my tube ended up in a CPU socket via a random nerve spasm spraying it everywhere... but I can't really blame the paste for that.
 
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My Kryonaut was ok and easy to work with... until my arm injury. Then, the rest of my tube ended up in a CPU socket via a random nerve spasm spraying it everywhere... but I can't really blame the paste for that.
Yikes, sorry to hear about your injury.

With that in mind..... If you happen to buy a new pair of underwear and they have loose strings needing to be trimmed off, I highly suggest removing the underwear before attempting to snip the strings with scissors.
 
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Yikes, sorry to hear about your injury.

With that in mind..... If you happen to buy a new pair of underwear and they have loose strings needing to be trimmed off, I highly suggest removing the underwear before attempting to snip the strings with scissors.

I'm just a lefty in training (esp for sharp objects), but thanks for the advice. My right arm still works 99% of the time but make no mistake, when it goes crazy, it can and will attempt to kill you and your project.
 
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i only use deepcool Z9, MX4, coolermaster master gel are close each other so it's pretty fine
the worst is ultra deep cheap paste that looks like chalk + oil
 
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Never ever changed my TIM on my socket 775 build but since I'm upgrading to a Q9650 cpu, SSD & windows 10 I'm going to tear the whole thing down and re apply. Including the North bridge heatpipe. Any validity to this list someone sent me?

1577406916007.png
 

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you'll notice a 4C difference between denture cream and the best regular paste - so yeah the list is accurate

MX4 or kryonaut are the most recommended these days
 
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I remember the list at hard OCP that included Cheese and Mayo; both were withing 5 degrees C, IIRC.

Any good HS compound will be fine; If you're going for lowest possible, lap both surfaces, and use Liquid metal.
If it's not a soldered IHS, you need to delid before you go that far.

I use MX-4 as it's easy to use, works well, and doesn't smell like mayo or cheese. :)

Here we go:



(Please don't use Cheese or Mayo)
 
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