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Discussion on Article:
Thermal Interfaces Roundup: Retail Products
Trying to spread it out uniformly across the processor manually, generally leads to using more compound than is required which promotes lateral heat spreading instead of just direct to the cooler. It also increases the chance of introducing bubbles of air into the system.
That said, I don't have concrete proof of this. It'd be quite nice if someone with the time and resources proved whether I was correct using some kind of solid methodology - hint hint.
It's weird the reviewer recommends a practice almost everyone else is against to.
You already have your thin layer results, shouldn't take that much time to settle it.
It is perfectly visible that only liquid thermopastes are more or less normally distributed at drawing by a drop or strip method.
Much more densely, therefore them it is necessary to put all modern thermopastes here so:
By the way, some manufacturers (for example ZEROtherm) recommend such method.
Also, look at the comments to video 2. Look at how the video has received more thumbs down than up (not that the masses are always right, but if youtube viewers think something is awful, typically it is). Note the second-highest rated comment. Also, WTF is the point of making a pretty shape if you're just going to spread it everywhere manually anyway?
You challenge us to look at your pictures and ask us to let you know if we see anything wrong with the coverage you have. The point is we can't. You've already removed the heatsink and things never seperate evenly. We can't see where the air bubbles were. You point out that with the dot method, the corners are sometimes not covered - this is a good point and likely leads to sub-optimal heat transfer. However, the chip manufacturers as well as the thermal compound makers will tell you that MOST of the heat comes out the center region (because that's where most of the processing occurs). Additionally, many heatsinks have a round base that is slightly smaller than the square chip anyway, so it doesn't matter if those corners are uncovered, in fact it will help A BIT if they are uncovered (heat transfer from the HS to air vs HS to TIM to air). Of course, if you had a square base or circumscribe the chip with the base of the heatsink, it'd be better to go out all the way to the edges, but that's where the line or cross methods come in handy.
I'm actually concerned with the apply-pressure methods (dots, lines, etc) as well, because I figure if I initially apply pressure a bit more on the left side, it'll squirt the stuff to the right, not leaving much to spread to the left. I assume the high viscosity of modern pastes corrects for this a bit, which is why manufactures (of chips, heatsinks and pastes) don't really mention it, other than to suggest that you apply diagonal pressure. In any case, a spread method is undesirable, so your best bet is learning the proper technique of applying equal pressure and application of an ideal amount of TIM with a dot/line method.
I find this enough not to trust you.
I write articles about computer 8 years completing already more and I will write and further, what claims at you here wouldn't be.
1. bottom of heat sink needs to be 1 thing (ie. a solid copper block), looks like the heatsink you used base is made of heat pipes connected (with minute gaps between)
2. sounds like you got it no where near hot enough for reflow, you are meant to fire all cores on your cpu (for a six core it says you need 12 instances of CPU burn-in program running)
3. having fans running on your heatsink (or near) would also severely limit it's ability to reflow "melt"
4. also indigio suggests using spring mounted/pressured heatsink.
as Indigio Extreme is one of the better thermal interfaces around at the moment maybe you should review it's instructions and redo it's section of your review. (anyone interested in Indigio extreme should review all documentation regarding it and your heatsink before purchasing)
(also for large air cooled heatsinks i have heard people have used heatguns to quicken heating the massive amount of metal to achieve reflow)
I haven't used the Indigo Extreme yet for my new build (I'm waiting on mobo to arrive), but I've read the instructions and closely watched their posted video. When I read what you did, it sounded wrong right from the start were you where talking about 90ºC and the like.
Instead of the video you reference in your article, you ought to watch THIS video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8fS20W_low That is their 'official' video demonstration for how to install it, NOT the one to which you linked.
OTOH, I know this report was not an easy one to do. Actually it is probably one of the most difficult I have yet seen. In most of it you should be commended for your hard work, explanations, and comparisons. Thx!
Two other things. Besides the CPU's they list at their website (http://www.indigo-xtreme.com/documentation.html), I have an email from Enerdyne Solutions which states the Indigo Xtreme made for the LGA1156 chipset will work fine for the new Sandybridge LGA1155 chipset.
Crazy PC has reduced their price from $17.99 to $14.95 at http://www.crazypc.com/st...GA1156&Category_Code=
As for #4, having used both arctic silver and mx2 a lot its my experince that the burn in time specified by arctic silver is not exagerated. It takes at lot longer to burn in than at least the mx2. So im not surprise about your results, as 1 hour of burn in doesn't make any difference at all with that compound. I would expect the temps to be at least around mx2 & 3 after the correct burn in time and probs. I've also found that AS retains its heat transfer properties longer than at least mx2 meaning you dont have to reapply as often, which is why im staying with it myself.
But anyways, respect to you for doing a behemoth of a test like this, not only is it time consuming as hell but taking on testing so many tims will always result in a lot of ppl commenting on methodology and what not its kinda like religion and i dont think its possible to do to everyones satisfaction, not even if you spent a year
If you guys insult the overclocking enthusiast community by treating all of us like idiots saying that we're so dumb for doing the dot/line pressure method, what is really happening here is that the gun is backfiring right at you as we feel that the disrespect is totally unwarranted, so we in turn disrespect your absolute conclusion that your paste-spreading method is superior to our many years of experience with experimenting with the dot-pressure method.
I know it was a lot of hard work, that you're probably feeling frustrated with all of the comments here, but it does not mean you have to blow us off and treat us like idiots to the point where you completely ignore everybody else including the LN2-pouring experts.
My own experience is that both Tuniq TX-2 and Thermalright Chillfactor II beat Arctic Silver 5, but with a twist to it (the difference became clear only if I already used AS5 on the heatsink). After the first time AS5 was applied to the heatsink and IHS, you do not even need to worry about the curing time if you reapply AS5 because the TIM is already in the grooves of the heatsink block, even after you wipe it off. With the "ideal" silver already in the grooves, it's a better idea to use the highest thermal-conductivity paste between the heatsink and the chip to do the rest of the work. The silver particles in AS5 are rather coarse and large-sized, so using another TIM to make its way further into the grooves around the large silver particles being stuck in the cracks further boosts the overall thermal conductivity. I know silver is simply the best conductor next to diamond, but AS5 isn't pure silver (80% silver by weight, which probably means around 30% silver by volume) and the rest of the material is not as good as that of MX-4 for example. AS5 wins out in this 80-way shootout benchmark:
If you used the "five-dot" (the middle dot being 1/2 the size of a BB-gun pellet, and 4 smaller dots placed around the middle dot, halfway in between the middle and the corners, about half the size of the middle dot) method without manually spreading it out onto the CPU, it would have worked wonders. Why leave out the MX-4? If you used your lapped IFX-14 (my IFX-14 is also lapped), you wouldn't have to worry about the heatsink being concave. Also, for the heatsinks with direct-contact heatpipes, it's usually recommended by the manufacturer to use the stripe method.
I wish that you could've consulted the community about Indigo Xtreme before making such a negative review about it. A reviewer needs to be as well-informed as possible before jumping to such a conclusion.
The imprint is as uniform as I wanted it to be, and better because it means improved integration into the micro-cracks of the heatsink. The 5-dot method cools it 2 degrees better than the spread method for my lapped IFX-14 with Gelid GC-Extreme. I checked the ambient temperature and it was same to within one degree Fahrenheit. BTW, Gelid GC-Extreme turned out as the best one besides liquid metal:
What I do is press the heatsink as hard as possible onto the CPU (without breaking anything or bending the motherboard) and then twist/rotate it back and forth a few times. After that, the mounting has to be secure enough that the heatsink cannot move or be twisted. That's ok if you could still twist it slightly with some force, but it should not be easy.
I'm not trying to convince you or talk you down. It's just what I've seen myself (assuming that both my eyes and the numbers do not lie), and I only wish to share it, that's all. Hope it helps, dear readers.
I've used "Coollaboratory Liquid PRO" as sold by FrozenCPU, which being made in Germany and sold in pretty much an identical blister pack is probably just a rebrand of what was tested. I like it a lot, but it can be a pain to apply and especially to remove (you usually must re-lap the metal surfaces if you don't plan to use the liquid metal again).
One very important thing that needs to be mentioned, do NOT use these liquid metal formulations on aluminum! The alloy prevents the aluminum from forming it's normal oxide layer, so your aluminum heatsink and/or mounts will disintegrate as they literally "rust" away!
I have been using Tuniq TX-2 in the past and it's pretty easy to apply, until I purchased TX-3, and now TX-4... which are super waste of money.
Thermalright ChillFactor III
Between these three, which one them will you rate them as the easiest to apply?
I'm writing this (2 years later) on behalf of any readers that would have some drought’s about the methodology or techniques used in Jordan’s tests as to how YOU the reader and superb computer enthusiast should read them.
Whatever technique you use to spread thermal paste doesn't matter here!!! Hoooouuu, this was quite brutal I'm so sorry (not)!
What really counts: Consistency!
For every product tested, Jordan used the same technique, with very similar amount of product in the exact same conditions. What you smart readers get are numbers, showing you how the products performs in these conditions.
Your job: Interpret these results for what they are. Your super techniques might bring different results, yes. You know best since you probably played with as much CPUs and GPUs then our Xbitlabs friends, right? Help yourself and share your own results and techniques and help us grown smarter! Tell us what you've done and how you did it. Be useful!
Thank you very much Jordan for taking the time to test these fine products. Thanks for sharing your techniques and posting the nice pictures showing your thermal imprints and product properties. Please don’t ever get bored of doing this since I don’t have the time and money to buy and test that much stuff. I actually really need you guys.
Personally, I favor Artic Silver MX-4, Tuniq TX-/-4 and the Gelid GC-Extreme paste. Like Jordan, I like to spread a VERY thin layer of paste all across the cpu using a sharp razor blade. How do I choose what I buy? I buy the one that's the cheapest when I need some and know what; my computers purr like kittens.
As Mhudon pointed out, the fact that the HSC was applied consistently with all of the HSCs under test matters, despite some users preference towards using bead/line, and doesn't invalidate the benefit of this test. What some users are saying however is that you may get better thermals with bead/line.
I personally have tried both, and haven't experienced any appreciable difference in temps with either method, but it could be due to multiple factors, such as the way I use the spread technique, the amount of HSC, and the type of heatsink itself or the way the temps are measured. One thing I did notice was that you will get a thicker amount of HSC using bead/line that you would if you applied a thin layer overall. The youtube video with the acrylic block shows air pockets, but IMHO, the HSC layer was too thick in that example.
In defence of AS5: It does require burn in time with thermal cycling to properly set. It would be interesting to know how it compares when it is properly set to the others. But it is not quite an honest rating when it hasn't properly cured. This test also doesn't factor in HSC longevity.
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