Vrm thermal pads: can i stick thermal pads on vrm? : buildapc

2019 MBP 16 VRM Cooling Mod : macbookpro

Summary

I now have a companion piece to this here

Edit 17/11/2020: The long promised refactoring

By doing this mod you will reduce your fan speeds and increase CPU and GPU clockspeeds. By allowing the VRM to sink heat into the bottom plate of the laptop we can alleviate low clockspeeds on CPU and GPU despite having low temperatures in combined loads after 20+ minutes.

This cooling mod non-destructive and can easily be removed before manufacturer service/resale. Yes there will may be some silicon oil left on the components, ymmv depending on thermal pads used.

TL:DR Applying some thermal pads to the VRM components of the MBP significantly helps reduce fan noise and allows CPU/GPU to run at higher frequencies. This fixes a problem I could not solve with software.

Results

MBP 16 2019 — i9 2.4GHz 64GB 5500M

Gaming

Pre-mod

Post Mod

  • Now 850MHz+ GPU, 2.2GHz+ CPU

  • With heatsink and slow fan 900MHz+ GPU, 3. 4GHz+ CPU

    • Heatsink resting on the bottom casing of the laptop

    • Alternatively place heatsink ontop of a laptop cooler then the laptop on the heatsink, make sure contact with the bottom of the laptop underneath the touchbar (or 6 and 7 keys) is good

Work

I work as a Data Scientist, this may not represent what other people define as ‘Normal’.

Pre-mod

Post Mod

FAQ

What does this mod solve?

The root cause this solves is high VRM temperatures (Best guess as there are no VRM temperature sensors that I can read). This is a fairly well known issue on similar laptops that I have not seen anyone address on the MBP 16.

What this mod does not solve

Potential downsides

  • The centre back on the bottom of the computer now gets really really hot, too hot to touch so not something you should do something like edit videos on your lap

    • I find that I can still comfortably use the laptop on my lap doing normal work. Just not combined loads (Though this was pretty unconfortable even pre-mod)

    • The upside of this is that resting this hot surface on a small heatsink with airflow can lead to even more performance

  • You will likely see increased CPU and GPU temperatures under combined loads

Does the battery overheat?

Method

Final result image: https://imgur.com/szN31ZY

Before shot for comparison (Thanks iFixit): https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/yvxkmgnPVDVXNi4A.huge

Thermal pads were cut and applied to the MOSFETS and Inductors of the VRM circuitry. I used thicker pads ontop of the MOSFETS so that I could place thinner pads flat across the Inductors and padded MOSFETS.

  • I did not pad the heatpipes coming from the CPU and GPU as I don’t have temperature issues with them

  • Thanks to /u/wcasdf padding both MOSFETS and Inductors seems to be required for prolonged sessions without throttling

I used a Silverstone M. 2 thermal pads I had lying around, the pack came with 1.5mm and 0.5mm pads, both of which I ended up needing. They’re rated at 4W/mK which is below the 6W/mK recommended in this XPS 15 mod guide https://www.ultrabookreview.com/14875-fix-throttling-xps-15/ but seem to work fine.

Anectdotes from the comments section

A combination of 1mm and 1.5mm seemed to work best for people

Several commenters have mentioned additional steps, I consider these optional as the base solution resolved all the problems I could see on my machine. Regardless, others have gone further, notably:

  • /u/IceStormNG padding the Thunderbolt 3 controllers

  • /u/bobba84 for padding additional VRAM VRMs

  • /u/bacuulum for removing the black insulating tape on the backplate

Credit

Thanks to 1096bimu on the MacRumors forum for the inspiration

XPS 15 mod guide https://www.ultrabookreview.com/14875-fix-throttling-xps-15/

Related threads I’ve found

https://bootcampdrivers. freeforums.net/thread/792/fix-macbook-pro-vrm-throttling

Success Stories

List of people who have had success with this mod:

  • /u/Fickle-Childhood6656

  • /u/couch_ech

  • /u/anhdle14

  • /u/bacuulum

  • /u/LuJieFei — With pictures of layers too!

There are so many more in the comments that I have not compiled here.

Best Thermal Pad for CPU, GPU, RAM, VRM, Laptop and Chipset in 2022

(*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!)

A thermal pad is a heat conductive pad or material of a certain thickness that is used to establish heat contact between the heatsink and the chipset or source. It is generally used in places where there is s significant gap between the heatsink and the chip or there is no other way to establish the contact between the two without having to glue them together. Thermal pads and thermal pastes are way different from each other, both in applications and properties, and here is a good comparison between the two.

Thermal Pad vs Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is a semi-solid paste-like substance that is generally used to fill the tiny air gaps that are left behind when the heatsink sits on the processor or any other chip. Thermal paste generally comes in different varieties with different compositions. You can find silicon-based thermal paste, silver component-based thermal paste, liquid metal-based thermal paste, carbon-based, and oxides-based thermal paste. Liquid metal-based thermal pastes have the highest thermal conductivity but they are electrically conductive too, which is a major downside to them and they have to be applied carefully on the surface. Non-metal-based thermal pastes are electrically non-conductive and they are safe to apply without any risk. Thermal paste is also known as thermal grease, thermal interface material (TIM), thermal compound, heatsink paste, or heatsink compound. You can read more about thermal paste by going to the link given below.

Must Read: Best Thermal Paste for CPU, GPU, and Overclocking

On the other hand, Thermal Pad is a solid material (generally soft and foam-like) of a certain thickness that is used to fill uneven and bigger air gaps between the source and the heatsink. They generally have lower heat conductivity and because of their thickness, they do offer less performance compared to the thermal paste. However, with the advancement of technology, there are some highly conductive thermal pads available now that are even better or as good as a carbon-based thermal paste and offer high thermal conductivity. The most commonly available thermal pads are silicone-based thermal pads that have some filler material in them for maximizing heat conductivity. Thermal pads are generally non-adhesive but you can find some self-adhesive thermal pads too.

Thermal pads are generally used for components that generate lesser heat compared to a CPU, which include memory chips, VRM, motherboard chipset/northbridge/southbridge or Platform Hub Controller (PCH), or other ICs. They are also used in consoles, game stations, and some laptops where the CPU or GPU is relatively less powerful and generates lesser heat compared to faster processors used in computers. They are also great for DIY cooling for routers, repeaters, and other heat-generating components. Thermal pads are available in various thicknesses (0.5mm, 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm) and sizes, and here I am going to list down the best thermal pads of different varieties for your cooling needs.       

Pro Tip: If possible, get slightly thicker thermal pads than actually needed for better fitting and eliminating any kind of air gaps.

Must Read: How to Find VRM Temperature of Motherboard & GPU

Best Thermal Pads

Here are the best thermals pads for CPU, GPU, Memory (RAM / VRAM), M.2 SSD, Gaming Consoles (PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, etc.), GPU Waterblock, Motherboard chipset, 3D printers, PCBs, Raspberry Pi 3 and for Heatsinks.

IC Graphite Thermal Pad

[One of the Best Thermal Pads for CPU & GPU]

If you are looking for a thermal pad for CPU and GPU then IC Graphite Thermal Pad is currently one of the best in the business. It is a graphite-based thermal pad having a thermal conductivity of 35 W/m-K which is way more than Arctic MX-4, which is a carbon particle-based thermal paste having a thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/(mK) only. The thermal pad is electrically conductive because graphite is a good conductor of both heat and electricity. So, you have to be very careful applying it to the processor or CPU  because if it comes in contact with an electrical circuit of components then it can short circuit them, and can cause serious damage.

The thermal pad is available in two sizes, which are 30mmx30mm and 40mm x 40mm. However, you can cut it according to your desired size and shape, if the processor is smaller or the die is naked, which is generally found in laptops and game consoles. This is a completely dry thermal pad and has an operating temperature range of -200 C to +400C, which is remarkable. It is a non-sticky and non-adhesive thermal pad and is reusable. The performance of this thermal pad is comparable to some of the popular high-performance thermal compounds that include Noctua NT-h2, Arctic MX-4, Gelid GC Extreme, and Arctic Silver 5. So, if you are looking for a viable alternative to a thermal paste then I would highly recommend IC Graphite Thermal Pad. It is reusable, non-messy, offers great performance, and is reasonably priced for a thing that is reusable and can run for a lifetime.

Important Note: The thermal pad is quite thin at 0.1mm, so it cannot be used for larger gaps that are mostly found between the heatsink and VRM, Memory / VRAM, or other chipsets.  

IC Graphite Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 30mm X 30mm, 40 X40mm 
Thickness 0.2mm
Material Graphite
Thermal Conductivity 35 W/m-K
Electrically Conductive Yes
Temperature Range -200°C to 400°C
Adhesive No
Usage / Applications CPU, GPU, Gamestation, or Consoles

Buy IC Graphite Thermal Pad

Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut Thermal Pad

[Higher Thermal Conductivity than IC Graphite]

Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut is a carbon-based thermal pad with high thermal conductivity of 62. 5W/mK, which is almost double the IC Graphite Thermal Pad mentioned above. Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut is a newer product and is even better than IC Graphite Thermal Pad in terms of performance. It is very thin at 0.2mm and is available in various sizes for different CPUs and GPUs. Just like IC Graphite Thermal Pad, Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut is also electrically conductive and should be carefully put on the CPU or GPU die or IHS, so that it does interact with the other components, connections, or pins and short them out.

Size (in mm) CPU / GPU
32×32 Intel Desktop CPUs (115x) e.g 6700K, 7700K, 9900K
38×38 Intel 20xx HEDT CPUs and AMD Desktop CPUs. e.g. 7900X, 7980XE, 2700X, 1800X, 6950X
51×68 AMD Threadripper CPUs e.g. 1950X, 1920X, 2990WX
25×25 Nvidia GPUs (RTX 2080)
31×25 Nvidia GPUs (RTX 2080 Ti)

Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut is best suited for Air cooling but can be used for water cooling and for an average amount of overclocking. It is very flexible and should be handled with care, otherwise, you may tear it. Also, it does not dry out and is reusable for many applications. The performance of this thermal pad is comparable to that of a good thermal paste e.g. Arctic MX-4, Noctua NT-h2, Arctic Silver 5. Also, the performance of this thermal pad does not degrade over time and remains the same as new. It can operate in a temperature range of -250 °C / +150 °C, which is quite decent as the throttling temperature for most of the CPUs and GPUs is around 100 °C only. This thermal pad is also great to use in laptops and gaming consoles, because of its much higher performance and thinner size. Highly Recommended by me.

Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 32x32mm, 38x38mm, 51x68mm, 25x25mm, 31x25mm
Thickness 0.2mm
Material Carbon-based (Graphite)
Thermal Conductivity 62. 5W/mK
Electrically Conductive Yes
Temperature Range -250 °C / +150 °C
Adhesive No
Usage / Application CPU, GPU, Laptops, Gaming Consoles

Buy Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut Thermal Pad

Arctic Thermal Pad

[For VRM, VRAM, Chipsets, Consoles]

If you are looking for a cheap and branded thermal pad with pretty good thermal conductivity then Arctic Thermal Pad is what you should get. This Thermal Pad is available in various thicknesses and sizes so that it can fill any gap perfectly. This blue-colored thermal pad is available in 50mmx50mm and 145mmx145mm sizes and has thicknesses of 0.5mm, 1mm, and 1.5mm. It has a thermal conductivity of 6.0 W/mK and can operate in a temperature range of 40 to 200°C. This is a silicone-based thermal pad with special filler material that is not disclosed by the company. The thermal pad is electrically non-conductive and is also non-capacitive.

The thermal pad is soft, spongy, and squishy, so it is better to go for a slightly higher thickness to get the best fitting between the heatsink and the chipset or source. It is non-sticky in nature and can be easily removed and repositioned on ICs or Chipsets. You can also cut into pieces or sizes of the desired shape depending upon the chipset / IC dimension.

This thermal pad can be used for graphics card VRM, VRAM, and Backplate, and also for motherboard VRM, chipsets, and other chipsets, ICs, and heatsinks. You can also use it on the processors of high-performance wireless routers and also on laptop GPU and heatsink assembly. It offers relatively better performance over the Phobya Ultra and JunPus Jp-P600 thermal pads. Below is the performance comparison of the Arctic thermal pad with other popular thermal pads.

Arctic Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 145mmx145mm, 50mmx50mm
Thickness 0. 5mm, 1mm, 1.5mm
Material Silicone-based with some special filler
Thermal Conductivity 6.0 W/mK
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range -40 to 200°C
Adhesive No
Usage / Applications Laptop GPU, RAM, VRAM, VRM, Chipsets / Heatsinks

Buy Arctic Thermal Pad

Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8

[For Notebooks, RAM, VRM, Gamestations]

Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8 is a high-performance thermal pad and is generally used as a gap filler between the chip and the heatsink. It is a silicon-based thermal pad that uses metal oxides as fillers. It has got a thermal conductivity of 8.0 W/mK, which is more than the Arctic thermal pad mentioned above. The thermal pad is electrically non-conductive and is safe to use in electrical devices and components. Well, this is a non-adhesive thermal pad at first, but when it gets hot then it becomes adhered to the heatsink.

It is a beige or Red-brown colored thermal pad that is soft, and elastic, and is available in different sizes (30x30mm, 120x20mm, 100x100mm) and thicknesses (0.5mm, 1mm, 1,5mm, 2mm). The operating temperature range of the thermal pad is from -100°C to +250°C, which is enough for almost all types of components. It can be used for PCs, notebooks, LED / LCD devices, gaming consoles, semiconductors, transformers and GPUs, VRAM, RAM, VRMs, Mainboard chipsets, and other ICs & Chipsets. Overall, a pretty good thermal pad for keeping your devices and components cool and safe.

Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8 Specifications
Size 30x30mm, 120x20mm, 100x100mm
Thickness 0.5mm, 1mm, 1,5mm, 2mm
Material Silicon with metal oxides (nano aluminum oxide)
Thermal Conductivity 8.0 W/mK
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range -100°C to +250°C
Adhesive No
Usage / Applications Notebooks, Tablets, GPU, RAM, VRAM, VRM, LCDs, Semiconductors, Transformers, Chipsets / Heatsinks

Buy Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8

Thermalright ODYSSEY Thermal Pad

[High Thermal Conductivity, Easy to Apply, Various Thickness Available]

If you are looking for a high-quality silicone thermal pad then ODYSSEY Thermal Pad is one of the best options available. It is manufactured by Thermalright which is known for its high-quality cooling solutions that include CPU coolers, case fans, and thermal paste. Thermalright ODYSSEY Thermal Pad is a high-performance silicone thermal pad that has a high thermal conductivity of 12.8 W/mk. It is made up of silica gel material and is electrically non-conductive. The thermal pad is sticky and can work in temperatures ranging from -200°C to 400°C.

Thermalright ODYSSEY is a gray color Thermal Pad and is available in 85x45mm or 120x120mm sheets with 0.5mm, 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, and 3mm thickness. It is a non-corrosive, non-curing, and non-toxic thermal pad. It can be used in a wide range of applications and components ranging from CPU, GPU, SSD, Laptop, DRAM memory modules, VRM, IC, Heatsinks, Game consoles, communication devices, car control devices, set-top boxes, IGPT modules, game equipment, etc.

Thermalright ODYSSEY Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 85×45 mm, 120×120 mm
Thickness 0. 5mm, 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm
Material Silicone-based
Thermal Conductivity 12.8 W/mk
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range -200°C to 400°C
Adhesive Yes (Sticky)
Usage / Application CPU, GPU, SSD, Laptop, DRAM memory modules, VRM, IC, Heatsinks, Game consoles, communication devices, car control devices, game equipment, etc.

Buy Thermalright ODYSSEY Thermal Pad

Phobya Ultra Thermal Pad

[For Memory, VRM, Chipsets, Game Consoles]

A decent thermal pad from Phobya having a thermal conductivity of 5.0 W/mK, which is a bit less than the Arctic Thermal Pad. However, the thermal pad is good enough to use on memory chips, VRM, Motherboard Northbridge or Southbridge, Heatsinks, Laptops, ICs, and chipsets of various electronic devices or components. It is a soft grey color thermal pad that is available in 30x30mm, 120x20mm, and 100x100mm sheets and thickness ranging from 0. 5mm to up to 3mm for filling even the biggest of gaps.

Phobya Ultra Thermal Pad is slightly adhesive and can be applied easily on the heatsink and the source. You can cut this spongy and flexible thermal pad according to the heatsink or chip size, and it can also be compressed down to half of its original height. Officially the temperature range figure is not disclosed by the company but it can operate up to 150°C or 200°C without any issues.   

Phobya Ultra Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 30x30mm, 120x20mm, 100x100mm
Thickness 0.5mm, 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm
Material Silicone based
Thermal Conductivity 5.0 W/mK
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range Not specified
Adhesive Slightly Adhesive
Usage / Applications Memory, VRM, Chipsets & ICs, Heatsinks

Buy Phobya Ultra Thermal Pad

Alphacool Eisschicht Thermal Pad 17W/mk

[Self Adhesive and High Thermal Conductivity]

High-performance thermal pad from Alphacool that even beats the Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8 when it comes to cooling performance. This silicone compound based thermal pad has a thermal conductivity of 17W/mK which is among the best, and it can be used as a gap filter between the heatsink and RAM, VRAM, Chipsets, and ICs. It can also be used with CPU coolers, and graphics cards and has many other applications.

The thermal pad is soft, compressible, and available in different sizes and thicknesses. You can cut the thermal pad sheets into smaller pieces with scissors according to your requirements for proper fitting. Also, it is a self-adhesive thermal pad that is sticky on both sides, which makes it very easy to apply as it can hold onto heatsinks and chips much better. The only thing that might bother some users about this thermal pad is that it is a bit expensive compared to other silicone-based soft thermal pads.

Note: This thermal compound is also available in lower thermal conductivity of 11 W/mK & 14 W/mK, which are a bit cheaper than the 17 W/mK variants.

Alphacool Eisschicht 17 W/mK Thermal Pad
Size 120x20mm, 100x100mm
Thickness 0.5mm, 1.0mm, 1.5mm
Material Silicone compound
Thermal Conductivity 17W/mK
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range -40°C to +150°C
Adhesive Yes, Sticky on both sides
Usage / Applications CPU, GPU, VRM, RAM Coolers / Heat Spreader, VRAM, Chipsets & ICs, Heatsinks, GPU Water block

Buy Alphacool Eisschicht Thermal Pad 17W/mk

Fujipoly SARCON XR-m Thermal Pad

[High Thermal Conductivity of 17.0W/m-K, Sticky]

Fujipoly is a US-based company that makes high-performance Thermal Interface Materials, Elastomeric Connectors, and Custom Silicone Extrusions. Here we have a very high thermal conductivity thermal pad from it, which is the Fujipoly SARCON XR-m Thermal Pad or Fujipoly Ultra Extreme XR-m Thermal Pad. This thermal pad has a thermal conductivity of 17 W/mK, which is among the highest of all, and equal to that of Alphacool 17 W/mK Eisschicht Thermal Pad.

Fujipoly Ultra Extreme XR-m Thermal Pad is available in various sizes and thicknesses that are mentioned in the table below. The thermal pad is light gray in color and is made of Silicone Compound. It is sticky on both sides, which makes it very easy to apply to the heatsink and the component. It can operate in temperatures ranging from -50°C to +150°C and is best suited for Laptops, Gaming Consoles, Voltage Regulators (VRM), Memory ICs, Chipsets, etc.

Note: A cheaper version of this thermal pad is also available as Fujipoly Extreme X-e Thermal Pad which has a lower thermal conductivity of 11.0W/m-K, which is still on the higher side of the spectrum.

Fujipoly SARCON XR-m Thermal Pad Specifications
Size 60x50mm, 100x15mm
Thickness 0. 5mm, 1mm
Material Silicone Compound
Thermal Conductivity 17.0W/m-K
Electrically Conductive No
Temperature Range -50°C to +150°C
Adhesive Yes, Double Sticky
Usage / Applications Laptops, Gaming Consoles, Voltage Regulators (VRM), Memory ICs, Chipsets

Buy Fujipoly SARCON XR-m Thermal Pad

Best Thermal Adhesive

Thermal Adhesive is used to join two thermal conductive components together for better heat transfer. Thermal Adhesives should be used with caution because they do form a stronger or permanent bond between components, and if you try to remove them afterward then you can damage your components by doing so. They should only be used in applications where you are sure that you do not need to separate the components in the future and wants them to hold intact for life. Here are some good thermal adhesives that you can use for such tasks.

Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive

Unarguably the best thermal adhesive in the market right now and is made with 99.8% pure micronized silver and contains 62% to 65% silver content by weight. It has a thermal conductivity of 7.5 W/mK which is quite good and is very close to the thermal conductivity of Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. The thermal adhesive has negligible electrical conductivity and is a bit capacitive too, so it must be kept away from electrical paths, pins, and circuitry because it may cause some problems otherwise.

It comes with two parts or syringes A and B, with each containing 3.5 grams of adhesive material (Resin and Hardener), just like an epoxy setup. For application, you have to mix equal parts from both syringes using the plastic wand, and then apply to join the components together. The adhesive takes some time to cure (1 hour or so), and after that, it will form a permanent hard bond that is quite hard to break. It can safely operate in the temperature range of -40 °C to +150 °C. However, bond strength is slightly weakened at temperatures below 0°C due to crystallization. This epoxy thermal adhesive can be used for a variety of applications that include attaching heatsinks to ICs, electronics / electrical/mechanical assembly, DIY projects, and much more.

Important Note: This thermal adhesive forms a permanent bond and should not be used with CPU coolers, GPU coolers, or heatsinks. Also, it should be kept cold and away from UV light (sunlight and fluorescent lighting).

Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive Specifications
Thermal Conductivity 7.5 W/mK
Electrically Conductive Slightly
Capacitive Slightly
Operating Temperature Range -40 °C to +150 °C

Buy Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive

Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive

Another thermal adhesive from Arctic, but this one is ceramic based and is lighter in weight compared to the Arctic Silver thermal adhesive. Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive is also a permanent epoxy-type thermal adhesive. It is completely electrically non-conductive and non-capacitive, which is not the case with Arctic Silver. This makes it a perfect choice for use in electronic and electrically conductive components. However, in terms of performance, it is slightly behind Arctic Silver, because the Arctic Silver thermal adhesive uses silver particles that have higher thermal conductivity over ceramic metal oxides.

Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive uses aluminum oxide and boron nitride as filler for heat transfer. It comes in 5g and 14g packs. The method of application is the same as the epoxy setup where you have to mix equal parts from two syringes A and B in a 1:1 ratio and let it cure after application. It should not be used with CPU / GPU heatsinks and coolers because this thermal adhesive also forms a permanent bond with the components, and if you try to remove it then you can damage your components permanently.

Typical usage of this thermal adhesive includes attaching heatsinks onto small ICs and chips, automotive, electronics, LEDs mainboards, and for use in the home and industrial appliances, components, and devices. Also, it works great for resealing your delidded processor because it is electrically non-conductive and non-capacitive and forms a strong bond. It can work in the temperature range of -40 °C to +150 °C but the bond strength may get slightly weakened under 0°C due to crystallization.

Note: It should be kept cold and away from UV light (sunlight and fluorescent lighting).

Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive Specifications
Thermal Conductivity < 7 W/mK
Electrically Conductive No
Capacitive No
Operating Temperature Range -40 °C to +150 °C

Buy Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive (5g)

Buy Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive (14g)

Best Thermal Tape

Thermal Tapes are thin adhesive tapes that are thermally conductive. Their thermal conductivity is way lower than thermal pads and thermal pastes, and they are generally used to hold components together that generate heat because they can withstand high temperatures without breaking down. They are not preferred for their thermal transferability but are generally used in combination with thermal pads and thermal paste to mount, bond, or hold heatsinks or other components.  

Thermal tapes are electrically non-conductive and are generally used in electronic or electrical devices, LEDs, 3D printers, motors, electronic appliances, power supplies, LCDs, Laptops, Raspberry Pi 3, hard drives, memory, LED TVs, industrial appliances, etc. Here are some good thermal tapes that can be used for such applications.

Aikenuo Thermal Adhesive Tape

A generic or standard double-sided thermal adhesive tape having a thermal conductivity of 1.5 W/mK. It is 20mm wide and 25M in length and is available in thicknesses of 0.15mm and 0.25mm. The thermal tape is electrically non-conductive and has high tensile strength and strong adhesion to hold any device in place firmly.

This thermal adhesive tape has a variety of applications as it can be used for use with Heatsinks, LED, IGBT modules, IC Chip, CPU, GPU, RAM Modules, MOS Tubes, SSD Drives, 3D Printers, LED TVs, Automotive and other electronic and industrial equipment, devices or appliances. It can operate in a temperature range of -30 to +150 °C and has a lifespan of 5 years.

Aikenuo Thermal Adhesive Tape Specifications
Size & Length 20mm x 25M (W x L)
Thickness 0.15mm, 0.25mm
Adhesive Double-Sided
Thermal Conductivity 1.5 W/mK

Buy Aikenuo Thermal Adhesive Tape

3M Thermally Conductive Adhesive Transfer Tape

A very popular and highly reliable thermal tape that can be used for various tasks. It is also a double-sided thermal tape and has high mechanical strength. The thermal conductivity of the tape is 0. 60 W/mK and it is available in multiple sizes, lengths, and thicknesses. It can be used to provide a heat-transfer path between heat-generating components and heat sinks or other cooling devices (e.g., fans, heat spreaders, or heat pipes). The tape is halogen-free and can operate at high temperatures without breaking down. It uses ceramic as a filler and is ideal for thin bonding applications. You can check out various sizes of this tape by going to the link given below.

3M Thermally Conductive Adhesive Transfer Tape Specifications
Size & Length See link below
Thickness Very thin
Adhesive Double-Sided
Thermal Conductivity 0.60W/mK

Buy 3M Thermally Conductive Adhesive Tape

Other Good Thermal Tapes

  • BCP 20mm x 25M Double Side Adhesive Thermal Tape

Final Words

Thermal pads, thermal tapes, and thermal adhesive, all have their own specific areas of application and it is not wise to replace any one of them with others. Thermal pads are mainly used as gap fillers and may be used with thermal tapes for holding down the components for a better grip. On, the other hand thermal adhesive is used to form a strong and permanent bond between the components. Also, choosing the right thermal material for your cooling needs is very important, because if you make a wrong decision then you might end up in trouble and may damage the components. So, if you have any queries related to this topic then please ask them by leaving a comment below.

A number of video card manufacturers have been caught using low-quality thermal pads

3DNews Technologies and IT market. Video card news A number of video card manufacturers have been caught in and…

The most interesting in the reviews


08/09/2021 [16:18],

Nikolai Khizhnyak

The editor-in-chief of the portal Igor’sLAB Igor Wallosek lamented that, in pursuit of maximum profit, graphics card manufacturers are saving even on such things as thermal pads for memory chips and VRM. And this, in turn, leads to various kinds of consequences, sometimes very serious.

Image Source: Igor’sLAB

There has been a growing number of complaints from video card owners online about leaking silicone thermal pads, which are used to transfer heat from the video card’s memory and power subsystem (VRM) chips to the heat sink.

A feature of the same NVIDIA GPUs of the Ampere generation is that the surface of the crystal is slightly convex. By the way, the previous generation Turing GPUs were concave. According to NVIDIA specifications, the height of this bulge can reach up to 0.068 mm.

Contact surface of Ampere chips

This feature, of course, can be compensated for by using the correct thermal paste, which creates a smooth contact surface, however, for some video cards that got to Vallosec’s research, the bulge of the GPU crystal was even higher — 0.08 mm, which already raises questions for the chip production quality control department. It is already becoming much more difficult to compensate for such a disadvantage with the help of thermal paste. Therefore, manufacturers in this case, to create the necessary clamping force between the radiator and the contact surface of the cooled elements, use thicker thermal pads. The trouble is that not everyone uses high-quality thermal pads.

Good thermal pads should be flexible enough to apply pressure evenly over the entire area of ​​the chip. In addition, they must withstand the high temperatures of the memory chips and VRMs. However, for some, saving is more important. A number of manufacturers use cheap and not very elastic or, on the contrary, too elastic pads. In the first case, this can lead to bending of the printed circuit board, as you can see if you look at the photo below.

In the second case, the gaskets literally begin to leak. Silicone that gets on the chips and VRM microcircuits after cooling begins to crystallize, which leads to a deterioration in their cooling.

It is noted that the problems are observed in the products of many companies. MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac and other manufacturers have been noticed using low-quality thermal pads.

An example of a careless installation of a thermal pad that curled up and put excessive pressure on the PCB. For example, PowerColor released the Radeon RX 6700 XT video cards for sale, in which the factory forgot to remove the protective film from the thermal pads before installing the cooling on the printed circuit board. Apparently, thermal interfaces are installed not at the PowerColor factory, but at the cooler supplier’s factory, and the PowerColor assembler simply didn’t examine this aspect.

According to Igor Vallosek, manufacturers could take a more responsible approach to the production of video cards, prices for which today are two or even three times higher than their recommended cost. Saving on pennies even on the scale of mass production of components will eventually result in big losses for the manufacturer as a result of the return of cards under warranty by their owners.

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Thermal pads — forced reality | ru.hw-lab.com

Contents
  • Introduction
  • In search of the best
  • Methodology
  • Testing
  • We try with thermal gun
  • CONSUMENTS

9000 elements of the power subsystem instead of thermal paste is a necessary measure due to design features. But few people thought about how effective such a replacement is for the final temperatures.

The idea to test thermal pads (“thermal elastic bands”, “thermo stickies”) came up for a reason. Assembling my first CBO, I ran into some problems. It was the exorbitant temperatures of the batteries of the graphics accelerator and problems in the operation of the video card itself — artifacts in some games. I used Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X2 4870-X 2 LT for my ATi Radeon 4870×2. As in most similar designs, thermal pads are used to contact the batteries, voltage regulators and memory with the base of the water block. However, the same way of contact is in the reference cooling system. Included with the water block was a full set of gaskets of different thicknesses, pre-cut for a more convenient installation. Fully following the instructions, I placed each gasket on the element intended for it. For part of the power and memory subsystem, small squares and strips 1 mm thick were used, and strips 0.5 mm thick were used for the PCIe switch and the rest of the power subsystem (VRM) elements, in particular Vitec voltage regulators.

Having an idea about the temperatures of the GPU and other elements of the video card when using the reference cooling system, I started testing a new liquid cooling system for me. And here I suffered some disappointment caused by the high temperatures of the VRM elements. Even when the video card was idle, the temperature of these elements reached 55°C. And this despite the fact that the temperatures of both GPUs were in the range of 43-44°C. While playing on a PC, the VRM elements of the video card heated up to 80-9 without hesitation0°C — I have never seen such temperatures even when using the “native” reference cooling system. When the video card was loaded with the Furmark stress test (aka “donut”), as in other synthetic tests, after a few minutes the temperature of the video card batteries reached 120 ° C and above. On this, testing was completed, the SVO was partially dismantled, and the search for the problem of such high temperatures began. First of all, the pressure of the water block to the elements of the video card was checked and its uniformity — everything is tight and even. The gaskets were crushed and the markings of the elements were imprinted on them, the gaskets were thinner and completely stuck to the radiator. The conclusion suggested itself — the point is in the gaskets themselves, because. element temperatures when cooled by a fullcover water block, by definition, cannot be worse than when using the “native” air cooling system.

I compared the appearance and texture of the gaskets from the native cooling system and those supplied with the full cover — they turned out to be completely different. Since I didn’t have a new set of other gaskets at that time, I had to look for improvised ways and opportunities to solve the problem. Without thinking twice, I smeared the gaskets on both sides with Thermalright Chill-Factor thermal paste, which was available in huge quantities. After reassembling and launching the CBO, I immediately proceeded to temperature tests. At idle, the temperature of the video card’s batteries dropped slightly to 50°C, but under load it was quite noticeable to 100-105°C after 30 minutes of donut testing. Unfortunately, the desired results were not achieved. At that time, it was decided to finish testing and leave everything as it is.