Thermal vs Sticky Pad = Sticky Pad wins ??

By r1_forever ยท 7 replies
Oct 28, 2004
  1. This is an age old topic but I believe I am putting forth a new option for us Pc enthusiasts. I build Pc's for a living and have built more Pc's than I care to remember but the one thing in common with nearly all of them is they are built using the generic Sticky Pad supplied with the processor(I do not build Pentiums unless specifically requested-nothing against Pentuims, just what the business requires). I run approx 8 Pc's full time from home for monthly LAN days and I decided to do a test and replace one of them with a Sticky Pad as for my own Pc's I use Artic Thermal Paste. I used an Athlon 2800 with the usual FX5900, gig of ram etc for components and it is strictly a Gaming Pc. I built this Pc a year ago this week and it is left on 5 out of every 7 days without turning off. It gets used for gaming approx 30 mins a day depending if a new game comes out it will get more. This has been a work in progress test and I have been monitoring it temperature wise fairly consistantly. To date the temp sits on approx 43' celcius and never goes above 55' c even after 7 hours or LAN gaming. Fan wise it has 2 * 80 mm fans in the front of the case and one 80mm in the rear and no more.

    The big question here now is why all the hype about Thermal Paste being so much better than the Sticky Pad? Putting aside all the tech thinking we all do on this subject, from my results there is not much point in going to the time consuming effort of using Thermal Paste is there? I have to admit I am still swayed towards paste but I cannot see why after seeing first hand the results. Is this just something we Pc lovers feel is a 'Must Do' thing when constructing a new Pc?

    I am keen to hear from anyone as to their experiences on the matter and anyones opinions regarding this almost 'Sacred'

  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    When properly applied, the thermal paste wins hand over fist every time. The average temperature with TP is at least 5 degrees C lower than with a thermal pad.
    Thermal pads dry out after a while and lose whatever efficiency they have.
    For an average user, who does email/browsing/letter writing and an occasional game, and who has the PC on for maybe a few hours a day, pads are of little consequence.
    For a professional user or an avid gamer, any degree less in temperature will be a bonus towards stability and PC-life.

    I have built a fair number of PCs, and have always used T-paste rather than T-pads. Have replaced a number of dried-out pads in other peoples machines, because the CPUs were overheating, causing system-instability.

    Combined with CPUIdle Extreme, my Athlon XP1900+ with Zalman Flower, even under heavy load never gets over 35 C, the mobo is always around 29 C. Normal idling is Mobo = 28 C, CPU = 31 C.
    PC is on daily between 7:00am and 8:00pm, sometimes longer, and is used for business, with lots of (not too heavy) graphic applications.
  3. n3tw0rk t3ch

    n3tw0rk t3ch TS Rookie

    Ihave a P4 1.2Ghz with 384 RDRAM PC800. the machine is used by 2 user profiles for typical light use with some gaming (low level games only). i never turn the machine off. i do occasionaly reboot to refresh the resources. should i power completley off for a period at regular intervals? if so, what do you reccomend? :grinthumb
  4. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    Also, the advantage of thermal paste, is it is easy to replace, when rebuilding your pc (e.g. changing fan, swapping processor to another pc etc.), because it just wipes of with some isopropane alcohol, rather than spending hours trying to remove the remains of a thermal pad.
  5. Electrick Gypsy

    Electrick Gypsy TS Rookie Posts: 76

    I've seen the results caused by aged 'sticky pads' . . doesn't look pretty at all.
    All millitary hardware is originally build using paste.
    The slight increase in temperature caused by using pads eventually has quite an extreme result on the life expectancy of any component.
    For longetivity of components, stick with the paste is my very humble opinion.
  6. volken

    volken TS Rookie

    i read ur comments and tried to find the software CpuIdle but cant find it ...............can u pass me any more thing if we use thermal paste there is a chance of drippin probably ............danger to ur procesor and u dont want that............plz be free to reply on my email
  7. Electrick Gypsy

    Electrick Gypsy TS Rookie Posts: 76

  8. John Sawyer CJS

    John Sawyer CJS TS Rookie

    Thermal paste dries out too

    I know this is an old thread, but...

    I've pulled heatsinks off of many processors in Macs, and found the thermal paste Apple has used (and I suspect this is true of many other types of thermal paste too), has dried after a year or two, and I don't mean that hard thermal "glue" that some companies, including Apple, often use. I've even found this to happen using Arctic Silver, on Macs that I've applied it to, and taken apart after a year or two. This implies, at least to me, that some thermal compound contains water. Is there any thermal compound that contains some kind of liquifier that doesn't dry out? More of a silicone-based compound?

    As for thermal pads drying out, that happens too, but the thicker ones I've removed in Macs, about one or two millimeters thick (usually a light yellow color), are still pliable after several years. I wonder if the thermal transfer capability of these aged but still-pliable pads is reduced too. That's as compared to the ones that are much thinner, which don't remain pliable when they've dried out--I can see that those wouldn't be able to transfer heat nearly as well as when new.
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