Sony demos silicon sheets that could replace thermal pasteBy Matthew DeCarlo 19 comments
Although applying thermal grease isn't rocket science, there is some guesswork involved, especially if it's not something you do often. It's not uncommon to see questions about the application of thermal paste or even horror stories about the overuse of such compounds. For seasoned enthusiasts, the endeavor is less risky, but it's still a hassle to clean and reapply grease when tinkering with processors and coolers.
Tech-On reports that a new product shown last week in Tokyo by Sony could solve these issues. The company revealed a prototype of a silicon and carbon-based thermal sheet currently known as "EX20000C" that measures 0.3-2.0mm thick with a thermal resistance of 0.4-0.2K cm2/W and a compressive load of about 1-3kgf/cm2 -- five or six times the effectiveness of Sony's previous solution.
EX20000C supposedly meets, if not exceeds the thermal conductivity of standard thermal grease. A show floor exhibit compared the sheet's effectiveness with a conventional setup and it managed to reduce the processor's temperatures by an additional three degrees Celsius. In addition to eliminating cleanup and preventing overapplication, the sheets last longer than paste because they don't degrade.
The chips, coolers and grease involved in this demonstration weren't shared, or at the very least weren't reported by Tech-On. Sony expects the new sheet to be used in high-end servers, projectors and other such machines and it's unclear when or if the solution will be available for your next system build and how much they might cost.