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Brian

What's your preferred brand of thermal paste for your notebook and why?

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So was talking to another T|I member and he mentioned his preference for GE-Extreme because it's thicker vs other pastes like MX-4 for use in his Clevo system. Now from personal experience, I've never had issues with using a paste like MX-4 in a mobile system like Alienware and can't imagine there's much variation between performance notebook heatsinks. Plus someone did a really thorough test on different pastes over at hwbot forum and presented these results:

post-5-14494999519066_thumb.png

So as you can see, there's <1C difference between a more expensive paste like GC-Extreme and others like MX-4. My last desktop build with a 3770K processore and 2 GTX Titans all used MX-4 for over 1 year and it didn't dry out and the thermal capacity remained consistent. So based on personal experiences, which do you use and why? And please mention what method you use to apply your paste as that can have a significant impact on results.

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I've never used MX 4 on a Clevo IHS but it's hard to imagine it'd be too different than an Alienware. What application method do you use? Anyhow, this is going off topic so I think a separate thread to discuss thermal pastes is in order (though we have an older one based on IC testing somewhere).

Alienware machines have more than adequate mounting pressure. Gravity works against Clevo machines and works for Alienware machines. Clevo machines have to be flipped upside down to get access to the CPU and GPU heatsinks while Alienware has the advantage of the heatsinks being accessible under the keyboard. Less resistance = higher pressure. It's also a design thing as Alienware tends to have flatter heatsinks as well.

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Alienware machines have more than adequate mounting pressure. Gravity works against Clevo machines and works for Alienware machines. Clevo machines have to be flipped upside down to get access to the CPU and GPU heatsinks while Alienware has the advantage of the heatsinks being accessible under the keyboard. Less resistance = higher pressure. It's also a design thing as Alienware tends to have flatter heatsinks as well.

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Ok the less than flat surface + poor mounting pressure of the Clevo IHS could make some difference. Have any pics of any recent Clevo heatsinks? I'm curious to see what the mounts look like as well as the surface. It would be remiss of Clevo to be shipping systems with poorly developed heatsinks, especially performance systems.

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2c9521790db0cc87652838c28e733f85.jpg

That pic was when I first got my machine in May, I don't have a picture of the inside of the replacement. Really it just doesn't have the worthless mini copper heatsinks stuck to the plates and still has all of the factory tape that Xotic removed to put them on (they're paper lifts for the heatsinks).

The problem is that they tend to not be flat... The fans in Clevo machines blow Alienware away but Clevo has made poor design choices. The mounting pressure problem is due to the heatsinks not being flat and the fact that when the laptop is in use, those hefty copper heatsinks are being pulled by gravity while in an Alienware machine the gravity pull actually helps mounting pressure.

There have been cases of 10C drop in temps by simply lapping the heatsinks.

I don't know if my current machine suffers a pressure problem as when I sent it in for the upgrade to 980M cards, they replaced all three heatsinks at my request.

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Wow that's pretty crappy. In fact, I MIGHT have some old Clevo heatsinks laying around here from the GTX 580M era, I'll post some pics later and let me know if they look similar to the surface on the one's you have. So you're saying the GE Extreme is more viscous therefore it stays inside vs MX-4 that falls out of the sides due to poor pressure + gravity regardless of the amount used? What method for thermal paste application do you use? Dot, line etc?

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I can vouch for the heatsink lapping helping out temps greatly. When you do it, AW just cannot compete in GPU temps. Their fans are just too small.

As for paste, lately I've been using liquid metal pro, but I think I'm going to go back to liquid metal ultra. I'm not really a fan of having to sand paste off the die to redo a liquid pro mount that's been in place for over a month. With ultra just the heatsink needs to be sanded, which is no big deal for me.

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Wow that's pretty crappy. In fact, I MIGHT have some old Clevo heatsinks laying around here from the GTX 580M era, I'll post some pics later and let me know if they look similar to the surface on the one's you have. So you're saying the GE Extreme is more viscous therefore it stays inside vs MX-4 that falls out of the sides due to poor pressure + gravity regardless of the amount used? What method for thermal paste application do you use? Dot, line etc?

Its not really all that crappy... Clevo thermals aren't that far off of Alienware and the design of the machine is obviously done so it's easily serviced. To get access to the CPU, GPUs, two RAM stick, both msata drives and a number of other components, you remove four screws from the back and take it off. My Alienware M17xR1 was a lot more work to say the least. I can't tell you how many times I thought I would never get the ribbon cable hooked back into the clip on the power button until I figured out how to flip it up and remove the keyboard without disconnecting either cable to get access to the GPUs in that thing. Clevo really needs to redesign their bottom covers though... Most of that power from the fans is blocked due to there only being tiny slits cut into the plastic instead of a proper mesh to allow airflow...

I can vouch for the heatsink lapping helping out temps greatly. When you do it, AW just cannot compete in GPU temps. Their fans are just too small.

As for paste, lately I've been using liquid metal pro, but I think I'm going to go back to liquid metal ultra. I'm not really a fan of having to sand paste off the die to redo a liquid pro mount that's been in place for over a month. With ultra just the heatsink needs to be sanded, which is no big deal for me.

Neither of them are much of a picnic to remove. My first time taking off fresh (less than a month) liquid ultra a bead fell off the qtip I was using and out of sheer luck landed on the SLI cable and not the motherboard or anything else. Freaked me out enough to decide it's not worth the hassle. Did wonders on the CPU though. But again, those little beads are a pain to clean up.

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I use Arctic Silver 5 on my M17xR3. I do find that temperatures tend to rise after 6 - 12 months, but only by less than 5 degC, so I just re-paste every 6-12 months. I've used the spread method (as recommended on Arctic website), the line method I've tried on the CPU, as well as the central blob method. I've not really noticed any difference in temperatures between the different methods, although for the CPU I've noticed slightly better results with an ultra ultra thin spread method of the paste. I use it on both my CPU & GPU. (I use cans of compressed air to blow out my heatsinks, so that's not a factor).

I've not noticed any pumping out, paste is always well distributed where it should be, just noticed that very slight less than 5 degC rise of temperatures over that 12 month period. No motivation to try other pastes as GPU temps are 69degC max and less than 80 degC on CPU during Prime95 at a constant 50-56W CPU power.

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I use Prolimatech PK-3. Line/pea on die, no manual spreading.

I've heard good things about that one. I just stopped experimenting when i found GC Extreme. I use it on my water cooled desktop as well. It works beautifully.

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I might have to look into getting a tube of GC Extreme next time I repaste my CPU (which won't be for a long time since I just got a new H100i). I found those old Clevo heatsinks too, they're GPU ones though.

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I'm planning on trying the mx-4 myself and have ordered some. I'm kinda curious on how well this will work. Mostly cause I'm coming from using artic silver 5.

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I'm planning on trying the mx-4 myself and have ordered some. I'm kinda curious on how well this will work. Mostly cause I'm coming from using artic silver 5.

Mx-4 is the worst thermal paste I've used thus far. IC Diamond and GC Extreme are neck in neck with the latter not scratching the die (although it tends to be harder to find and more expensive, IC Diamond is great if you don't want to repaste for a long time and if you get Arcticlean kit to remove it and follow the directions it won't scratch). MX-4 starts off strong but pumps out within a week or two because it isn't designed for the low pressure mounts in laptops.

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I am currently using pk-3 and it has worked for me very well, just ordered some gelid cg extreme to give it a go, im worred about using ic diamond I dont want to risk scratches.

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Cool Laboratory Liquid Ultra is the best TIM I have ever used for the following reasons.

1- Easy to apply and most importantly CLEANING it.

2- Gives the best thermal performance, 1-2 C below IC Diamond.

And for the cons, here is few things that come to my mind:

1- Relatively expensive.

2- Its electrically conductive. Can actually short a circuit if a single tiny drop spilled on a circuit, Here is a true story, yesterday I was applying it on my Alienware 18, a tiny bit of it dropped on a CPU resistor. My alienware refused to post, and when I called dell technical support, they told me to send it and its most likely a mobo failure.

3- Can cause corrosion on aluminum heat sinks.

4- The tim is reflective, which gives the illusion that the paste is covering the die. Hint: a brush is usually included in the package, when you are using it to spread the tim, try to brush the paste towards the center. When it later on spreads due to heat, the center of the chip is mostly covered.

I have used IC Diamond, its one of the best performance wise. However, its super hard to clean and usually leave a die and a heat sink with scratches! I wont recommend IC diamond.

Artic Silver 5 is actually a trimmed down ver. of Cool Laboratory Ultra. Recommend it for non-overclockers.

I hope you find my post useful.

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I used Arctic Silver 5 for my desktop build back when I had it. It worked really well....I miss that machine. My y510P is great portability wise but I wish I had both.

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There seems to be a thread on thermal compound roundup someone conducted already, I am surprised that Arctic Silver 5 performed so well considering its age I have heard that it is no longer good because of its age but still can hold up. Gelid CG Extreme seems to be the best non metal TIM. http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware/7460-tested-all-thermal-paste-range-best-them.html

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I've been using IC Diamond since my 1st laptop and it never failed me. Im using it on my current Alienware laptop. Im planning to test out a different one for my next repasting.

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I prefer IC Diamond 7, easy brick and mortar access in Atlanta (Micro Center in Duluth). Works better then anything I have seen in a long time. Heard iguana threal pads are better but you have to have them custom cut. This information came from Blairsville Tech Support....Not Mike so I am not exactly a source of direct knowledge of it.

I will say that IC Diamond is by far the best stuff in Atlanta metro. I prefer brick and mortar then having my laptop wait for paste. So if Micro Center or Tiger don't have it I don't use it. Call me old fashion.

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I use cool labs liquid ultra. It's the best stuff you can get, i haven't ever seen something better. Anyone else use this? It brought my temps down by about 5c from ic diamond. Looks cool too =D

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I've used ac mx2 on 2 machines to this date and i can assure it's a fine product, since my laptop (gt70 2oc) temperatures have stayed at 25-40 C (dedicated gpu is colder for a reason, and the igpu is overclocked a bit), ambient temperature is between 20 C and 25 C. On my old 1520 (8600m gt) i was able to game quite good and the gpu had an overclock +38-40% of stock values and artifacts were to be found on gta 4 only. Also temps were reasonably low, cpu up to 42 (damn t7250) while using chrome and gpu something mid 30s.

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I use cool labs liquid ultra. It's the best stuff you can get, i haven't ever seen something better. Anyone else use this? It brought my temps down by about 5c from ic diamond. Looks cool too =D

Downside to that stuff is having to wait for shipping and suppliers are far and few between.

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If your worried about a lack of a flat copper surface and uneven contact, then go for Coollaboratory. The high K/wk of some 36 makes up for the lack of contact on certain parts of the die. You have to add and spread around a small drop first. If you just paint on a thin as can be layer as the manual says, then it wont work.

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i use arcticsilver 5 since I feel like it makes more sense to spread the paste. Never really tried to measure temperature difference but i try to reapply paste every 8-12 months to ensure everything works fine and i dont have overheating problems

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Just some interesting facts.

I did some tests in 3D Mark 11, with IC Diamond (old, like 8 months), without paste (just for test) and a common fresh japanese paste without brand,

No overclock and same scenario.

Here are the results:

- Old IC Diamond (P6479) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4810MQ Processor,Notebook P17SM-A

- Nothing: (P3051) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4810MQ Processor,Notebook P17SM-A

- Fresh generic paste (P7284) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4810MQ Processor,Notebook P17SM-A

The first and second tests turned the gpu to 90º-93º (limit) with ease, the last one was 60º-70º all the time.

It's impressive how something cheap like this can make such a huge difference in gpu throttling and performance.

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