It Doesn’t Taste Very Good Either
Thermal paste is great, filling in all those tiny little gaps that exist between your CPU’s lid and the heatsink or cold plate that cools it to keep that expensive piece of silicon happy. It isn’t necessarily fun to apply though, too little and your CPU you will never be able to stay at peak frequencies, same if you use too much, with the added bonus of possible electrical shorts on your motherboard. Perhaps the solution Intel and AMD used back in the ancient days, a thermal pad, might be a good alternative? That is exactly what Overclockers Club has been testing for a while now.
The project started when they spotted an ad for Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pads, and expanded when they found Thermal Grizzly’s Carbonaut pads. The IC Graphite pads are rated better than many pastes at 35 W/m-K, however that is nowhere near as effective as the Carbonaut at 62.5 W/m-K. When tested under normal operating conditions there was little difference in temperatures between either of the thermal pads or the Prolimatech PK-1 thermal paste they added in as a comparison.
What was different was the ease of installation and the reusability of the thermal pads. There was no mess whatsoever when applying them, and the thermal pads don’t need reapplication if you happen to pop your heatsink off and in the case of the Innovation Cooling can be reused easily. The Carbonaut is also likely reusable, though it will take a little more effort that the competition. As for the thermal paste … well as you likely know, it usually needs to be cleaned and reapplied every time.
This is a project I have been thinking about and working on, on and off, for many months. It started back when I first heard about the Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pad, which can be described as a solid-state TIM. Something I have no issue admitting to is I do not particularly like working with thermal paste, as it can be messy and because I want to make sure I apply enough and in the correct places.