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Sony's Thermal Sheet Good As Paste For CPU Cooling

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the also-better-with-salsa dept.

Sony 195

An anonymous reader writes "Sony has demonstrated a thermal sheet that it claims matches thermal paste in terms of cooling ability while beating it on life span. The key to the sheet is a combination of silicon and carbon fibers, to produce a thermal conductive layer that's between 0.3 and 2mm thick. In the demonstration, the same CPU was cooled by thermal paste and the thermal sheet side-by-side, with the paste keeping the processor at a steady 53 degrees Celsius. The sheet achieved a slightly better 50 degrees Celsius. The actual CPU used in the demonstration wasn't identified. Sony wants to get the thermal sheet used in servers and for projection units, but I can definitely see this being an option for typical PC builds, too. It's certainly going to be less messy and probably a lot cheaper than buying a tube of thermal paste."

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thickness (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673933)

isn't the advice to have rather less than 2mm paste between the chip and heatsink?

Re:thickness (5, Informative)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674067)

isn't the advice to have rather less than 2mm paste between the chip and heatsink?

2mm of thermal paste is WAY too much and will most likely be less effective than no paste at all. Ideally there should be no visible paste at all after the heat sink is applied. The paste's job is only to fill in the tiny air gaps made by the imperfections in the "flat" contact areas.

Re:thickness (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674217)

That was in reference to the sheet, not the paste. Presumably the same thickness rules don't apply there.

Re:thickness (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674311)

Better yet, get lapping that mofo to a point where thermal paste actually impedes thermal conduction!!

Re:thickness (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674343)

Maybe better than paste for manufacturing in situations where excessive amounts of paste is applied and acts as an insulator. Builders would probably want to apply the correct amount of paste.

Re:thickness (1)

DJCalarco (2392238) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674477)

Yea, thats why the article says BETWEEN 0.3 and 2mm.

Re:thickness (1)

jpstanle (1604059) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675227)

The "between 0.3 to 2.0mm thick" part of the summary is talking about the new thermal sheet, not traditional thermal paste.

Re:thickness (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675275)

As others have said, 2mm doesn't apply to the paste. But anyway this is exactly why a sheet would be so much better. No more fretting about "do I have too much paste?" or "do I have too little paste?" or "I just had to pull the heatsink off again because I didn't line it up right the first time, do I need to start over and reapply paste?". Thermal paste is a messy PITA.

Re:thickness (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675497)

There's a major manufacturer already using pads for their motherboards. It ships with laptop motherboard replacements. It's a pain-in-the ass to work with, peels from the backing tape badly, and is a lot LESS convenient (for me) than thermal goo.

Re:thickness (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675437)

Less? Yeah. Generally the rule of thumb for thermal paste is 'pea sized' unless it's a large die. But since this is a thermal sheet it doesn't matter too much since it's acting as a thermal conductor between the two objects. The real question though is, what are they using as a filler for the air between the die, and the heatsink. That's the real problem.

Can't wait for this to become available! (4, Insightful)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673935)

...from another manufacturer. Nice to have but not vital, so sorry Sony, you don't get my money.

Re:Can't wait for this to become available! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674783)

Not sure why you were modded troll but that was my thought also. Sony's dead to me.

Re:Can't wait for this to become available! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674807)

......from another manufacturer.

Lots of luck there. The other manufacturers will be paying a license fee to Sony. And besides, you're probably buying Sony products without being aware of it. They don't put their name on everything.

Cost of paste? (4, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673955)

>> probably a lot cheaper than buying a tube of thermal paste

Normally these come free with the cooling fan IME. Otherwise, a tube of paste is like $5.

>> key to the sheet is a combination of silicon and carbon fibers

Paste MIGHT be cheaper.

Re:Cost of paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674029)

I came to make this exact same post. And messy? Just follow directions and you wont get thermal grease everywhere. So simple.

Re:Cost of paste? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674913)

"Sony" and "cheaper than" is usually an oxymoron.

not to mention (5, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673957)

..it puts a rootkit on your machine, too.

Re:not to mention (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674321)

Eh why is this modded down as Troll? It's relevant to any Sony discussion.

People remembering things like the Sony rootkits is a GOOD THING. It makes other companies that might have done the same thing say "wow, Sony did that and destroyed whatever good name they might have had, even years later lots of people remember that and STILL don't want to buy from them. Say, we better not make the same mistake because we want more sales, not less".

You think corporations get away with too much? You want to keep them in line? This is one good way to do that. It's one of the few you can do yourself. Most others require a politician who's not completely corrupt.

It's like so many of you can't handle life or something. You want to live in a fluffy-bunny fairytale world where there is no such thing as a legitimate complaint. So you down-mod all complaints with no regard for legitimacy. Because that'll make it just go away, right? There really are people this stupid and shallow and short-sighted. You can tell because they always defend some corporation that acts like a bully and act offended that people don't like that. I believe this kind of idioicy occurs more than I believe Sony hires shills.

Re:not to mention (1)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674473)

To judge from the amount of hate directed towards geohot, PS3 fans are a very vocal bunch...

Re:not to mention (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674787)

Just because Sony is making the thermal sheet does not make a whine about Sony's rootkit at all ontopic. The moderation was correct and justified.

Unless this thermal sheet is going to be phoning home, it's not at all relevant and detracts from the quality of this discussion.

Re:not to mention (1, Offtopic)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674843)

Either that or the person doing the modding has no sense of humor...

but who am I to judge?

Re:not to mention (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674947)

People remembering things like the Sony rootkits is a GOOD THING

I don't know about you, but my memory is good enough to not have to be constantly reminded in almost every Sony related article to remember about the rootkit thing or other Sony screw ups.

Moderation, bro. Remind me once in a few, sure. For the record, the GP/Op was funny (as of this writing he got the funny mod). Your post, however, is killing that fun.

It's like so many of you can't handle life or something.

I don't know about you, but to me, being able to handle life includes being able to handle a few random strangers modding some comment on the Internet as "troll", and not letting a few Sony shills (supposing that's the case and not just all in your head) get to you.

Re:not to mention (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674999)

Exactly. The big corps these days talk about "brand recognition" and "proper brand alignment" [msn.com] and even employ *shudder* Chief Brand Officers [wikipedia.org] . They put The Brand and The Image first now; we have to remind them that the best way to build a strong brand and a sterling image is not being an asshole.

Re:not to mention (4, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675099)

People remembering things like the Sony rootkits is a GOOD THING

But it is strange when Sony Ericsson helps out custom rom builders for Android you get the meme "yeah but this is a joint venture, this isn't Sony", but when another joint venture Sony-BMG does install a rootkit it is Sony.

So I find it very hard to follow that logic (although this is slashdot after all) or it maybe that the world isn't that black and white as some like to make it.

Re:not to mention (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675201)

I want to live in a fluffy-bunny fairytale world! Where bunny fluff that's between 0.3 and 2mm thick is as good as paste for CPU cooling!

Re:not to mention (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675251)

It's relevant to any Sony discussion.

No it's not. It's one thing to hold past grievances against a company that have wronged you. It's your choice to not do business with them. However, you shouldn't have a bias against a product that has absolutely nothing to do with prior products of dubious functionality. This is a THERMAL PAD, not a root kit. There is no relevance here.

Re:not to mention (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674725)

Sony: Putting sheet in your computer since 2005!

Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673959)

Thermal paste for a typical CPU installation runs in the pennies, but you do have to buy a whole tube. I'll bet you a dollar this sheet for a single CPU install runs in the dollars. This is Sony we're talking about, they need profitable revenue to offset their sinking Blu-Ray-PS/3 ship, among others.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (4, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674047)

I don't know about the rest of you but I have to buy a new tube every time I have a new CPU, the old tube always disappears.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674157)

Yea same for me, but look at a commercial shop that deals with servers or retail computers.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674183)

I don't know about the rest of you but I have to buy a new tube every time I have a new CPU, the old tube always disappears.

I used Arctic Silver 5 on my Q6600 rig five years ago. I used the same Arctic Silver 5 when I upgraded the cooler to a Corsair H70 two years ago, and when I upgraded to Sandy Bridge earlier this year.

What you need is a sewing box [johnlewis.com]

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674247)

You should just change it. There's literally no reason to use Arctic Silver 5 anymore. Arctic Cooling MX-4 (I think they`re up to 4) is much better, easier to apply, and not conductive if you drop it accidentally.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674361)

There's literally no reason to use Arctic Silver 5 anymore. Arctic Cooling MX-4 (I think they`re up to 4) is much better

Right, a couple degrees difference makes the older product worthless... Good thinking.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674481)

NOT CONDUCTIVE makes it worth hundreds of dollars more if you goof up.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674579)

NOT CONDUCTIVE makes it worth hundreds of dollars more if you goof up.

So does applying the proper amount. It's not like it's difficult. I'd put it on about the same level of difficulty as avoiding pouring 4 gallons of milk into your glass in the morning. If that's a problem for you, I'd recommend hiring someone else to build your pc.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674949)

The "not conductive" is silly. The paste contains silver, which makes it capacitive. On high-frequency circuits, added capacitance is, that's right, a conductor.

If you're relying on marketing claims to keep you out of trouble when you're sloppy, I recommend a ceramic based paste.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674995)

Yup. I always use Arctic Ceramique or something similar when I'm working with a GPU cooler. Keeping the silver paste off of the pins on a normal CPU socket is easy but GPUs and surface-mount RAM can be trickier.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675317)

The Arctic Cooling MX-4 compound he is mentioning does not contain silver.

On newegg there is a review who mentions that he messed up and got some of this stuff into an LGA 775, and it still worked.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186038 [newegg.com]

Not the thermal paste I use, but it does appear to be non-conductive.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674279)

What you need is a sewing box [johnlewis.com]

Ya, I've got Stanley rolling case [stanleytools.com] where I store all my computer parts, only cost $20, and has plenty of room for all my accessories, tools, and parts. Easily mobile for house calls, plus it has a swivel-out drawer for screws where I can organize all the different little shit that comes with most components these days. I haven't lost a screw since. Highly recommend something similar; plus it sure beats using old parts boxes for storage like most people do...

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674307)

I have to buy a new tube every time I have a new CPU, the old tube always disappears.

Personally, I've never lost a tube of thermal compound. Being disorganized has much more significant consequences than just a few dollars on thermal compound, so I recommend you work on that.

One alternative would be to just buy on-time use blister packs:
http://www.outletpc.com/c2003.html [outletpc.com]

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674889)

Being disorganized is precisely why I dont lose anything. I may not know where it is exactly, but I know approximately which pile of crap its in.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675247)

That's not disorganized, it's a messy system of organization.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674419)

I don't know about the rest of you but I have to buy a new tube every time I have a new CPU, the old tube always disappears.

Not everything that looks like toothpaste is, in fact, toothpaste.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675379)

But it keeps my teeth cool...

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674165)

I'd take that bet. $2 or more is a significant price increase for a PC, so there's little advantage for PC makers to switch. Switching around the manufacturing process to accommodate sheets instead of paste is going to have a large one time cost. I'm quite sure this wasn't developed for the enthusiast market.

It's certainly possible you're right, but I'd still take the bet.

Re:Cheaper? Nope, this is Sony we're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674231)

Sony has been profiting off the PS3 for about 3 years now, not to mention they did make up for the loss with licensing fees and revenue shares.

They might have been in trouble for some time now, but Sony Computer Entertainment is fine. Sony current CEO, Kazuo Hirai was SCE's former president. It's unfair to blame Howard Stringer for the WHOLE mess, but I believe Kaz can get things right. He's weird, but a cool guy on his own way.

This might be more expensive than paste... (2)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673987)

...but can it be reused? Can you put it on an entirely different processor after being used? If so, then it would definitely be worth the money... if it were made by somebody other than Sony, that is.

thermal paste? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674005)

Does that really work? I've heard reports that thermal paste isn't normally very important.....I'm about to install a new processor, and I've been wondering about that.

Re:thermal paste? (5, Insightful)

hughJ (1343331) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674089)

Paste of some kind is extremely important. New retail CPUs with stock heatsinks though usually come with some sort of paste pre-applied onto the base of the heatsink.

Re:thermal paste? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674133)

I've heard reports that thermal paste isn't normally very important.....

I would have thought [anything] would be better than nothing,
but apparently chocolate makes for a really bad thermal paste [hardwaresecrets.com]

Re:thermal paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674833)

The scary part from that article is that mayonnaise is as good as many commercial thermal compounds.

Re:thermal paste? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675067)

How about Blu-Tack? Cause while I've been disassembling some laptops, many times the thermal pads have had a similar feeling (and even color) to it. According to Wikipedia, Blu-Tack has a flash point of 93C/200F, at which it releases carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapour, oxides of nitrogen, and toxic fumes. So it maybe it would be just a bad idea. But its thermal properties would be a fun test.

Re:thermal paste? (4, Informative)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674135)

Yes, definitely.

It improves heat conduction by filling the small surface defects that would create miniature pockets of air. Air is a very good insulator, and very poor at conducting heat.

There is a noticeable difference, you can research it further, but as cheap as a tube of thermal paste is, why not spend an extra couple bucks on your shiny new processor?

Department of Redundancy Department (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674347)

Air is a very good insulator, and very poor at conducting heat.

Yes, just like the way diamond is very hard, and not very soft.

Re:Department of Redundancy Department (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674613)

The OP's question illustrates a poor understanding of heat and mass transfer. I think a little redundancy is okay in this case if it helps clarify.

Re:thermal paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674665)

Why not simply attach the heatsink in a hydrogen atmosphere?

Re:thermal paste? (1)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674143)

Put one together without it, and let us know how it turns out on the machine you have to build afterwards.

Re:thermal paste? (2)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674383)

Plenty fine here since I lap all of my heatsinks and tops of CPU die casing, and use a lapped copper shim as the go-between contact.

Thermal paste? Not needed here!

Re:thermal paste? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674423)

Unless you have access to a machine shop, your "lapped" bits of metal are probably complete shit.

Re:thermal paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675079)

Yes, because a surface plate and engineers blue == a machine shop. *facepalm*

Re:thermal paste? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674145)

No it doesn't work. During a hot day I tried applying this "thermal paste" over my whole body hoping to benefit from its "cooling ability", and I didn't feel any cooler. I will give the thermal sheet a try. It sounds way more convenient.

Re:thermal paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674155)

Yes, it matters. Years ago when CPUs were encased in giant chunks of ceramic, and later when they incorporated metallic heat spreaders, the grease was not so important -- and it usually went crusty in under a year anyway, so it sometimes worked against you. These days, though, there is very little surface area on top of the die with which the heat sink makes contact, so you need every advantage you can get. For modern CPUs, increasing physical contact between the chip and the cooler by even a minuscule amount can make a big difference, especially if you're running at non-standard clock speeds or otherwise pushing your thermal limits.

Re:thermal paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675265)

Which current desktop CPU doesn't have a heat spreader?

Re:thermal paste? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674355)

Proper thermal paste usage can mean the difference between silence and a loud fan at load. Your CPU will probably be fine either way, but thermal paste is definitely nice if you like to keep a quiet PC.

I'm mainly curious to see what kind of thermal material they used. If they compared it with that gummy pad or cheap paste that typically comes on CPUs, it doesn't mean much. That stuff will keep your CPU from overheating, but it can't hold a candle to one of the aftermarket brands like Arctic Silver. Beat that, and I'll be very interested.

Harder to get it wrong! (0)

DadLeopard (1290796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674007)

There are a few ways you can mess up with Thermal paste, but THIS is Sony we are talking about, if it is possible to get it wrong, they are the ones to do it! Memory Stick anyone!

Re:Harder to get it wrong! (2)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674179)

It'll probably only work when it's placed between a chip manufactured with a genuine Sony Heat Spreader, and genuine Sony Heat Sink.

Meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674021)

I use anal lube. The first time was an accident (I was a little hungover and the tubes look similar) but it worked just as good, if not better, than thermal paste. Cheaper, other uses (wink, wink), what's not to love?

And the third sign of the apoclypse was unsealed.. (5, Funny)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674045)

and "Behold!" cried the archangel, "Sony has done something cool. Tremble with fear all ye nations...."

Re:And the third sign of the apoclypse was unseale (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674291)

that sheet has to have some type of backdoor in it, its Sony for crying out loud.

Re:And the third sign of the apoclypse was unseale (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674359)

So you're saying it's less of a thermal sheet and more of a thermal hospital gown?

Re:And the third sign of the apoclypse was unseale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674387)

Who hasn't been back-doored by Sony at some point in their lives? If they were an actual person, they'd be locked up for being a serial rapist...

Meh (4, Informative)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674073)

3M has had a thermal sheet which has outperformed paste for more than 10 years already.

How is this news?

Re:Meh (5, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674197)

How is this news?

Sony article that doesn't contain the words "Leak", "Compromised", "Stolen" or "Litigation".

Re:Meh (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674237)

At least not until the comments started.

Re:Meh (1)

Skewray (896393) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674379)

3M has had a thermal sheet which has outperformed paste for more than 10 years already.

How is this news?

Browsing the 3M pages, I see sheets at about 3 W/mK and grease at about 4 W/mK.

Doesn't describe the tech at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674091)

So how does this sheet work? Sheet of what? How does it solve the issue of microbubbles in the interface?

Interesting (3, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674117)

It always seemed to me that applying paste was more of an art than it should be.

This looks like it would be a more repeatable process.

Re:Interesting (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674267)

It always seemed to me that applying paste was more of an art than it should be.

It's only an "art" to those who just can't leave well enough alone.

Put blob on CPU. No, don't effin' spread it. Put heat sink down. Clamp. Done. Don't worry that you don't think it will spread. When the CPU heats up, it'll spread more.

This business of "spread it thin with a credit card" and other such nonsense only introduces air bubbles. There is a rather popular youtube video with annoying audio that demonstrates exactly what happens with a glass slide.

--
BMO

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674677)

...and I'm still a retard that writes my username at the end of my posts!

Re:Interesting (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674991)

It's still an art because the quantity and shape of the blob are not controlled.

With the sheet these variables are controlled.

That's just great. (0)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674151)

Now when you refuse their Terms of Service your CPU overheats.

Re:That's just great. (0)

Skewray (896393) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674299)

Now when you refuse their Terms of Service your CPU overheats.

Given that this is Sony, it probably rootkits your PC. Are you sure you want something from Sony in your thermal path?

Arctic Silver or.. (2)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674177)

So, does it outperform the high end pastes, like Arctic Silver, or the cheap crap that comes with the 9.99 heat sinks?

There is a margin at least as wide as the one they list between those two substances. If the paste they tested against is anything like the garbage that goes in a PS3 from the factory, I'd expect mud and spit would heavily outperform it.

"probably a lot cheaper"? (1, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674191)

probably a lot cheaper than buying a tube of thermal paste

Are you on drugs? This is SONY we're talking about. They're right up there with Apple for "We'll slap our logo on some old, shoddy crap and charge three times the going rate!"

Seriously though, I'd want to duplicate their test setup before I believe their numbers. TIM pads may have superior lifetimes, but pastes tend to have superior surface coverage.

Ummmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674219)

I switched from pasts to thermal sheets in the early 2000s. What's new or special about this? Is it a thinness issue or what?

   

fyi on thermal tabs (5, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674235)

Answering several commenters above and adding some more information as well...

1. Apple tried this out from about 1997 to 2002 in their G3 and G4 laptops and some of the desktops. They tried a variety of "thermal tabs". They worked ok. Sometimes they're quicker to put on, other times they take more time. Some were brittle. They should be available from a variety of sources at this point, not just Sony. They were also used on some of the G5's and mac pro CPUs. They tried quite a few variations over the years, and the most recent on the early mac pros were considered highly hazardous materials and we were advised to wear gloves when handling them and to not let them be exposed to air for any length of time. They may still be using them but the procs come attached to the heat sink so I don't have to handle them directly. All the products I lift heat sinks from have been using regular compound for the last several years. So I assume they figure the tabs are good for manufacturing time but not the best idea for field-repair. They may have been using 3M as a supplier, I don't know.

2. They were more expensive than thermal compound but easier to store a bunch of them in a small box/envelope.

3. I tried to reuse them and mostly failed. They tend to bond to either the heat sink or the die, or both, and get torn up pretty bad when you lift off the heat sink. Usually have to scrape the bits off both surfaces with a plastic spudger before using a new one. Makes taking things apart for test swapout or inspection a bit more of a hassle and a little more expensive.

4. one advantage they had was no spillover. A few systems I've worked with wouldn't tolerate heat sink goop spilling too far over to the ballast resistors or caps mounted near the die on the package. For those you had to be very careful about how much compound you used so it wouldn't squish out and touch something it shouldn't and generate some capacitance that would cause wonky behavior from the cpu. These are idiot-proof that way for the most part. I've also been told about problems with getting an air bubble in with the compound and creating a pocket over the die with no compound on it - I've never had that happen to me personally but I've seen the effect a few times. This isn't possible with the tabs. I've also read cautions for not applying too much compound, as though if you put on too much it wouldn't squish out enough and would create too thick of a layer of compound between die and heat sink but I don't think that's likely to happen considering the viscosity of the compound and the torque of the heat sink.

5. Occasionally we'd get tabs that were the exact size of the die, or a little undersize, and those caused problems getting them on right with full coverage. I also watched a tech forget to replace the new tab, with the expected results, so you may run into a few oops moments when changing your technique.

Re:fyi on thermal tabs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674651)

I've used squares of aluminum foil cut to the size of the top of the chip for 10 years and it works perfectly. The compression of the heatsink clamps the foil and flattens it removing all space. Once it heats up, it bonds even better. I haven't seen higher than normal CPU temps since starting this practice.

I don't think this is really "news" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674317)

I've been using thermal sheets here and there at work since I started here, I wasn't aware they were unheard of.

Re:I don't think this is really "news" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40674673)

You haven't been using thermal sheets that both outperform and outlast typical thermal paste. This product is new in that regard, and information about it would reasonably be considered "news".

Another benefit missed in the article (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674353)

Four out of 5 first graders rejected the sheets after a head-to-head taste test.

Cheaper? (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674385)

I bought a $3 tube years ago and I still have plenty left. You're only supposed to use a dot the size of a BB. If you smear it all over the CPU you're doing it wrong - aside from the mess, that's guaranteed to create air pockets.

(The cheap stuff is fine too. The expensive stuff may conduct heat better, but the layer of goo is so thin that it's only a fairly small percentage of your heat resistance.)

Still, these pads are interesting. It looks reliable and less prone to noob mistakes. Too bad it's Sony.

The test isn't scientific, and means nothing. (1)

Zoson (300530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674621)

1. Temperatures across the same model CPU can vary wildly even with the same cooler/paste.
2. It's not unusual to see different cores on CPU's having up to a 10C difference in temperature even.
3. Software hardware monitors are notoriously inaccurate.
4. Combine 1-3 and the thermal reading done in software from this article means exactly nothing at all.
5. 50C idle is flat out *horrible* for a desktop or server.
6. No information is given on the thermal paste used for the comparison. Maybe they used cheese in a can?

Intel did this for a while (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674863)

I remember putting together an intel system long ago, the "thermal paste" was roughly equivalent to a piece of double sided sticky tape. I guess whatever was contained in the tape would melt and fill in the cracks similar to paste. This was during the Celeron 300 or Pentium 4 era, if I recall correctly.

What about the US? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674911)

with the paste keeping the processor at a steady 53 degrees Celsius. The sheet achieved a slightly better 50 degrees Celsius.

That's great for Europe and other "metric" countries, but how cool will it keep the chip in the U.S.?

Mr. Bubbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675223)

Bubbles form when you apply the past evenly for the surface area of the contact or contacts. Bubbles form less when you apply small amount in the middle of the contact and let it spread by pressure. We all knew this did we?

Re:Mr. Bubbles (1)

folderol (1965326) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675295)

Very true... Also, not all pastes are equal, indeed some are little better than toothpaste. We don't know of course which paste Sony used. Does anyone believe they used the best they could find? {best to prove their point, that is}

Which of these were the tested product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40675519)

Does anyone know which of these are the film tested?

http://www.sonycid.jp/en/products/mc10/comp_01.html

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