Let’s now compare the TIMs against each other, first by contact setting then in some other ways. In each of the contact setting groupings, first chart is performance over time, second chart is the average mount temperature at the end of the 10hr runs, third chart is the 10hr temperature from the best mount, and the fourth chart is a zoomed and simplified view of the amount of cure over the last 9.5hrs of the test.
First comparison is with Poor Contact block + mounting. This illustrates, roughly, the worst performance you can expect from a TIM (from a poorly designed mounting system, in use with some GPU blocks/sinks, VRM blocks/sinks, or from a seriously botched mount).
Second comparison is with Moderate Contact block + mounting. This illustrates, roughly, the typical performance you can expect from a TIM with a well designed mounting system.
Second comparison is with Great Contact block + mounting. This illustrates, roughly, the performance you can expect from a TIM with an extremely well designed mounting system with extremely high mounting pressure and a block with a compressible bow.
This is a new chart, but it’s not new data. This is a chart of the temperatures used as the input values for the “Relative Performance Score” charts we’ve had on the conclusion pages. Says the same thing as that chart, but we think it might be easier to relate to–it’s in degrees, not unitless numbers–and represents how good a TIM is overall, without knowledge of how good contact will be.
Contact Dependence takes the best overall mount and the three averages of the three contact settings and finds the average deviation of the four results. Lower means there’s less difference in performance as contact varies. None of the three are remarkable with Contact Dependence, OCZ Freeze and Noctua NT-H1 are both very good overall and just don’t have much room to improve as contact varies. IC Perihelion is just decent with Poor Contact and makes very, very little improvement as contact improves despite having a lot of ground to make up.
Cure Factor looks at the “Curing Performance” charts and takes a weighted average of the absolute values of the lines from the Curing Performance charts–the sooner a TIM flattens to its final value, the lower the Cure Factor. The less change in performance over time, the lower the Cure Factor. It’s not a particularly precise metric, Indigo Xtreme should have a 0.00 Cure Factor, but it will show overall trends for which TIMs do have some sort of curing. IC Perihelion and Noctua NT-H1 both have noticeable cures (overall values greater than 1) and OCZ Freeze has a slight cure.
The Best Mount charts take the best performance from any of the fifteen mounts and is indicative of the absolutely limit of performance for a TIM (i.e., when you do everything right); it’s another way of looking at how good a TIM is. Noctua NT-H1 takes the fight to PK-1, which is very impressive while OCZ Freeze had its Best Mount with Moderate Contact, surprisingly. More surprisingly, IC Perihelion has an awful Best Mount, over a degree behind the previous worst and over 3C behind MX-2, yikes.