This is the ninth installment of many of the Skinnee Labs TIM Comparison 2011. For most of the installments, results will be released in two or three TIM sets roughly every two or three weeks and today we have three TIMs to show.
Today we have three pastes from one of the biggest names in TIM: Shin-Etsu. Shin-Etsu is mostly a supplier to the Rich and Famous of the PC world; we know Apple is a big customer of theirs and suspect the likes of HP and Dell are as well. In today’s review, we’re testing their most popular (and acquirable) pastes in the retail market, G751, X23-7762, and X23-7783D (which has already been tested on our old testbed and impressed). There are three newer varieties we’re also interested in: G765, X23-7868-2D, and X23-7921-5, but those will have to wait as none seem to be available in retail. Shin-Etsu pastes can also be found as rebrands while maintaining the same model numbers. In this case, G751 was found under the Masscool brand and X23-7762 was found under the Cooljag brand. X23-7783D was found under the actual Shin-Etsu brand and G751/X23-7762 can be as well, with enough searching.
After today, we’ll have 26 TIMs completed in the 2011 Comparison, but we still have over 20 more on the docket. Lots of testing left to do!
Shin-Etsu G751 is the lowest spec’d paste of the three and was found under the Masscool brand. It’s a medium-high thickness gray paste that is slightly more wet than its two siblings. I was only able to find it in one size: .5g for $5. Due to the small quantity supplied, I was only able to average five mounts for every four syringes, carrying a very unattractive $4 per mount cost. So while $5 isn’t a bad entry price, $10 a gram is an awful value without considering performance.
Shin-Etsu X23-7762 is the middle brother of the lineup, according to the specs. It’s a dry, medium-high thickness, gray paste that spreads decently under pressure. X23-7762 seems to be the easiest to find in ‘other’ brands and the paste for this review was of Cooljag branding. At $7 for 1.5g, it has neither a great entry price ($7) nor great value per gram (~$4.67/g). To make matters worse, I only averaged two mounts per syringe, making the price per mount a very unattractive $3.50. X23-7762 can be found at other sizes and price points from other brands with enough searching, but none seem like any better of a value.
Shin-Etsu X23-7783D was, until recently, Shin-Etsu’s best paste and has the best specs of the three pastes in this test. It’s a medium-high thickness gray paste that is between X23-7762 and G751 for moistness. X23-7783D does spread pretty well, which is important. In comes in two reasonable sizes (and an unreasonable 1kg): .5g and 1g for $4 and $7, respectively. $4 is a decent entry price but $3.50/g is a poor ‘best’ value. However, I was able to get three mounts from each 1g syringe, so it is a better price per mount than G751 or X23-7762 in addition to being the better spec’d paste. Without considering performance, X23-7783D’s value is very poor relative to other pastes on the market, however.
For all three contact “settings” I use a Koolance CPU-360. I’ve chosen the CPU-360 due to its great mounting system (although I’ve modified all three blocks’ mounting systems) and because it’s pretty easy to add slight modifications.
At the “Poor” end of the spectrum, I have a stock CPU-360r1.2 with extremely low mounting pressure; the stock CPU360r1.2 has a somewhat irregular base and when paired with low pressure, TIM does not spread into a thin layer particularly well.
For the “Moderate” contact setting, I’ve taken a CPU-360r1.1 and reduced some of the internal structure so that there’s absolutely no bow. With pressure in the center of the base the block can actually become slightly concave as the o-ring compresses, but with only moderate mounting pressure the base seems to stay perfectly flat.
As for “Great” contact, I might have gone a little overboard; no block on the market has contact this great. I’ve modified a CPU-360r1.2 to have a thicker midplate with a compressible layer and the result is a pretty extreme bow that flattens with mounting pressure. And there’s a lot of mounting pressure. The result is impressive; with low viscosity pastes, it looks like there isn’t even any TIM on the center of the CPU when taking the mount apart. Even with viscous pastes the resulting layer is extremely thin.