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3 EAH6970 with ARCTIC MX4 Thermal Paste vs Antec FORMULA 7 Nano Diamond Thermal Compound

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Added 2/27/2013 - Please be sure to read my last comment in this thread - I discovered there must have been an application problem preventing the stress test from actually stressing the GPU's. This produced the dramatically different results. I found that Antec Formula 7 only kept my GPU's a few degrees cooler than MX4 in my testing, but this is of course more subjective than anything else at this point. Happy reading.

Recently I decided to rebuild my 3 Asus AMD EAH6970 cards with FrozenCPU thermal pads on the memory, they're working great.

But when I went to apply the thermal paste to the GPU I had two choices in my bag of tricks, ARCTIC MX4 Thermal Paste or Antec FORMULA 7 Nano Diamond Thermal Compound.

I was a bit tired and MX4 is so easy to apply I decided to use it instead of re-applying the Antec Formula 7, big mistake!

Using AIDA64 I can see my temperatures and stress test the cards, and while my memory temps on all three cards were good, the GPU1, 2, & 3 DispIO, MemIO, and Shader temps topped 90c under load!

I stared at the results in disbelief... idle temps were similarly worse compared to the Antec Forumla 7 I had applied before the rebuild, in the mid 50c range! Certainly I must have not applied the paste properly... right? right? on all 3 cards??? really??? turned the PC off and went to bed...

The next day I tore the cards apart again, I found all memory pads were properly placed, and the GPU MX4 paste was perfectly applied on all 3 cards! No overspill, and all 3 card's GPU's left a perfect size mate of residue on the heatsink when removed. They were perfect!

Was I having a problem with something???? Yup, the problem for me was the MX4! I cleaned off the GPU's and heatsinks, re-applied Antec Formula 7, put the cards back in and stress tested them. They don't reach 70c!

I thought I'd perhaps see a few degrees higher using MX4 vs the Diamond compound, but not 15c idle and 20c+ under load!

And there you have it.
Edited by Undermoose - 2/27/13 at 8:48pm
post #2 of 16
Well thats insane... considering I was just about to put MX4 on my 7950.... I...

Are you sure the tests were exactly the same? Ive convinced myself of 10c difference due to my own error.. many times.

I just cant see paste even having a 20c spread, worst vs best. And thats not iC diamond, or cheese..
post #3 of 16
User error.
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post #4 of 16
User error repeatable across 3 samples? I call a bad batch of paste, or maybe old? How well does MX4 age, does anyone know? I have a couple of old tubes just lying around... been using noctua nt-h1 for a while now.

Good thing is that the problem was solved.
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post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicotine Fueled View Post

User error repeatable across 3 samples? I call a bad batch of paste, or maybe old? How well does MX4 age, does anyone know? I have a couple of old tubes just lying around... been using noctua nt-h1 for a while now.

Good thing is that the problem was solved.


You could use mayonaise and not cause it to hit those temps. These reads like a knee jerk reaction to user error. Most likely or typical is bumping the pump cable, them molex are notorious for bad connections, so pump was off.
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post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm an experienced PC builder, started tinkering before Windows 1.0. I couldn't believe the results myself.

Not a chance there was user error with 3 cards and same results. These are air cooled reference Asus model cards. Fans were winding up like a turbine trying to keep the cards cool. Pulled each apart and inspected, everything was perfectly done. I then applied Antec Formula 7, amazing difference.

I can only offer my experience in this last round of baffling results. For me, Antec Diamond Formula 7 owned the MX4, hands down. Done deal. Perhaps it's a bad tube of MX4, but it looked fine, spread fine, mated perfectly with the heatsink. The tube had it's cap on, but was probably a year old. Same age as the Antec tube too. Bought them all at the same time and both were opened back then and used.

Trust me, I didn't want to spend another 2+ hours rebuilding my cards again. I thought I'd be fine with MX4. Ugh...
Edited by Undermoose - 2/26/13 at 8:46pm
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undermoose View Post

I'm an experienced PC builder, started tinkering before Windows 1.0. I couldn't believe the results myself.

Not a chance there was user error with 3 cards and same results.

Pulled each apart and inspected, then applied Antec Formula 7, amazing difference.

Perhaps it's a bad tube of MX4, but it looked fine, spread fine, mated perfectly with the cooler.

I can only offer my experience in this last round of baffling results.

For me, Antec Diamond Formula 7 owned the MX4, hands down. Done deal. I'll never use MX4 again.


Yea, ugh its not the TIM.

Quote:
temps topped 90c under load!


This has pump off written all over it, if not seating but you checked that.
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
tsm106 I must have been editing my post as you were prepping your reply... nasty habbit of mine, but try to finish things up before anyone replies biggrin.gif

Hey, I read the reviews, MX4 is supposed to be great stuff, that's why I decided to use it.

Nicotine Fueled got it right, "User error repeatable across 3 samples?". No errors here, so it's either bad paste or Diamond cooling worked significantly better on these cards LOL. Serious. thumb.gif
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undermoose View Post

tsm106 I must have been editing my post as you were prepping your reply... nasty habbit of mine, but try to finish things up before anyone replies biggrin.gif

Hey, I read the reviews, MX4 is supposed to be great stuff, that's why I decided to use it.

Nicotine Fueled got it right, "User error repeatable across 3 samples?". No errors here, so it's either bad paste or Diamond cooling worked significantly better on these cards LOL. Serious. thumb.gif


What happens when the pumps off? Would only one block get hot or all three? I find this topic sort of comical. Do you realize what yer saying lol? Obviously there are errors, since your blocks loaded to 90c in a heartbeat.
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post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
These are reference cards man. Asus EAH6970: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121417

They didn't jump to 90c+ in 10 seconds, took about 3-5 minutes of load, but they got there. Same cards with the Antec Formula 7 don't hit 70c in the same time span. Haven't done longer time check yet, but all indications are normal operation. I'm satisfied they're good to go now.
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