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Non-Conductive Shims

Company: CrazyPC
Product:
Non-Conductive AMD & Intel Shims
Street Price: ~ $9
Date Reviewed: May 20, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason Rabel

Another Shim Review?:

Even though this is the fourth shim review at EOC, these shims are a little different than all the rest. These shims from CrazyPC are 100% completely non-conductive, so no more worries about shorting out your CPU! I was able to verify that claim by testing the shims with an ohm-meter. As far as I know, there is only one other brand of shim which is non-conductive, and that is the cpufx anodized shim, however I advise you avoid that brand. First, it is not completely non-conductive, it is still their original copper but just with an anodized coating, so if you scratch the coating then you expose the copper and then you can short something out. Second, cpufx shims are sub-par in quality control, their tolerances exceed the range for the CPU core, and thus could cause you to damage your CPU. I will post numbers later on in the review to backup this claim.

Anyhow, back to these CrazyPC non-conductive shims, the material is very light weight and very solid. You shouldn't have to worry about bending or breaking these shims as long as you handle them within reason. One thing I did notice is that they are the same cut-out design as the Tweakmonster copper shims, which offers ample clearance the bridges and other components on the CPU surface.

 

Proper Measurement:

Unlike other websites, we don't just merely slap something in our computer and say "Well, it worked good for me". We take a bit more scientific approach because you need to have proper measurements to verify a claim. So once again we break out the dial caliper to measure the thickness of the shims. If you want to read more on the dial caliper, check out the Thermalphobia review, or the Tweakmonster review. If the next part sounds familiar it's because it was copied from one of my previous shim reviews, but included in this one for completeness.

You can find the specifications for the CPU's in public datasheets available on the Intel & AMD web sites. The specifications are given in a minimum and maximum tolerance, however looking for an exact target number I took the average of the two guessing that is the number that production shoots for. Note that Intel has a narrower tolerance range, half that of AMD, but the average still comes out within two thousandths of an inch.

  Min Max Var Avg
Intel .031" .035" .004" .033"
AMD .027" .035" .008" .031"

So now that we have a baseline to compare against, which we will say is .033" for Intel and .031" for AMD, we can measure the thickness of the copper shims to see how they compare.

  Min Max Var
Non-Conductive AMD .025" .027" .002"
Non-Conductive Intel .024" .026" .002"

The main reason for the variance is because the non-conductive shims aren't as hard as the copper shims, you can in fact compress them a little bit. However since the CPU core should be taller than the shim, this really isn't something to worry about.

To compare the numbers to our previous shims that have been reviewed, here's a chart below:

  Min Max Var
ThermalPhobia AMD .028" .028" .000"
ThermalPhobia Intel .024" .024" .000"
TweakMonster AMD .027" .027" .000"

TweakMonster Intel

.027" .027" .000"
CPUFX AMD .027" .030" .003"
CPUFX Intel .020" .021" .001"

 

Conclusion:

These shims are really quite nice, and the best part is that they are 100% non-conductive. This still doesn't mean that you can't damage your CPU if you misuse these shims, it just means that you don't have to worry about shorting out anything. So please don't feel over-confident just because you have a non-conductive shim, that $9 shim can still easily kill your $200 CPU. The one thing that I'm wondering about, if it is really non-conductive, why did they cut out the area over the bridges? I guess it was just for simplicity sakes.

I wouldn't hesitate recommending these shims as they are good quality. However I would still recommend using a copper shim if you plan on doing some super-cooling with peltiers because I don't think these non-conductive shims would hold up against the extreme cold, it shows that it is only rated to 0F on the web site specs.

For $9, I think it is an excellent investment, especially with oversized heat sinks and copper heat sinks. The shim eases installing a heat sink and also helps balance the heat sink by creating a larger surface area.

Pros:
  High Quality / Professional Grade
  Non-Conductive
  Less than $10

Cons:
  Probably Not The Best Choice For Sub-Zero Cooling

Rating:
 
For The Average User: 10 / 10
  For The Extreme Overclocker: 9 / 10

Available From:
CrazyPC

 

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