ThermalPhobia Non-Conductive Shims
Product: Non-Conductive Shims
Street Price: ~ $13?
Date Reviewed: June 10, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason
There has been lots of controversy over shims lately, some sites
are for them, others are against them. Personally I am very pro-shim, even
though I don't always use them. Some people say that a shim prevents the full
clamping force of the heat sink on the CPU core. I find this hard to believe
since a shim is thinner than the thickness of the CPU core, so the pressure
would be exerted on the core, NOT on the shim. If the reverse was true, and your
shim was thicker than the core, then your CPU would burn up (as has happened
with some poorly manufactured shims). But as is, a properly manufactured shim
actually only receives a very small amount of the overall pressure being exerted
on the chip.
I say go for it if you think you can use one properly. They
really do aid in preventing chipping when mounting & removing a heat sink.
So what is this new shim that I am going to talk about? Well
it's a new shim from ThemalPhobia
which is non-conductive. The sample that I received is the same great style as
their last copper shim that they sent me, but this one has an anodized coating
to prevent it from causing a short.
As with their last shim, these too can have custom company names
& logos imprinted in them.
How Do They Look?:
The anodized coating looks like a dark smoke color, almost
black, but not quite. You can see they have the same nice groves around certain
edges to give just that little bit of extra clearance.
Once again it's time to get scientific. So 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.
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 these shims to see how they compare.
These shims look and work great. Since these non-conductive shims are metal
inside, unlike the coolerguys non-conductive shim, Thermalphobia's are safe to
use for below freezing cooling systems. (Assuming you have taken the proper
precautions associated with such extreme cooling.)
To compare the numbers to our previous shims that have been reviewed, here's
a chart below:
Thermalphobia has taken their great copper shims, and added a little more
value to it by anodizing it. However, remember that just because you are using a
non-conductive shims doesn't mean you still can't kill your CPU. A person
shouldn't really care if the shim is conductive or not, or even what color they
are, what they should be looking for is the quality in manufacturing. A good
quality shim has tight tolerances, proper thickness, and a good layout that
gives ample clearance around the components on the CPU. The Thermalphobia shim
provides all these qualities, so you should consider them with or without the
High Quality / Professional Grade
A Little More Expensive Than Others
For The Average User: 9 / 10
For The Extreme Overclocker: 9 / 10
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