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ThermalPhobia Non-Conductive Shims

Company: ThemalPhobia
Non-Conductive Shims
Street Price: ~ $13?
Date Reviewed: June 10, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason Rabel


Thermlaphobia Redux:

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.


Proper Measurement:

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.

 Spec's 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 these shims to see how they compare.

 Test Shim

Min Max Var
Non-Conductive AMD
.028" .028" .000"

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:

 Previous Shims

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



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 anodized coating.

  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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