ALL HAIL THE SHIM
I just installed it after filing it down a tiny bit (it's probably 0.020" now or so), and although I managed to file off a finger nail or two in the process, it worked
. Load temps in FEAR are now 90-91C and it idles at 46-47C instead of 49-50C. Installing the shim is a pain in the ass though. First, I put a thin layer on the core (VERY thin, almost transparent) and pushed the shim on the core with a bag over my finger, and then rotated the shim while applying pressure to it. I then rubbed AS5 into the heatsink using my plastic bag covered finger, and wiped away any excess with that bag covered finger. Finally, I smoothed out a thicker layer of AS5 on top of the shim. I then took the back plate off and pushed the heatsink on to the shim. I then rotated the heatsink EVER so slightly in both clockwise and counter clockwise circles in order to make good contact but not move the position of the shim. Finally, I tightened the screws until they locked, and then loosened them about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn so that the springs had ever so slight give (barely detectable). Anyway, it works like a million bucks
To review the temp changes:
Stock - God knows what, probably would have melted the plastic
Thick layer of AS5 - 104-105C in FEAR
Thin layer of AS5 - 100C, but note that the first attempt left a part of the core with no contact to the heatsink, although it was covered with a layer of AS5.
Thin layers of AS5 + shim - 90-91C load, gold
Master Axe - believe it or not, cards, mobos, chips, and what have you can take a beating as long as it isn't jarring or sudden. Compression doesn't really hurt the chip until you tighten a screw over it and crack it (which is very difficult to do with spring loaded screws).
strat- don't worry about the thickness that much man, that's what the rotation is for. If it's too thick, it'll push excess out to the sides
. Strive to put on a very thin but opaque (for the most part) layer of AS5. The rubbing action is really important because it ensures good contact and fills all the microscopic valleys. If you want to rub AS5 into the heatsink, cover your finger with a plastic bag and use that to rub it in. Using any kind of cloth will still get debris in the AS5. The core, is, essentially, the texture of glass, so there are no valleys to fill in, so dont bother rubbing AS5 into it before applying.