Originally Posted by Hammerhead
Can you use Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound instead?
I replaced the thermal pads in my m9700 with AS5, and saw an immediate drop in temps. I was unable to use them on the memory for the gpu's though, as the gap was too large. I did apply it to the cpu, gpu chips, and the SLI chipset though with good results.
As long as you have physical contact between the GPU and the heatsink, should you use thermal compound. If you have a gap, thermal tap or even a thermal epoxy should be used. The thermal epoxy is permanent, so you will never get the heatsink off.
With thermal compound, use the very minimum, that coats the contact surface. Too much can reduce the heat transfer, just like too little can. With the Arctic Silver, the silver in it is a conductor of electricity, so any excess that ozes out, can drip onto a circuit and short it out. The silicon in a silicon based thermal compound is not a conductor, so you don't have to be as careful, though it is still good practice not to put too much on. You only need a very thin, and even coating of thermal compound for the very best heat transfer.
The GPU is the most important thing to keep cool on the video card. If you don't have a gap, then thermal compound is much better to use vs. using thermal tape.
With the memory, thermal tape is OK. The memory doesn't usually get that hot.