The end of thermal paste is nigh?

/ 6 years ago

Applying thermal paste isn’t exactly rocket science, although horror stories about conductive thermal paste bricking processors is certainly not uncommon. Either way, the constant requirement to clean and re-apply thermal paste when messing around with your system is annoying to say the least.

A new development from Sony is emerging that thankfully threatens the existence of thermal paste, and not a moment too soon we say. The prototype Silicon Carbon based thermal sheet, currently known only by its “EX20000C” codename, measures in at 0.3-2.0mm thick with a thermal resistance of 0.4-0.2K cm2/W and a compressive load of about 1-3kgf/cm2 — five or six times the effectiveness of Sony’s previous solution.

EX20000C apparently meets the thermal conductivity and in some cases exceeds that of standard thermal grease. Although we don’t know which thermal grease the “standard” label applies too. In a series of testing, Sony showed that the thermal sheets shave 3 degrees off those “standard” thermal grease figures, again it would be nice to know what the thermal paste is since there can be up to 6 degrees difference between different types of thermal paste.

Despite the fact the cooling performance may not be dramatically different to thermal paste, these sheets are significant because they reduce the cleanup and application hassle as well as taking a much longer period of time to degrade.

The chips, coolers and grease involved in this demonstration weren’t shared. Sony expects the new sheet to be used in high-end servers, projectors and other such machines and it’s unclear when or if the solution will be available for your next system build and how much they might cost.


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