Question Help & advice with 5700xt thermal pad replacement results

Feb 25, 2021

I've posted this question on two other forums which were instrumental in me learning how to replace GPU thermal pads, and have reproduced it here because tom's has also been the source of a lot of useful information and I hope you can help!

I've been seeing VRAM temps on my Red Devil 5700xt in the 90-92c range under load. I read that replacing the thermal pads on the VRAM could help operating temperatures reduce by a few degrees.

After watching a couple of thermal pad replacement videos and being unable to find any clear indication of the stock termal pad sizes I settled for the 1.5mm thermal grizzly minus 8 pads. I didn't want to go for 2mm so as to avoid putting any undue stress on the components when tightening the heatsink on.

Following replacement of the pads my VRM temp appears to have almost HALVED (from 44c to 22c?!). I used mx-4 thermal past on the gpu die and am seeing a slight increase of 3 degrees or so, but still no more than 60-70c.

My worry is that I'm seeing very slightly worse VRAM peaks at 94c which I can attribute to one of the following issues:

-Thermal conductivity of stock pads is the same as that of the replacements - solution would be to get more conductive pads

-Thickness of replacement pads was not great enough, and even if conductivity is better, mounting pressure is worse. - solution would be to buy the same or more conductive pads, only thicker.

Does anyone have experience of replacing the pads, and if so can you recommend the proper thickness and whether for example a Gelid GP extreme pad with 11W/mK rather than thermal grizzly's 8(?) W/mk would be a better idea?

BONUS - I've seen some deep forum posts around the internet suggesting using a very fine application of thermal paste between pads and VRAM - any opinions on this? Histoical opinion looks to be that it's a massive no although I've also found some manufacturers and forum posts that apparently do it/recommend it as a means of reducing air gaps between pads and chips.

tl:dr - should the red devil 5700xt thermal pads be 1.5mm or 2.0mm, and is 8w/mk an improvement on the stock pads or is greater thermal conductivity required to see a difference?