Discussion Graphite Cooling Pad TIM Replacement in the VCU1525 - Quick Post + Pictures

Soul of Jacobeh

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Here's a few of the pictures from when I ripped apart my VCU1525 and replaced the modest thermal grease with a graphite cooling pad.
I needed a 40mmx40mm pad which I then cut to fit. 30mm was too small. I intend to test an Indium cooling pad later.

(I've moved the portion that delved into various thermal interfaces to its own discussion.)

The shroud and heat sink mount are easy to unscrew. The shroud comes off without a fight (almost falls off), but the heatsink is an absolute nightmare.
I'd be very careful here. I recommend running the VCU for a bit to heat up the thermal paste, or take a hair dryer and heat the sink itself. If you heat the sink externally, you will need to heat it for quite a while, as it has a vapor chamber that absorbs a significant amount of heat before the paste would reasonably warm up. At this stage, EVER so slightly twist the sink a tad, and try and pull it straight outward. Remember you have a multi-thousand $ FPGA under the sink, and for all intents and purposes the thermal grease has absolutely glued everything together.

our-vcu1525.jpg vcu1525-with-shield-from-rear.jpg look-at-that-snout.jpg vuc1525-without-shield-from-rear.jpg blurry-disassembly.jpg i-wish-i-was-better-at-photography.jpg stupid-thermal-paste.jpg that-die-shot.jpg

You can click each picture to view whatever-resolution I was allowed to upload.

Alas, I don't have very good benchmarks in the difference it made, as I also changed my airflow and algorithm around the same time. It wasn't the time for nitty gritty benchmarks, and was simply the time to get this up and running for developers' remote access as best I could with what I had.
 
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