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Are Thurderbird spacers a good investment?

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New Member
Jun 9, 2001
I was thinking about buying one of those spacers they sell so you won't crack the core of your CPU. Are they a good investment? If so, which one is a good one to get?
I just posted somewhere to a question just like this. People say that they arent needed. I will somewhat agree with that. There is an article here in overclockers.com on how they adversely effect cooling by a few degrees.

I will give you my opinion now. How much did you pay for that chip? How much will you pay for the shim. Probably about $10 for the shim. Even at the cost of $10, and a few degrees, don't you think that it is a good insurance policy for you CPU? Especially if you take your HSF off and on alot.

There are a few gotchas when it comes to shims. Especially seeing you are using an AMD. First is the material it's made of. It's probably conductive copper. Be careful that the shim doesn't touch the bridges. There are two types of non-conductive shims on the market. Plastic and anodized shims. The anodized shims are being billed as non-conductive. This is crap, because once it's scratched, it's now cundictive. Stay away from these if you go the non-condictive route. Spend the extra money and get the plastic ones.

Another thing is to ensure that it fits properly. If it's too high you will cook your CPU. The easiest way to check is to put a dab of heatsink grease on your CORE, then put the shim on top, then press the HSF down on the core. Take it back off and make sure you can see a square imprint on the HSF from the thermal grease. This will tell you that your shims are not too high.

Good luck.

(Copy and paste above)

This is the shim I have. If anything I MAY be able to attribute a 1-2 degree difference to the shim being on there, but the difference is so questionable that it's hard to say that it has cause any additional heat, certainly not any large amount that is for sure. For me if it didn't add any if very little heat and it would protect the core when replacing HSF, then it was worth the $$.

I would have to say, buy a shim one becauseof the super extra security it gives you, as well as by making sure the heatsink is flat with the cpu. After I mounted the shim back on to my t-bird i was able to OC it to 1400mhz (had a 1.2ghz) and dropped about 10c off my temps because my heatsink was mounted wrong. now that was mostlt because my heatsink was mounted incorrectly (with the clip backwards) but I am sure glad I have that shim on there now!!
Personally, I hate shims with a passion. If you choose to use one, get one made from phenolic resin with an adhesive back.
My shim was worthless, still chipped my core on the corner. Now I don't use one at all. It is better to be more careful as the shim can give a sense of false confidence in what it does, although I now use a mc462 so things are much different than dealing with tough clips some heatsinks have.
The only people who are going to tell you that a shim is worth it are the people who have already busted their cpu.

Although shims may only rise your cpu temps by a few degrees remember this...All electronic components failure time is doubled for every 10ºC drop.

3-5ºC is a 50% increase in cpu life. That means that buying a shim is a double edged sword. It MAY save your cpu's life but your cpu will now last half as long as it would do without the shim.

Dont bother getting a shim unless you dont have the money to replace your cpu. CPU's arent really that expensive (Excluding high end P4 and TBs) so this is why I dont think shims are worth it.
m_kelder (Jul 08, 2001 06:30 a.m.):
It is better to be more careful as the shim can give a sense of false confidence in what it does, .

I agree with this statement, I have removed my heatsink many times without any problem, however I believe use of a Shim would make me worry less and what ever is said, taking care is still considerably cheaper than a Shim
I've always wondered why do they even SELL shims....these simple plates of plastic or metal. Those tiny pads next to the CPU cores function pretty well to distribute the clamping force of the HSF or waterblock clips -unless the clip/retention mechanism itself is badly designed.
I just crushed the edge of my Tbird core when taking off my air cooler to put on my waterblock. it was because of the poor design of the clip on the heatsink. it was the toughest one i've ever taken off, and i ruined my new 1.2Ghz Tbird. i wish i woulda just waited for my waterblock to come in, but that's hard to do when you have a bunch of new pieces parts ready to go. ....... that would probably prevented me from buying a temporary, hard to remove, heatsink and fan (CYBERCOOLER ..... the all copper one). ...... the waterblock i have, a maze2, is nice and easy to get on flat. so, i won't get a shim this time either. i've only broken this one thing in my years of building computers for myself and others. ...... but ...... a shim woulda saved me from buying a new cpu.......... if you have the time to get a shim and you are worried about having one or not, go ahead and get one for a little piece of mind. just don't treat your cpu like it can't be broken. treat it like you would if you didn't have any extra security. maybe then you won't end up biting the bullet like me.
Out of curiousity rather than need, I decided to give the concept from Bunker Mentality a try. Instead of a copper shim, he uses epoxy putty to replace the original spacers. Have the same problem as a shim - make sure they're not preventing complete core contact - but no conductive metals, minimal if any insulating property and it's cheaper. Instead of his inkstamper method I just lapped the CPU with the new standoffs in place until I was just lightly touching the core, put it together, temps the same. So I found out it worked fine, now just trying to come up with a reason for having done it.

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