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Which Thermal Paste to buy and apply (Traditional and Liquid Metal)


Vasudev
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This thread will serve as a guide for new comers to the forum and will possibly reduce the time reading through long never ending threads.

TL.DR; This will guide in choosing the best thermal paste that suits you.

Well Known Brands:

Thermal Grizzly (aka TG)
Coollaboratory   (aka CLL)                                                                                   
Phobya
Gelid
Prolimatech
IC Diamond
Cooler Master
Noctua

 

Traditional Paste: [No specific order]

  • TG Kryonaut Extreme: 14.2 W/mK replacing TG Kyronaut [Thanks to Papusan and @solidus1983]
  • Phobya NanoGrease Extreme 16 W/mK { Thanks Mr.Fox}
  • Gelid Extreme 8.5 W/mK
  • ICD 7: 4.5 W/mK
  • Prolimatech PK3: 11.2 W/mK
  • Cooler Master MasterGel Maker : 11 W/mK [ Thanks bloodhawk]
  • Noctua NT-H1
  • Cooler Master CryoFuze: 14 W/mK
  • Thermalright TFX: 14.3 W/mK
  • Kingpin Cooling KPx

Liquid Metal Pastes:[No specific order]

  • TG Conductonaut *: 73 W/mK
  • Coollaboratory Ultra or Pro *: 68 W/mK [Thanks Papusan ]
  • Phobya LM *: 40 W/mK [Thanks Papusan ]
  • Thermalright Silver King*: 79W/mK [Thanks Papusan ]

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sorry this is non exhaustive list.

* indicates important notes whilst the use of metal paste.

  1. Heat sink must be copper
  2. The surface of heatsink and cpu/gpu must be clean to provide even contact because metal paste will fill the air gap like a thin film The surface have to be completely flat, and the contact between the heatsink and the die have to be PERFECT ( minimum gap between both) { credit to judal57 for this}
  3. Tape the outer die of CPU or GPU to avoid spillage due to over-application of paste
  4. Use spatula paint brush or similar, to even out the paste on the die and apply remaining paste on the heat sink (Thanks to Papusan)

@Rofa1234's detailed thermal paste testing results:

So here are my results. This is the average degrees of 4 cores+ambient temperature correction (between 0.0-1.0 degrees). I will add detailed core and ambient temperatures later on. Too much for now Smile

Spoiler

 

  • Thermalright TFX-----------------------------83.65 (83/83/83/84 ambient 24.6)
     
  • Coolermaster CryoFuze-------------------83.85 (83/83/84/83 ambient 24.4)
     
  • FuzeIce Plus----------------------------------84.10 (83/83/84/84 ambient 24.4)
     
  • Deepcool G40-------------------------------84.30 (83/83/84/84 ambient 24.2)
     
  • SYY-157---------------------------------------84.45 (83/84/84/84 ambient 24.3)
     
  • Akasa T5 ProGrade Plus------------------84.65 (85/83/84/83 ambient 24.1)
     
  •  Alpenföhn Permafrost 2--------------------84.90 (85/84/85/84 ambient 24.6)
     
  •   Coolermaster MasterGel Maker------------85.00 (85/84/85/84 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut------------------85.25 (85/84/85/85 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme--------85.45 (85/84/86/84 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Deepcool Z10---------------------------------85.50 (85/84/84/85 ambient 24.0)
     
  •     Deepcool EX750-----------------------------85.55 (85/84/85/85 ambient 24.2)
     
  •     Noctua NT-H2--------------------------------85.65 (86/84/86/85 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     Phanteks PH-NDC--------------------------85.65 (85/84/86/86 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     Thermalright TF7---------------------------85.95 (85/86/85/85 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Thermalright TF8---------------------------86.15 (86/86/86/85 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     IC Diamond 24-----------------------------86.35 (86/86/86/85 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     Cryorig CP5---------------------------------86.60 (86/86/86/86 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     Maxtor CTG8--------------------------------86.85 (87/86/87/85 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     G-MOTIONS GM-850----------------------86.95 (86/86/86/87 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Genesis Silicon 851-----------------------87.50 (87/87/87/87 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Prolimatech PK-3 Nano------------------87.65 (88/87/87/87 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     KRYO 33--------------------------------------87.70 (87/87/87/87 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Be Quiet DC1-------------------------------88.10 (87/87/88/88 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     Zalman-STC8------------------------------88.10 (88/87/88/87 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     IONZ IZP14---------------------------------88.15 (87/87/88/87 ambient 24.1)
     
  •     Akasa 5026---------------------------------88.30 (88/88/88/88 ambient 24.7)
     
  •     Gelid GC-Extreme blue-----------------88.35 (88/88/89/88 ambient 24.9)
     
  •     MARS Gaming MT1----------------------88.40 (88/88/88/88 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     Akasa 5022--------------------------------88.50 (89/88/88/87 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Shin-Etsu G751--------------------------89.20 (89/88/89/88 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Arctic MX-4---------------------------------89.25 (89/88/90/90 ambient 25.0)
     
  •     Gelid GC-PRO---------------------------89.35 (89/88/90/88 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     JunPus JP-DX1-------------------------90.00 (89/89/89/91 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Phobya NanoGrease Extreme-------90.25 (90/89/90/90 ambient 24.5)
     
  •     Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut-----------91.10 (92/89/92/91 ambient 24.9)
     
  •     Arctic MX-5---------------------------------91.20 (92/90/91/91 ambient 24.8)
     
  •     Gelid GC-Extreme yellow---------------91.35 (92/90/92/91 ambient 24.9)
     
  •     EVGA Frostbite 2--------------------------91.45 (92/89/92/90 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     OSGEAR TC128-2-------------------------91.85 (92/90/91/92 ambient 24.4)
     
  •     Halnziye HY-A9------------------------------91.95 (93/90/91/91 ambient 24.3)   
  •     Akasa Essential T5-----------------------92.25 (92/92/91/92 ambient 24.5)
  •     Antec Formula X--------------------------92.80 (93/92/92/91 ambient 24.2)
     
  •     Shin-Etsu X23-7783D--------------------93.15 (94/92/92/91 ambient 24.1)
     
  •     Foshan GD900----------------------------93.75 (94/94/92/93 ambient 24.3)
     
  •     Zalman-STC9-----------------------------94.40 (94/94/94/94 ambient 24.6)
     
  •     Halnziye HY883----------------------------97.25 (99/95/99/96 ambient 25.0)
  •     Halnziye HY810------------------------------99.75 (100/98/100/99 ambient 24.5)

 

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You can add Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme to that list currently running that stuff right now, its pink instead of grey!

 

Spec Sheet: https://www.thermal-grizzly.com/images/downloads/TG-Datasheet-KryonautExtreme-EN.pdf

Product Page: https://www.thermal-grizzly.com/en/products/359-kryonaut-extreme-en

Rating: 14,2 W/m*K 

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{Main Laptop:} PCS Recoil 17.3" (Clevo X170KM-G)

Spoiler

{CPU:} Intel i5 11400

{RAM:} 2x 16GB DDR4 2933MT/s

{GPU:} Nvidia RTX 3070 Mobile
{Screen:} LG Philips LP173WFG-SPB3 144hz 1080p

{Storage:} 2x M.2 SATA 1TB and 2TB Respectively
1x NVME M.2 WD SN750 Black.

{OS:} Windows 11 Pro

Benchmarks:

{TimeSpy}: Normal Extreme  {Firestrike}: Normal Extreme {Port Royle}Result

Realtek Nahimic 3 Modded Driver for MSI Systems: Latest
 

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12 hours ago, solidus1983 said:

You can add Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme to that list currently running that stuff right now, its pink instead of grey!

 

Spec Sheet: https://www.thermal-grizzly.com/images/downloads/TG-Datasheet-KryonautExtreme-EN.pdf

Product Page: https://www.thermal-grizzly.com/en/products/359-kryonaut-extreme-en

Rating: 14,2 W/m*K 

Is it better than older Kryonaut and has reduced pumpout on BGA with super heavy copper heatsinks (pun intended 😂)?

@Papusan@Mr. Fox Do you recommend replacing thermal paste brands/variants in OP with new versions and also thermal pads/metal pads/carbon sheets?

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18 minutes ago, Vasudev said:

Is it better than older Kryonaut and has reduced pumpout on BGA with super heavy copper heatsinks (pun intended 😂)?

@Papusan@Mr. Fox Do you recommend replacing thermal paste brands/variants in OP with new versions and also thermal pads/metal pads/carbon sheets?

Hi Vasu. 

Add in TG Kryonaut Extreme - 14,2 W/m*K (I would remove the standard Kryonaut from the list).
Thermalrigh TFX - 14,3 W/m*K
Coolermaster CRYOFUZE  - 14W/m*K

Kingpin Cooling KPx

 

For Liquid metal... Add in Thermalrigh Silver King 79W/m*K

 

Thanks🙂

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Yeah Kryonaut Extreme performs much better then Kryonuat, also much more cleaner. I purchased a small amount at first and it was so much better i purchased a tub of it.

 

I might when funds are available after upgrades do a shoot out as some of the pastes in the 14W/m*k range or above has peeked my interest.

As for ICD i would take that out CPU Dies and IHS's will thank you for that. 

{Main Laptop:} PCS Recoil 17.3" (Clevo X170KM-G)

Spoiler

{CPU:} Intel i5 11400

{RAM:} 2x 16GB DDR4 2933MT/s

{GPU:} Nvidia RTX 3070 Mobile
{Screen:} LG Philips LP173WFG-SPB3 144hz 1080p

{Storage:} 2x M.2 SATA 1TB and 2TB Respectively
1x NVME M.2 WD SN750 Black.

{OS:} Windows 11 Pro

Benchmarks:

{TimeSpy}: Normal Extreme  {Firestrike}: Normal Extreme {Port Royle}Result

Realtek Nahimic 3 Modded Driver for MSI Systems: Latest
 

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Does anyone have a good "how to apply thermal paste" guide?

I did it once or twice long time ago. Been thinking lately that maybe now is a good time to re-paste all my hardware, so I'd rather do it the right way.

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 7560
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550

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8 minutes ago, serpro69 said:

Does anyone have a good "how to apply thermal paste" guide?

I did it once or twice long time ago. Been thinking lately that maybe now is a good time to re-paste all my hardware, so I'd rather do it the right way.

Here we go... I use the X-shape and put a little blubb paste in the middle of the cross. Remember to pay especially attention to the shape of the die. An elongated chip needs a bit different application. And there is nothing wrong in spread the paste in a thin layer.

Thermal Paste Application Techniques - Puget Systems

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21 minutes ago, solidus1983 said:

Yeah Kryonaut Extreme performs much better then Kryonuat, also much more cleaner. I purchased a small amount at first and it was so much better i purchased a tub of it.

 

I might when funds are available after upgrades do a shoot out as some of the pastes in the 14W/m*k range or above has peeked my interest.

As for ICD i would take that out CPU Dies and IHS's will thank you for that. 

Ok thanks.

I was aware of ICD 7/24 scratching die/IHS but Papusan,Mr. Fox and others told me its only cosmetic and doesn't affect the CPU/IHS/HS in any way. Then again, ICD was difficult to source and too expensive and I found CM Maker Gel and haven't looked back.

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1 hour ago, Papusan said:

Hi Vasu. 

Add in TG Kryonaut Extreme - 14,2 W/m*K (I would remove the standard Kryonaut from the list).
Thermalrigh TFX - 14,3 W/m*K
Coolermaster CRYOFUZE  - 14W/m*K

Kingpin Cooling KPx

 

For Liquid metal... Add in Thermalrigh Silver King 79W/m*K

 

Thanks🙂

OP Updated.

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23 minutes ago, Papusan said:

Here we go... I use the X-shape and put a little blubb paste in the middle of the cross. Remember to pay especially attention to the shape of the die. An elongated chip needs a bit different application. And there is nothing wrong in spread the paste in a thin layer.

Thermal Paste Application Techniques - Puget Systems

I myself am a Pre-Spreader type of guy but some times use the line method on Rectangle Dies and Blob + X on Squared Dies.

{Main Laptop:} PCS Recoil 17.3" (Clevo X170KM-G)

Spoiler

{CPU:} Intel i5 11400

{RAM:} 2x 16GB DDR4 2933MT/s

{GPU:} Nvidia RTX 3070 Mobile
{Screen:} LG Philips LP173WFG-SPB3 144hz 1080p

{Storage:} 2x M.2 SATA 1TB and 2TB Respectively
1x NVME M.2 WD SN750 Black.

{OS:} Windows 11 Pro

Benchmarks:

{TimeSpy}: Normal Extreme  {Firestrike}: Normal Extreme {Port Royle}Result

Realtek Nahimic 3 Modded Driver for MSI Systems: Latest
 

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I use Ceramique 2.  Non-conductive, inexpensive, easy to spread, easy to clean up.  There might be pastes that outperform it by a few celsius but for the price and ease of use, I'll stick with it.  It performs in the ballpark of AS-5 but is a lot cheaper.  I got 2 25g tubes for I think 12 bucks on a holiday deal many years ago at MicroCenter, and neither is dried out.  I put it in a laptop that basically saw daily use for 3-4 years, and it was in great shape when I pulled the thing apart recently.  My HTPC also was running C2 paste, and it was a near-decade-old build of an AMD A10-5800k with an Antec Kuhler 620 closed-loop all-in-one.  I tore that system down in mid 2021 and sent it to my brother, and the paste was still in workable shape.  So much use under a 100 watt APU had darkened it a little bit, as it was no longer bright white, but it was still fully spreadable and workable.  After 9 friggin' years.  Impressed the hell out of me, it did, so it'll be my go-to (plus I have about 35 grams total left of it)!

As far as patterns, I do similar to @Papusan and @solidus1983's suggestion and spread a layer out.  Never had a problem with temps ('cept when fans crap out and I don't catch it in time).

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Hi people. I moved this thread to the upgrades forum as we think it is a more suitable place (a redirect will stay in the original place for 30 days).

I suggest you include a link to one or more good videos on thermal paste application. It may not be easy for a beginner to apply just the right amount of thermal paste required 🙂

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I just repasted my main system with NT-H2, but I also have a tube of Arctic MX-5 laying around; haven't used it so I can't say much on it yet.

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10 minutes ago, Katja said:

I just repasted my main system with NT-H2, but I also have a tube of Arctic MX-5 laying around; haven't used it so I can't say much on it yet.

Noctua and Arctic thermal pastes don't have a good history of longevity in laptops though. The MX4 and NT-H1 were the worst pastes you con use on a laptop so I'd keep a close eye on temps as they may creep up again in a few months.

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So I checked my history, and my old laptop, with a Core 2 Extreme, is using Arctic Silver 5, last applied in mid-2017.  My desktop's CPU paste is even older, probably the same that I applied when I swapped to a 212 Evo in 2014, and also probably Arctic Silver 5.  By that time, whatever I'd applied in 2011 was obviously failing as shown by fans and temps.  Dunno if it was what shipped with my Intel CPU, or the CoolerMaster Unspecified Type paste I still have laying around somewhere.

In 2014, the new ArcticSilver 5 setup hit 53C at stock, full CPU, 58C overclocked to 3.8 GHz.  Now, 7.5 years later, at 3.6 GHz, I'm maxing out at 60C, with 1520 RPM fans instead of 1230 RPM in 2014 (it's also a different physical fan on the CPU heatsink).  Other changes include more hard drives to impede airflow, and that I haven't done a good dusting for a while, as I had when testing in 2014.  I also failed to note the ambient temperature in 2014; it's 67F currently.

I'm pretty happy with that longevity.  I could probably get improved performance by re-pasting with the same type of paste (AS5 has a thermal conductivity of 8.9W/mK according to my search results), and I'm sure I could get even better with more powerful paste.  But why bother?  If I need more performance at this point, I'll rebuild the system with a CPU that isn't a decade old.

(Apparently Arctic Silver and Arctic aren't the same companies, either... I thought they were until looking them both up tonight)

I have wondered if my Core 2 Extreme laptop could hit 3 GHz on all cores with better thermal paste, and it's plausible.  But again, it would kind of being doing it for the sake of doing it.

Props on the detailed comparison chart in the first post, definitely a good reference.

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On 2/11/2022 at 11:48 AM, Sandy Bridge said:

So I checked my history, and my old laptop, with a Core 2 Extreme, is using Arctic Silver 5, last applied in mid-2017.  My desktop's CPU paste is even older, probably the same that I applied when I swapped to a 212 Evo in 2014, and also probably Arctic Silver 5.  By that time, whatever I'd applied in 2011 was obviously failing as shown by fans and temps.  Dunno if it was what shipped with my Intel CPU, or the CoolerMaster Unspecified Type paste I still have laying around somewhere.

In 2014, the new ArcticSilver 5 setup hit 53C at stock, full CPU, 58C overclocked to 3.8 GHz.  Now, 7.5 years later, at 3.6 GHz, I'm maxing out at 60C, with 1520 RPM fans instead of 1230 RPM in 2014 (it's also a different physical fan on the CPU heatsink).  Other changes include more hard drives to impede airflow, and that I haven't done a good dusting for a while, as I had when testing in 2014.  I also failed to note the ambient temperature in 2014; it's 67F currently.

I'm pretty happy with that longevity.  I could probably get improved performance by re-pasting with the same type of paste (AS5 has a thermal conductivity of 8.9W/mK according to my search results), and I'm sure I could get even better with more powerful paste.  But why bother?  If I need more performance at this point, I'll rebuild the system with a CPU that isn't a decade old.

(Apparently Arctic Silver and Arctic aren't the same companies, either... I thought they were until looking them both up tonight)

I have wondered if my Core 2 Extreme laptop could hit 3 GHz on all cores with better thermal paste, and it's plausible.  But again, it would kind of being doing it for the sake of doing it.

Props on the detailed comparison chart in the first post, definitely a good reference.

Unfortunately good paste is a must if you want to keep your laptop processor from throttling under load nowadays. And sometimes it may not even be enough especially on the 120ish watt i7 and i9 models which will require Liquid Metal to cope with their high heat density.

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On 2/10/2022 at 8:48 PM, Sandy Bridge said:

So I checked my history, and my old laptop, with a Core 2 Extreme, is using Arctic Silver 5, last applied in mid-2017.  My desktop's CPU paste is even older, probably the same that I applied when I swapped to a 212 Evo in 2014, and also probably Arctic Silver 5.  By that time, whatever I'd applied in 2011 was obviously failing as shown by fans and temps.  Dunno if it was what shipped with my Intel CPU, or the CoolerMaster Unspecified Type paste I still have laying around somewhere.

In 2014, the new ArcticSilver 5 setup hit 53C at stock, full CPU, 58C overclocked to 3.8 GHz.  Now, 7.5 years later, at 3.6 GHz, I'm maxing out at 60C, with 1520 RPM fans instead of 1230 RPM in 2014 (it's also a different physical fan on the CPU heatsink).  Other changes include more hard drives to impede airflow, and that I haven't done a good dusting for a while, as I had when testing in 2014.  I also failed to note the ambient temperature in 2014; it's 67F currently.

I'm pretty happy with that longevity.  I could probably get improved performance by re-pasting with the same type of paste (AS5 has a thermal conductivity of 8.9W/mK according to my search results), and I'm sure I could get even better with more powerful paste.  But why bother?  If I need more performance at this point, I'll rebuild the system with a CPU that isn't a decade old.

(Apparently Arctic Silver and Arctic aren't the same companies, either... I thought they were until looking them both up tonight)

I have wondered if my Core 2 Extreme laptop could hit 3 GHz on all cores with better thermal paste, and it's plausible.  But again, it would kind of being doing it for the sake of doing it.

Props on the detailed comparison chart in the first post, definitely a good reference.

The fact that you were able to keep your hands off the internals of your system for that many years is something in and of itself. I have never managed to use any system for more than a few months, at most, without having a reason to tear things apart for some kind of hardware mod, new experiment or test compelling me to disrupt everything. When laptops were still something I cared about, sometimes I would go for many months without even installing the screws in the lower cover or keyboard. The magnetic keyboard feature on the Clevo P870s was effective enough by itself that it was a waste of time reaching for a screwdriver.

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Oh, it's not completely true that I haven't dug into the internals of my system for several years.  I took apart a decent amount of my desktop last summer to oil a few fans that had started rattling.  Added storage the year before that, a PCI Express expansion card a year or two before.  And the most surprising thing about my laptops right now is that they do have the screws, that certainly wasn't something do be counted on for quite a while.  I've taken apart my older laptop twice in the past 9 months, but both times to swap out the screen, not the "main" internals.  The CPUs, it's true, have pretty much stood the test of time.

 

Actually... make that three times, I used it as a test subject when teaching a friend laptop maintenance last summer.

 

But my interests have also diversified over the years, which has meant less time thinking about or implementing computer hardware projects.  If it's just working, there's a good chance I'll leave it just working.

 

I guess I got fortunate that MSI put a good cooling system in my laptop; actually I know I did because one of my friends had a different MSI and you could fry an egg on it or go deaf listening to its fans; it really did need thermal paste re-applied.  But it was a relatively thin one with a 2070; mine is a thick one with a 1050.  Much less GPU heat, much more space for cooling.  Wouldn't be surprised if I do need to re-paste the original before long, but so far... *knocks on wood* it isn't throttling.

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On 2/12/2022 at 3:57 PM, Mr. Fox said:

I think you're the winner of the longest URL award this month. 

I try my best😆

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3 hours ago, runix18 said:

I try my best😆

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@Papusan

Liquid metal "pre baking" ??

 

Hi my name is Eban and I'm an addict.   :classic_love:LM fanboy

 

I was scrolling through somewhere last night and can not find it again now...about pre baking LM?

I missed the OP on old forum. Does anyone have an archive link (was it saved?) or willing to write up the cliffnotes?

Thank you

E

 

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Lenovo Legion Y740 17" i7-9750H rtx2080maxQ win10  |  Alienware 17 (Ranger) i7-4910mq gtx980m Mint 20.3 |  

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On 2/12/2022 at 2:57 PM, Mr. Fox said:

I think you're the winner of the longest URL award this month. 

Yep, isn't Ebay disgusting? Their coders should be fired. Most likely hired some of the best software engineers from Microsoft OS department 🙂

2 hours ago, Eban said:

@Papusan

Liquid metal "pre baking" ??

 

Hi my name is Eban and I'm an addict.   :classic_love:LM fanboy

 

I was scrolling through somewhere last night and can not find it again now...about pre baking LM?

I missed the OP on old forum. Does anyone have an archive link (was it saved?) or willing to write up the cliffnotes?

Thank you

E

 

Here's the basis for my baking post's on NBR... https://imgur.com/a/2xHnNVn

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6 hours ago, Papusan said:

Yep, isn't Ebay disgusting? Their coders should be fired. Most likely hired some of the best software engineers from Microsoft OS department 🙂

Here's the basis for my baking post's on NBR... https://imgur.com/a/2xHnNVn

 

@Papusan Thank you! I am going to give that a try. 

Brand new cicichen 3pipe heatsink for my AW17.

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Lenovo Legion Y740 17" i7-9750H rtx2080maxQ win10  |  Alienware 17 (Ranger) i7-4910mq gtx980m Mint 20.3 |  

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