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Question VRM (and mosfet?) Thermal Pads Not In Contact With Zotac 2080 AMP Mid Plate

TakoWasabi

Junior Member
Jul 22, 2021
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Thank you guys so much for your time. I am grateful for any help with this matter.

Quick precursor: I'm trying to reinstall the stock Zotac 2080 AMP triple fan cooler after liquid cooling the card. The stock thermal pads had been disposed and I did not think to take photos for reference so I do not know if they made contact with the mid plate (please see first image for mid plate section).

I purchased 1.0mm and 1.5mm Gelid thermal pads for the VRM and VRAM respectively after Zotac technical help told me those were the correct thickness (I have not installed them yet). Out of curiosity, I tried to see if the 1.0mm VRM thermal pads from the XSPC water block would make contact with the mid plate and it turns out they do not (please see third image).

Do the thermal pads for a GPU's VRM need to make contact with a surface to be effective? The mid plate is painted and that seems to reduce its thermal conductivity (only my conjecture). The mid plate doesn't come into direct contact with the heat pipes and fin stack but air from the fans would hit the plate. Additionally, a section of the mid plate has a line of cutouts, so even if I had thicker thermal pads it would not make contact with the mid plate (please see second image).

Despite what the representative had advised, I'm now thinking I should purchase much thicker Gelid pads (2.0mm and 3.0mm for the VRM and VRAM respectively) so the pads can make proper contact (I have not tested whether 1.5mm is enough for the VRAM thermal pads to make contact with the fin stack cold plate). Is this necessary?
 

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DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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Aug 22, 2001
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Welcome to the forums :beercheers:

I am not certain your plan is necessary, but it is a good plan. My vote is follow through, regardless of whether you are prepping it for sale, or keeping it.
 
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solidsnake1298

Senior member
Aug 7, 2009
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noob question: can you double stack pads?
You CAN double stack thermal pads, but it is definitely discouraged if buying a single, thicker pad is an option.

Even if the mid-plate surface is painted, the paint is so thin that it does not reduce thermal conductivity much. I'm pretty sure there is a Gamers Nexus/LTT/Bitwit/Paul's Hardware/Jayztwocents video, I can't remember who made it, about paint on a radiator not affecting thermal transfer much. And the same applies to heat sinks and the mid/back plate.

But the thermal pads do need to make contact with something. Even if it is a flat piece of metal, it provides thermal mass to move heat into and slightly more surface area to dissipate the heat.

I remember EVGA's VRM-gate with their early GTX 1070s and 1080s (I have one of those early GTX 1070s) where their VRMs could overheat in some circumstances and were uncomfortably hot in normal circumstances. They didn't even have mid-plates to block direct airflow from the GPU fans and they still overheated. EVGA issued "thermal pad kits" for the VRMs and updated all future heat sink designs to directly cool VRM.

So I 100% think it is necessary to ensure your VRM thermal pads are in contact with something. Do what you gotta do.
 

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