Thermal Tape vs. Thermal Paste

I've only changed out a CPU once before - but when I did it, I used thermal grease/paste?

Now I've just ordered components for a completely new build - and I've noticed that my CPU heat sink (Arctic Freezer Pro 7) has thermal tape pre-applied to the bottom of it.

I'm a bit hesitant to use the tape, as I can't see how it would be easy (or even possible) to ever remove this thing in the future if I want to upgrade the CPU. However, I do like the simplicity of just having a piece of tape and not having to even think about the proper thickness/spreading of the thermal compound.

Which is better - tape or grease/paste? If I do go with grease, do I just scrape the tape off the heatsink + use alcohol/etc. to remove residue, or is there a "preferred" method of doing this?

Sorry if this is a dumb question. It's been a long time since I've done anything with a CPU. How long has this tape thing been around, anyway?
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  1. Thermal paste/grease beats tape hands down. You can use that method you mentioned to remove the tape, just MAKE SURE you take your time and you do not scratch the heatsink underneath.

    If you do not plan to overclock, the tape should be sufficient, although it will probably melt and hence cannot be used with another CPU in the future. You will have to remove it anyway after the first use.

    If you plan to overclock, definitely go with the paste.
  2. Your Freezer 7 Pro does not have thermal tape on it, it has MX 2 thermal paste on it! Do not remove it! It looks like thermal tape because it is applied expertly at the factory. MX 2 thermal paste is one of best around. It is easily removed with 90% alcohol. You can get a huge bottle for about a dollar at Walmart. Don't ever use thermal tape on your cpu!
  3. yeah for the processor i always use thermal paste. the tape will do fine but wont get you the maximuim overclock or the coolest temps

    to get the paste/tape of the processor and clean it you can use alcohol and that works good, but i always been a firm believer of arctic clean thermal material remover witch works wonders. it makes the processor look brand new again and takes 1/4 of the time. the cost is around $8 and it will last's you a long time. i had the same stuff for a year and used it 10+ times and i still have half the bottle
  4. not true darkguest

    coollaboratory[mind my spelling] released a liquid metal pad after hearing that their liquid metal paste was close to impossible to remove from the heatsink/IHS... the pad is not only easier to remove, but it performs nearly as well as a broken-in artic silver 5 application
  5. Think of it like this:

    Thermal tape is a 2-bit street corner hooker. It'll be cheap and you'll be left semi-satisfied but feeling dirty.

    Thermal Grease is like a porn star. Expensive, well-built, and she knows exactly how to take care of you.
  6. eklipz330 said:
    not true darkguest

    coollaboratory[mind my spelling] released a liquid metal pad after hearing that their liquid metal paste was close to impossible to remove from the heatsink/IHS... the pad is not only easier to remove, but it performs nearly as well as a broken-in artic silver 5 application


    Sorry mate, but in this case i am absolutely right (Arctic Freezer Pro 7). This cooler does not ship with the liquid metal pad, like 99% of the standard heatsinks.
  7. i need to replace the heatsink on my nvidia gtx7800 because i'm getting random crashes while playing games. the video card is the common denominator.
    i'm looking at the ZALMAN VF770 but leaning to vf1000. any feedback is welcome. i'm looking at this post because zalman uses thermal tape on the memory heatsinks.
    i guess using paste is a non-issue because there is no mounting mechanism. i'm guessing the heatsinks will fall off if i use paste, but that's just a theory. how hot does the memory get, exactly? it isn't being reported by hwmonitor.
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