GDDR6X video memory is known to run notoriously hot on Nvidia's latest RTX 30-series graphics cards. While these are some of the best gaming GPUs on the market, the high memory temps have been an ongoing concern. Hardware modder and YouTuber DandyWorks recently shared a new video, showing how a memory cooling modification involving copper shims as a replacement for thermal pads, and the gains are seriously impressive.
The mod was able to reduce the GDDR6X temperatures on an Asus TUF RTX 3070 Ti by a whopping 46 degrees Celsius, from 110C to 64C. While that's an amazing improvement by simply swapping out thermal pads for copper, the process is rather complicated. If you're interested in performing the mod yourself, be prepared to put in a fair amount of work. Also note that the Asus TUF GPUs are known to have relatively poor GDDR6X cooling, so the gains might not be as significant with other RTX 30-series cards.
Dandy shows that the mod for his particularly card requires three components: copper shims, non-conductive Kapton tape, and thermal paste with an applicator. Additionally, you might need 400 grit sandpaper for smoothing out the copper shims.
The copper shims should be 0.2mm thinner than the size of the thermal pads to work properly. Again, some experimentation may be required, depending on your particular card. If your graphics card uses a separate cold plate for cooling the memory, you may be able to get away with slightly thicker copper shims that are the same size as the thermal pads.
You'll need to search online or dismantle your graphics card to see which method of cooling it uses. Otherwise, the basic process will be similar, regardless of your particular GPU.
You remove the cooler from the graphics card, replace the thermal pads on the GDDR6X (or other) memory modules with copper shims sandwiched in-between thermal paste — don't use too much or too little. You'll also want to put layers of Kapton tape all around each module to ensure a short doesn't occur, as that can kill the graphics card.
GDDR6X Copper Cooling Results
After the mod was complete, Dandy fired up T-Rex, a cryptocurrency mining app for Nvidia GPUs, and ran it for over two and a half hours. Results showed the memory temps operating at an incredible 64C, which is a 46C drop from the card's original temperature of 110C with the stock thermal pads.
If you have an RTX 30-series card that is running borderline temps of 106C–110C on the GDDR6X modules, this mod could be beneficial to you. Lowering memory temps will give the memory additional overclocking headroom, and that's beneficial for gaming as well as mining applications. It should also improve the lifespan of your card. While Nvidia rates the memory for up to 110C, many are concerned that cards won't last more than a few years if they continually run at such high temperatures.
You can get pretty close to those copper shims if you use high performance thermal putty due to PCB warp.
My rtx3090 with modified EK block uses 0.5mm thermal pads for all the front.
The rear, uses 1mm pads, that I could use 0.5mm copper shims but too lazy now.
Have a low profile heatsink with thermal tape + 80mm noctua on the backside, I don't think i see more than ~55c for gaming.
Not really possible, It will make the card way too expensive to produce.
The reason behind the thick pads are due to the variation in height of the ram on the circuit board and the heatsink.
When machines place the ram on circuit board and subsequent heating, there will always be minor variations. The heatsinks are most cast aluminum and assembled then machined.
If you have extremely tiny tolerance, it will slow production down and going to be very expensive.