Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Heatspreaders: What difference do they make?

  1. #1
    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    14,270
    Thanks
    286
    Thanked
    831 times in 470 posts

    Heatspreaders: What difference do they make?

    For the last few years, RAM, particularly that at the enthusiast end of the spectrum, has featured heat spreaders. The question being posed by many is whether they actually do anything.
    http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=4620
    PHP Code:
    $s = new signature();
    $s->sarcasm()->intellect()->font('Courier New')->display(); 

  2. #2
    Registered+
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    I think we've known this for a while. And considering it's an internal test, it's not necessarily perfectly unbiased, I wouldn't say. It certainly doesn't have statistically significant resultant benefits.

    Despite this, I bought (cheap) RAM modules with heatspreaders for two reasons.

    1. They look better, nice coloured metal bits always looks better.
    2. They're easier to fit and play with when they have a protective covering, I don't worry about breaking the thing.

  3. #3
    Nox
    Nox is offline
    Vorsprung durch Technik
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    2,023
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked
    2 times in 2 posts
    • Nox's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Yes
      • CPU:
      • Yes
      • Memory:
      • Yes
      • Storage:
      • Yes
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Yes
      • PSU:
      • Yes
      • Case:
      • Yes
      • Monitor(s):
      • Yes
      • Internet:
      • Yes
    I would consider OCZ and Corsair to be competitors, if I owned a company, I would never allow a press release saying our competitor was atleast as good as us. So I would take anything , other than a truly independant review, with a pinch of salt.

    That said, heat spreaders in general have been shown to provide some performance gain, I can understand this - they will have a larger surface area/chip. And they do look a lot better/safer.

    The only thing I have against them, is they remove the fragility feeling of ram modules meaning they now feel so safe that you THINK you can throw them across the room and and jump up and down on them they will still work. When obviously they probably won't. But I don't play tennis with my modules, just look at them in my motherboard, so all is happy.

    Nox

  4. #4
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Aberdeen
    Posts
    3,280
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked
    88 times in 83 posts
    • arthurleung's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5E (Rampage Formula 0902)
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core2Quad Q9550 3.6Ghz 1.2V
      • Memory:
      • A-Data DDR2-800 2x2GB CL4
      • Storage:
      • 4x1TB WD1000FYPS @ RAID5 3Ware 9500S-8 / 3x 1TB Samsung Ecogreen F2
      • Graphics card(s):
      • GeCube HD4870 512MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair VX450
      • Case:
      • Antec P180
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Server 2008 Standard
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell Ultrasharp 2709W + 2001FP
      • Internet:
      • Be*Unlimited 20Mbps
    Since heatspreaders doesn't actually touch the chip, but relying on the heat-conducting adhesive tape... If you're not stressing the ram it can reduce thermal stress of the ram, but if you're pushing the ram real hard (i.e. 3.3V or DDR600 kind of stuff) And the thermal gradient of the adhesive tape just hinder cooling so much....The chips may be at 60'C and the heatspreader is only 45'C...Blowing a 12cm fan wouldn't help... Thats why many G.Skill modules didn't come with a heat spreader...
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
    Workstation 2: Intel C2Q Q9550 @ 3.6Ghz / X38 / 4GB DDR2-800 / 8400GS 512MB / Open Air
    Workstation 3: Intel Xeon X3350 @ 3.2Ghz / P35 / 4GB DDR2-800 / HD4770 512MB / Shuttle SP35P2
    HTPC: AMD Athlon X4 620 @ 2.6Ghz / 780G / 4GB DDR2-1000 / Antec Mini P180 White
    Mobile Workstation: Intel C2D T8300 @ 2.4Ghz / GM965 / 3GB DDR2-667 / DELL Inspiron 1525 / 6+6+9 Cell Battery

    Display (Monitor): DELL Ultrasharp 2709W + DELL Ultrasharp 2001FP
    Display (Projector): Epson TW-3500 1080p
    Speakers: Creative Megaworks THX550 5.1
    Headphones: Etymotic hf2 / Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pro

    Storage: 8x2TB Hitachi @ DELL PERC 6/i RAID6 / 13TB Non-RAID Across 12 HDDs
    Consoles: PS3 Slim 120GB / Xbox 360 Arcade 20GB / PS2

  5. #5
    Corsair Representative Redbeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    1 time in 1 post
    Full disclosure, I work for Corsair, so you can say that I'm biased now and yell mean things at me if you'd like.

    How would air provide better thermal transfer than even heat tape?

    Almost any material that contacts the IC conducts heat away from it better than air could.

    It's the same principle with a CPU. If you have a hot processor, you wouldn't just throw a high speed fan on it and hope that worked, right? You'd put a heatsink on it first to provide more surface area. Once that was done, the fan is working in conjunction with the heatsink to move heat away from the cpu and into the air in a much more efficient manner.

    Since heatspreaders work in a similar (yet not identical) way, the theory stands that regardless of the manner of adhesive, a heatspreader should be more effective than no heatspreader. I can't say why G.Skill don't include heatspreaders on some of their older modules, but you'll notice many of their newer modules do.

    Of course, as implied by their name, the heatspreader just takes heat from each individual IC and spreads all that heat out over a larger surface area to facilitate in cooling. As mentioned in the article, much of the IC heat is actually transferred through the pins and into the ground plane of the PCB, so there's only so much a standard heatspreader can do.

  6. #6
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    30,419
    Thanks
    1,724
    Thanked
    3,193 times in 2,578 posts
    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra
      • CPU:
      • Intel i9 9900k
      • Memory:
      • 32GB DDR4 3200 CL16
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Samsung 970Evo+ NVMe
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • rubbish
    Yes please - I would love Hexus to do some proper analysis on this kind of thing.

    Personally I think no heatspreaders at all would be best in terms of temperature. Yes you transfer heat away for short while, but then you immediately store the heat in the heatspreader capacity which would then stop further transfer away from the chip. Most spreaders are smooth and shiney, and I can't believe the heat transfer from this kind of surface to air would be higher than from non-heatspread-covered sticks.

    However, heatspreaders do look cool, and it's something you can feel good about paying extra money for, which is completely what the ram market is all about. That's being cashed in on more and more these days which is why newer g.skill sticks have them, and why companies like Corsair and OCZ use heatspreaders as a marketing thing.

    The added protection while handling is also a bonus.
    Last edited by kalniel; 09-02-2006 at 10:23 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered+
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    Heatspredders exist because RDRAM requires them, since in RDRAM the heat produced is not constant over the chips, and one can get very hot while the others are cold. That is the only thing they do, spread heat. in DDR SDRAM though, the heat is constant throughout the chip, so very little benefit is gained by spreading it out.

    http://www.dansdata.com/gz006.htm

  8. #8
    If your 5555... Swafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Then I'm...
    Posts
    6,666
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    Thats correct I think thats why there used, they will help DDR ram, but it will be minimal, as said the heat will be spread over a wider area, making it easier for the air in the case to cool, so they will cool quicker than normal, but it will only be a minimal amount quicker, and will have no real effect. Buy them cos they look cool, I think thats why most people get them, I remember my mate with RDRAM with blueheatspreaders calling it 'spaceship ram'
    Quote Originally Posted by Knoxville
    As I find big muff's to be a bit of an aquired taste
    AMD Athlon 4400X2 @ 2.565PenisextentionMhz
    Dual Layer, Gold Plated, LED Power,Dual Golden OMG IT MAKES MY CodPiece BIGGER 1-1-1-1 DDR62.3 @ 1222.3433Mhz
    5 X 400GB Porn Array
    X1800XT Dildo enchanged 3D Version, 512MegaLongJohn
    Oh, did I mention.....I like sheep.....


    WWW.MrsBurley.CO.UK
    now updated

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    174
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    And, yet again we see companies (memory) using heatspreaders as another selling tool (some come in "platinum" finish, some with temp indicators, some even with led's !!!), but I doubt that they functionally provide an advantage :-)
    Just my tuppenth worth !
    C2Q6600 @ 3.15GHz
    ThermalTake MiniType90
    EVGA 680SLI
    4GB OCZ Reaper 1066MHz @ 1000 4,4,4,15
    EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
    Raptor 150GB
    NEC ND4550 16x16 DVD±RW
    Coolermaster 850W x3 12V
    Antec P180

    Custom built by $aunder$


  10. #10
    Senior Member FatalSaviour's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    London/Oxford/York
    Posts
    1,876
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked
    12 times in 11 posts
    • FatalSaviour's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI P55-GD80
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 860
      • Memory:
      • 4x2GB GEiL PC17000
      • Storage:
      • 3x1000GB, 2x500GB (RAID1), 1x2TB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • GTX 470
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX700
      • Case:
      • Antec P180
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311, Dell 2005FPW
      • Internet:
      • VM 30Mb
    Quote Originally Posted by madwelshboy
    And, yet again we see companies (memory) using heatspreaders as another selling tool (some come in "platinum" finish, some with temp indicators, some even with led's !!!), but I doubt that they functionally provide an advantage :-)
    Just my tuppenth worth !
    It does make you feel slightly better about handling your £200 worth of high performance modules... Meh.....who worries about static anyway?

  11. #11
    Shunned from CS:S Trippledence's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Exeter Uni/Truro Cornwall
    Posts
    1,848
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    1 time in 1 post
    My TwinMos ram didnt come with heatspreaders, but I wasnt to botherd as the price was more important at the time. At the end of the day, if a company will garentee its ram to a voltage, and speed as as consiquence, thats much more of a selling point.

    That aside, heatspreaders are nice looking, theres no bones about that.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ExceededGoku's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Posts
    1,578
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked
    1 time in 1 post
    Yes the reason I buy memory with heatspreaders is because they are sooo much easier to use, they give you a better hold on the module and so its easier to slot them into the dimm slots. And they make you look like you've spent more money (which is usually the case :S)- bragging rights

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Banana plugs/speaker wire confusion
    By Marcos in forum Consumer Electronics
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 24-04-2005, 12:35 PM
  2. The little things in life that make you strangely pleased
    By megah0 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 17-04-2005, 03:33 AM
  3. Does more RAM make a significant difference?
    By Matt1eD in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 15-04-2005, 03:16 PM
  4. Things that make you feel like a man.
    By MasterFlash in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 31-03-2005, 10:12 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •