I recently upgraded my desktop with an AMD Ryzen 7950X3D and 64GB DDR5 RAM (6000 MHz) to push the performance for both productivity and gaming on par with the Nvidia 4090 FE that I got earlier this year. The system sits in a Sliger SV540 - I fell in love with this mini itx case a while ago and it wasn't an option to get a bigger case as I travel and use it in different locations. After installing all components on my new [ASUS ROG STRIX X670E-I GAMING WIFI](https://rog.asus.com/motherboards/rog-strix/rog-strix-x670e-i-gaming-wifi-model/) and doing the initial config (bios update + config, driver updates , fan curves, cpu+gpu undervolting, etc) to ensure everything runs smooth I realized unusually high chipset temperatures sometimes passing 100°C during stress tests. In one test this even affected the primary M2 drive (wd black sn850 4tb) as temps passed 90°C and the drive stopped working temporarily after throwing a blue screen. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/r1F4b6_4T.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/r1F4b6_4T.jpg) This post explains measures on software and hardware level (X670E thermal pad + copper shim mod) that helped me to solve these issues. The system now runs very reliable. Results may be way better for Micro-ATX and ATX builds especially due to additional case fans that you can install. ## Improving Temps of X670E Chipsets While digging deeper into the matter, I learned that the X670E chipset can have thermal problems depending on various factors. There are several ways to improve the situation and especially for a low volume case it requires a mix of various things to tackle this. Also I use two M2 drives which - combined with the hardware mentioned above - is quite challenging for the AM5 chipset as both are located directly above the chipset. But lets explore what can be done to reduce temps: 1. In advanced Power Options (in Windows) go to PCI Express/Link State Power Management and select moderate or maximum power savings to lower temperatures. For me at max setting the wifi + ethernet modules stopped working properly resulting in latency and disconnects. I temporarily used an external USB wifi card + ethernet card on max saving but in the end I didn't want to compromise. After executing the guide below I turned this setting off. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ryJrAg5NT.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ryJrAg5NT.jpg) 2. Lower your BIOS PCH voltages. For me 1.07V instead of 1.08V chipset voltage runs stable. You find the setting at Ai Tweaker > Tweaker's Paradise > Chipset 1.05V. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HkBkTgcVp.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HkBkTgcVp.jpg) I also undervolted CPU and RAM and adjusted all cores by negative 25 using the PBO (Precision Boost Overdrive) curve optimizer. To find these settings open the Ai Tweaker section and scroll down. There are various tutorials on the PBO topic but I couldn't find a lot about the voltages. The following values are stable for me: - VDDSOC down from 1.235V to 1.15V - VDDIO/MC down from 1.4V to 1.2V - DRAM VDD down from 1.4V to 1.3V - DRAM VDDQ down from 1.4V to 1.3V [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/BkG9T4AE6.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/BkG9T4AE6.jpg) 3. Optimize the airflow to reduce temperatures across the case. This is hard for me as my Sliger SV540 case doesn't allow me to install additional fans beyond the 280mm AIO which primarily cools the CPU. To navigate this I moved my CPU fan curve a bit left (20% / 50°C, 35% / 57°C, 80% / 62°C) so that the fans spin earlier during load. This turned out to be totally fine as the 4090 is going to make some noise anyways. During idle the CPU fans sit at 20-30%. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/Hkyf2l5Np.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/Hkyf2l5Np.jpg) 4. Download [Fan Control](https://getfancontrol.com/) and create a custom curve based on the temperature of your primary M2 as it doesn't allow you to select the chipset sensor. The curve is configured with 30% base spin on idle till 74°C and a second anchor at 85°C with 69% speed. For me this is the perfect balance between noise and temperature, which also ensures that the WD Black M2 doesn't cross 79°C as it throttles from 81°C. Temps of my secondary M2 (Samsung 980 Pro) are 12°C lower. The VRM fan is disabled via bios as it is too loud and VRM temp is max 70°C on load. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/r1xvKxqNp.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/r1xvKxqNp.jpg) 5. Don't forget to undervolt your GPU via MSI Afterburner to further lower the overall temps in the case. My 4090 runs stable with 2730 MHz at 950 mV (+1337 memclock) pulling 376 watts max which further reduces the temperature of the system. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ByoEEqcVa.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ByoEEqcVa.jpg) 6. Replace the thermal pad with a good quality 1.5mm pad or combine a 0.5mm pad plus 0.5mm copper shim for improved thermals. Keep in mind that this can potentially result in warranty issues. This a great, but time consuming and higher risk approach. This is the most complex step but it helped me a lot. In this guide I'll cover the execution of the mod step-by-step. I hope that future chipset drivers or bios firmwares will help to tackle the high temperatures of the X670E chipset but as you see it is certainly possible to improve the situation as of today. For my computer the combination of all points above result in my chipset temp maxing out at 89.1°C in Port Royal when stressed via multiple sessions. Temps across the rest of the system are great. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ry-FOwi4T.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ry-FOwi4T.jpg) The chipset temp goes up to 86°C when playing maxed out Cyberpunk with Path Tracing / Ray Reconstruction. Chipset temperature hovers around 75°C while browsing and doing regular multi-tasking things. Before idle temps with disabled pcie energy saving crawled up to 85° and the only way to prevent this was to enable savings, resulting in unstable onboard wifi and ethernet. ## Guide: Copper Shim + Thermal Pad Mod I couldn't find any tutorial online on how to execute thermal pad / copper shim modification for this board so I decided to document the whole procedure for the ASUS ROG STRIX X670E-I GAMING WIFI myself to help others tackling the issue. Similarly as thermal pads, copper shims can be used to close gaps between chips and heatsinks. They have better thermal conductivity which usually results in lower temperatures. Compared to thermal pads, copper is extremely conductive which can short-circuit your board if done wrong. To realize this mod I purchased a [Gelid Ultimate 90x50x0.5mm](https://gelidsolutions.com/product/gp-ultimate-thermal-pad/) thermal pad, grabbed a few [20x20x0.5mm Copper Shims](https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B09STMCFCJ) and 1g [Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut paste](https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B07FLL3QDZ/). You also need ethanol or isopropyl to clean the chip and the heatsink before applying the pad and thermal paste. You can execute the entire procedure with a single cross-head screwdriver. Disclaimer: Since this mod involves disassemblying the parts of the device the way you shouldn't, I don't take any responsibility. But any curious person with adequate electronics repair experience could handle this mod easily. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S1ZQCoi7T.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S1ZQCoi7T.jpg) First you remove the board from the case. I kept the AIO connected to the CPU. Unscrew the top of the m2 headsink. Your secondary M2 is now visible. You can keep it mounted - just continue to remove the additional 3 screws. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SJnichiQ6.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SJnichiQ6.jpg) Your primary M2 is now visible. Flip the small grey lever to unlock it so that you can remove it to reveil the chipset heatsink. You have to remove this M2 otherwise the next step won't work. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rJwso3o76.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rJwso3o76.jpg) [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S10sshsQT.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S10sshsQT.jpg) Turn the board around and remove the 2 screws. Once this is done you can turn the board again. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/BJLrh3jQa.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/BJLrh3jQa.jpg) Carefully lift off the heatsink to unveil the chipset. As you turn the heatsink around you should see the original thermal pad sticking to it. You can remove it as the pad will be replaced by the mod. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SJwt33oQ6.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SJwt33oQ6.jpg) Clean the chip with ethanol/isopropyl using a q-tip and tissue paper. We don't want any remainders of the old thermal pad as we proceed with the mod. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HyJ7PaOE6.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HyJ7PaOE6.jpg) [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/Sk4HYauEp.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/Sk4HYauEp.jpg) Cut the thermal pad to size: Place your copper shim on top of the pad and use scissors or a box cutter knife to cut along the side of the shim. Don't forget to remove the plastic on both sides of the thermal pad. The first image shows me lifting up one side, you can peel off the other side after you've cut it in shape. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SyUhtTuEa.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SyUhtTuEa.jpg) [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SkhUcTdVa.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/SkhUcTdVa.jpg) Place the thermal pad + copper shim on the chipset. Double check that you really removed the plastic on both sides of the thermal pad before you put the pad on top of the chipset. You don't want the chipset to melt it away which would result in a huge mess. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HykhoT_46.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/HykhoT_46.jpg) Put some thermal paste across the elevated area of the heatsink which is going to contact the copper shim. You can now put the heatsink back on the chipset. Once it slided into the m2 connector, you can lift up the board and carefully put in the 2 screws. Do not tighten them with force as this can invoke damage on the chipset. Screw slowly and stop as you feel resistance. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rkeiY3pOVp.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rkeiY3pOVp.jpg) From here you can follow this step-by-step guide in reverse to re-assamble. Scroll up till you see the following image and go from there. I hope the insights around the modifications helps you to improve the thermal situation of your board. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S10sshsQT.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/S10sshsQT.jpg) ## Previously: Fails and Bad Results Below you find documentation of previous attempts to improve thermals. Took me a total of four disassemblies/reassemblies until I finally got satisfying results (the tutorial you've read above) but I think it makes sense to share and comment on these other insights aswell so that you don't have to go through the same struggle. Btw: Don't get confused about the visual thickness of the copper in the guide above. All photos were captured during the previous try using a 1mm copper shim - the process looks exactly the same with the 0.5mm shim. ### 2mm / 1.5mm Gelid Thermal Pads I originally started with a simple thermal pad replacement. First with a 2mm pad and then with a 1.5mm pad which turned out to be thick enough. But none of the two options prevented my temps going past 90°C which is why I decided to get copper shims. Maybe a pad replacement is good enough for your system - its a bit simpler than modding with pad + shim + paste. Make sure to clean the chip and the heatsink with ethanol/isopropyl before you place the pad. Do not remove the plastic from the thermal pad yet. Cut the Gelid thermal pad to the correct size using scissors or a box cutter, remove one side of the plastic and place it on the same spot where the old one sat with the unveiled side facing to the heatsink. Put some pressure on it so that it sticks to the heatsink and remove the other plastic from the pad. Grab the heatsink and carefully place it back on the chipset so that the M2 connector slides into the board. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rk_B2kKNT.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/rk_B2kKNT.jpg) Turn the board around while holding the heatsink and tighten the screws firmly. Thats it - you can now reassemble your board. ### 1mm Copper Shim + 0.5mm Thermal Pad In the first "copper shim try" I used [1mm shims](https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B08FJ8X9T4/) which turned out to be too thick. After getting higher or at least the same temperature as I had with the simple thermal pad replacement I disassembled the board and digged up the issue. When I saw the "stamped out" area I was like WTF but also felt lucky that I didn't break the chipset. I'm pretty sure that I didn't tighten the screws too much but not 100% sure. Anyways it was clear to me that I had to use a thinner shim. Good thing that I ordered both variations right away as I wasn't really sure which one I would need. [<img src="https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ryh_AyY4a.jpg"/>](https://hackmd.io/_uploads/ryh_AyY4a.jpg) ## Hope You Enjoyed Reading If you have any questions feel free to ask them via [r/sffpc](https://www.reddit.com/r/sffpc/comments/1805m3x/guide_thermal_pad_copper_shim_mod_chipset_temp/) on Reddit. I will try to answer them and update this post accordingly so that others can save their time and energy.