Do Memory Heat Spreaders Make A Difference?

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Heat Spreader Test Results

The maximum overclocking results are shown in the following table:

Memory Heat Spreader Testing Results

As expected, all heat spreader types provided an improvement of a few MHz over the same module with no heat spreader applied. Within the heat spreader results, the XMS PRO provided a small performance gain over the XMS and Mesh heat spreaders. This is the result that we expected to see; the additional surface area provided by the larger heat spreader would naturally be expected to dissipate a nominal amount of additional heat.

The XMS and Mesh heat spreaders performed identically in our tests. We suspect that the additional surface area of the Mesh and the additional conductive surface and mass of the stamped XMS heat spreader approximately cancel each other out, and provide the same end result.


It was clear from the tests that the use of a heat spreader on the module increases overclockability in all cases. The XMS Pro provided the highest overclock; we believe this is due to the increased surface area provided by its increased size and ridged design. The Mesh heatspreader and the stock Corsair XMS Platinum heatspreader performed identically. One can conjecture that the additional surface area provided by the mesh approximately compensates for the reduction of the mass of the heat spreader.

Is this test the final word? Of course not. This was just a small test done to identify worst-case scenario of heat on memory ICs. Clearly, the vast majority of users don?t pump 3.4 volts to their memory, and the amount of heat produced by memory at the stock voltage of 2.6 or even 2.8 would be considerably lower, possibly making a difference in performance.

It really comes down to an issue of aesthetics at this point. If you like the look of one, it doesn?t seem to perform any better or worse than any other heatspreader., Perhaps the cast aluminum heat spreader is slightly better, or perhaps we got lucky. It mainly comes down to which appeals to you more – of course, WE know which one?s WE like!.

Legit Reviews Comments — 

We found it interesting that Corsair took the time to write something up like this, but it is a topic that is talked about by many enthusiasts today.  I personally found the no heat spreader results the most interesting.  Many still believe that running modules with no heat spreaders is the way to go, but after seeing Corsair’s testing results one should think twice before removing the heat spreaders.  We also talked to Corsair about why they didn’t include more heat spreaders in their testing.  Personally I’d like to see how the new Mushkin FrostByte Heat Spreaders do as they came out long before the OCZ XTC Heat Spreaders.  (History lesson – Mushkin was the first company to put heat spreaders on their memory.  It was on their PC-150 line back it 2001)

To be fair to OCZ Technology we let them comment on Corsair’s Tech Notes since their modules were included.

OCZ’s Official Comments —

“It is our policy to devote our resources to engineering superior products for enthusiasts, not address what competitors are doing to the press community,” stated Ryan Peterson, CEO, OCZ Technology, Inc. ?We will continue to focus our efforts on constantly improving our own products to fulfill the true needs of our customers.”

?OCZ is all about finding ways to introduce better solutions for consumers that demand the highest level of performance? said Alex Mei, VP of Marketing, OCZ Technology, Inc. ?Rather than rely on our own internal testing we prefer to let the product speak for itself, and numerous independent media reviewers have already found the XTC results very positive when it comes to cooling.?

We also got a comment form Mushkin that we thought was worth including!

Mushkin’s Official Comments —

“Just remember who started this heatsink stuff” – Mushkin

Enough said! We hope you liked this look at heat spreaders and how we got comments from Corsair, OCZ, and Mushkin for this article.  Please feel free to post your thoughts on the forums and let the memory companies know what you think of heat spreaders in general.

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