Review of the Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut: It works, but it's not better

Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut is a carbon thermal pad intended to replace thermal paste between processor or graphics card and its heatsink.

Thermal pads sound nice in theory and not too long ago there was some hype around IC Graphite thermal pads. There is no mess, no danger of dropping some thermal paste into the cpu socket or some other sensitive area. And the Carbonaut pad promises to not get old, unlike thermal paste, which you have to replace after a while.


The Carbonaut pads can be bought in multiple sizes, e.g. 31×25 mm fitting for a RTX 2080 Ti. But since the RX 580 with its ~17×13 mm gpu die is not a target size yet I had to cut it to its proper size. I bought the bigger TR4 edition to be able to test the pad in two scenarios: First on the processor, then on the graphics card. The processor is an Intel Core i5-5675C, a perfect scenario for the pad: The i5 runs cool and is not overclocked, the used Corsair H90 AIO cooler quite powerful. If the Carbonaut pad does not work here it would be basically useless. The graphics card is a Radeon RX 580 with the Rajintek Morpheus II cooler reviewed earlier, it’s a more extreme scenario in terms of heat to handle and complicatedness of installation. Both used a cheap thermal paste in the tests before applying the pad – because that’s the real competition here, not more expensive high end thermal paste targeting overclockers.


The Carbonaut pad arrived in a plastic bag like the ones Thermal Grizzly uses to send out their thermal paste. A small manual explains the installation (have it in the correct size, place it between thing to cool and heatsink, take care to not cause a short, it’s reuseable), the pad itself is inside a second cover. Mine was not installed properly in there, but at least that picture (the first used in this review) shows well how slim it actually is. At that point I was skeptical: Can something so flimsy actually be installed without breaking it?

The Processor test

Cutting the pad proved indeed to be difficult. It is easy to cut the very lightweight canvas-like surface, that’s not the issue. But sizing it properly, putting it on the processor without letting it touch remains of thermal paste and then not having a way to set size markers turned out to be a complicated process. The result of my throwback to Kindergarden was fine though, without wasting too much material I got the size about right, the whole integrated heatspreader (ihs) got covered.


Before the installation, with the cheap thermal paste, the processor did already run fine. In a 10 minute stress test (under Linux with s-tui) it showed this heat profile:


59°C, a stable 3.5 GHz, which is the multi core max load of that processor. At the end you can see ~30 seconds of idle time, when the temperature moved down very fast.

With the Carbonaut pad installed not much changed:


57°C, again a stable 3.5 GHz and the temperature moved equally fast up and down.

That’s a success! To match the performance of (albeit cheap) thermal paste was not at all excpected for the Carbonaut pad, because historically, those pads always were so much worse. But in this scenario this new kind of thermal pad worked perfectly fine. It was harder to install than thermal paste, but had I bought it precut in the size of this processor that first step would have been much easier.

The Graphics card test

The RX 580 with the Morpheus aftermarket cooler was a different story and it started with the installation. It was just much more difficult. On top of the annoying first step of having to cut the very delicate fabric, the screws to connect the heatsink to the gpu go into the back of the gpu. So you have to place the thermal pad, place the heatsink on top of it, move it 180°, maybe add the second backplate and during all of that not move the heatsink/gpu at all – because if you do, you have no idea whether the thermal pad still covers the gpu die, and in the worst case even this might happen:


Because of the force applied during the installation the pad ripped apart, which I noticed since I had to repeat the installation because a smaller heatsink glued to the VRM fell off.

That’s really not nice, because you can’t be sure that the pad is placed properly. Unlike in the processor scenario, where good performance confirmed that. Because performance just was not great either.

The cheap thermal paste was already not perfect. During a benchmark of Witcher 3 the gpu reached a high temperature very fast, though in this short test it did not throttle:


With the pad temps at first looked great:


But after some time throttling was observable and the temperature did not stay that good:


Now, sure: Air flow is very important here and it’s possible that’s the main issue. But it’s just not a success. In this scenario, the Carbonaut pad primarily proved too hard to install and only secondary did not reach the performance I was hoping for; I’ll confirm at a later date whether that expectation was reasonable and edit this review accordingly.

The idea of never having to replace the thermal interface again is very appealing especially for the graphics card, where high usage and high temps are not kind to thermal paste longevity. Instead of getting that I now can’t even be sure whether the thermal pad installed was not damaged during the installation. Frankly, good thermal paste would be way better here. Performance should be better, some pastes would handle the heat fine for a long time and the installation is a lot easier.


Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut works and it can be a valid option for PC builders. But its usefulness really depends on the scenario. I’d only recommend it if:

  1. it comes in the size of the processor ihs/gpu die,
  2. good thermal paste is not already applied,
  3. the heatsink can be installed without having to turn the gpu around,
  4. what you want to use it on does not produce too much heat.

And those are a lot of requirements. Too many. The default sizes, made for two types of gpus (RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Ti), modern Intel and AMD Threadripper processors might just not cover what you want to cool with it and I really recommend against cutting it to the size you need manually. It’s just not worth it if you could use thermal paste instead. Which you’d also get if you really want to overclock or if the installation process of your cooler is complicated, like with basically all gpu air coolers.

But if you check all the boxes above the Carbonaut gives you a heat interface that does indeed work and that does not dry out. That’s nice and might be worth the price for you.

Review: The Antec P5 Mini

Assume you need a new case for an mATX motherboard and you want a case specifically for that board size, not a regular mid tower. You have lots of options. But then you also want to use your old AIO with a 140mm radiator. Suddenly you only have a few options, but known good ones like the Fractal Design Meshify C Mini or the Fractal Design Define Mini C. But if you then also want a 5.25” slot — and be it for storing your HDD with a hard disk silencer and cooler like the Alpenföhn Alptunnel — then suddenly you are almost out of options. All the well reviewed cases fall away. One remaining choice and actually a nice case is the Antec P5 Mini, one I will review here today.


The main features

The Antec P5 Mini is a modern mATX case. With modern I mean the style and the layout: It has the slick black box style popular with the Fractal Design cases and an interior layout without a hard disk cage. The psu gets installed at the bottom with the fan being able to point down, there is a cut out (with dust filter) to let it pull in air. The power and the reset button sit at the top of the case, together with two USB slots and the audio output. Prominent is the white power LED encircling the power button, the other design element are the feet being metallic instead of black. Though the front is also not just black, it has some structure that makes it seem wood-like at first glance.

Thanks to not having a hdd cage it supports gpus with a length up to 360mm, the cpu cooler can be 155mm high.

Main differentiator to other mATX cases is the radiator support, while still having a 5.25” slot above. At the front there is space for two 120mm fans or even a 240mm radiator, with fan holes to install one 140mm fan with out without radiator instead. The small hard disk cage at the bottom is placed appropriately far away to let space for radiator and fans. The only other fan that can be installed is a 120mm fan at the back of the case.

H90 with fan installed at the front as intake

The P5 Mini has noise isolation foam already installed. That noise isolation actually works, there is an audible difference for example when opening the hinged front panel. But the bitumen foam installed here seems to me less effective than the aftermarket noise isolation foam sold by the german vendor caseking I use in a different case. Still, it’s a nice addition and the P5 Mini is not noisy, I had no issues with vibrations and I can not hear the AIO pump or coil whine from psu or gpu when sitting next to it.

It helps that the two pre-installed fans are not bad. They are not great either and only have three pins, but they will work for you if silence is not the absolute top priority. If it is you want to install more expensive silent case fans instead.

Air flow was my big concern. After all it supports way less fans than the typical mid-ATX tower. To make matters worse, the air holes at the side of the front panel are mostly just decoration: Only the lower area is perforated completely, the upper part covered by plastic. This will help reduce the noise that can pass at the front, but it lowers air flow. Because of this I wouldn’t recommend running a 300W gpu and an overclocked Threadripper in this case, but for regular consumer hardware the thermal performance was surprisingly decent, with no overheating issues whatsoever.

P5 Mini with hardware installed

It might be that the noise isolation foam helps here and its subjective, but the P5 feels sturdy. The way the side panels don’t flex too much, how the feet are installed, how the front panel moves and how well the mechanism to remove the front dust filter works: There is some quality here that makes me like the case. It’s also not flashy at all, there is no window and there are no RGB LEDs, characteristics I quite like. That the case is not a premium case is evident mainly because of its flaws we will cover now.

Easy removable dustfilter

The Flaws

I already mentioned the fans not being PWM models, which would be a prerequisite for a higher price point (or the integration of a fan hub, like Phantek does). But also apart from that not everything is perfect: The dust filter at the front can easily be removed, the one at the bottom is less easy to reach. The two upper PCI-E slots are installed with a screw, as they should be, but the other two would have to be removed with force. Proper replacements come with the box, but they should be pre-installed. The power button at the top had two small flaws in the coating — not something you’d return the case for, but it should be mentioned here, as it point to quality control issues.

Breakout pci-e covers

Two 3.5” HDDs fit into the hard disk cage, there are also two 2.5” slots at the motherboard side of the cage and two at the back side. That’s nice and that way it supports more disk most people will ever need. But the two SSDs at the back need to be screwed in, a toolless installation mechanism would have been nicer. At least the placement is good and there are rubber pads to make sure the bottom of the disks do not touch the cases directly. The placement aligns well with the cable management features the case possesses. It would be more comfortable though if the case was one cm wider, making it easier to store power supply cables at the back side to make proper use of the cable management cutouts in the mainboard tray.

Back of the P5 Mini


The Antec P5 Mini is a good case. It has almost no competition if you want radiator support and a 5.25” slot in an mATX case, but even if you do not need that 5.25” slot the P5 Mini is a sound option, especially for the current price of ~50€. It looks nice, has a good layout and solid build quality, with only minor flaws like the PCI expansion slot covers and the two white spots in the coating of the power button (which might very well be specific to my model and not a common issue).

Part of the story here is that modern cases are just really good, even the basic OEM designs. As a buyer you mainly have to not buy a case with a really old layout, which is easy to spot: If the psu is at the top and the interior metallic, stay away. The modern standard instead features a lot of strengths: It supports long GPUs, intelligent HDD and SSD placement, cable management options and in general makes it easy to build in. The P5 Mini feels like a shrunk and partly improved version of that. It shares the strength of the modern default design, but also the flaws of the non-high-end price segment, including the design trend of the last ~2 years of closing the front; which looks nice and can minimize noise if it does not kill air flow completely. The P5 Mini seems to have succeeded in finding a valid compromise here. I’ll keep it.

Review of the Raijintek Morpheus II Core Edition: Big, cool, complicated

Did you ever want a quieter graphics card? Or did you have one that was running perfectly fine until a fan broke, making it overheat all the time? If you searched for a solution, you stumbled maybe already over the Raijintek Morpheus II Core Edition, its predecessors or one of the few alternatives.

The Morpheus II is an aftermarket gpu cooler. Its promise is that by replacing the regular gpu cooler with this very big heatsink and strapping two 120mm case fans on top of it you end up with a less hot and quieter graphics card. The fans you have to buy yourself, the idea is to use regular case fans. The cooler supports a TDP of 360W, which is a lot.

It is not cheap though. I bought it myself at caseking for 64.90€, in the US the best offer I see right now is for $67.99 at newegg.

The question is: Is it worth it?

To decide that I will show how I installed the cooler plus fans on a Sapphire Pulse RX 580, a card that was before that installation very loud and ran too hot. I measured temperature before and after, and made recordings of the noise difference.

A closer look

The Morpheus II Core Edition does not seem to differ much from the regular Morpheus II. It is black, that’s all, apart from that the content of the box seems to be the same.

There is for one the heatsink itself:


It is not small, but less heavy than I expected. For the gpu that is good news, a too heavy cooler can lead to gpu sag.

Additionally included is a manual, a bunch of small heatsinks with double sided tape, thermal paste, some screws, a metal holder for the screws at the back of the gpu, a slightly bigger VRM cooler plus fitting heatpads, metal brackets that act as connectors between gpu and heatsink as well as fitting coupling nuts, and metal brackets for the fan installation.


There is also black tape that the manual calls fan tape, I figured it goes between the fans and the heatsink and is meant to minimize the travel of vibrations, reducing noise.

What is missing from the box are the fans. The Morpheus II comes without fans, but it should definitely be combined with two of them to properly move the heat away from the heatsink and also to cool the VRM. I opted for two Arctic F12 PWM Rev 2 case fans. Those fans are not the strongest on the market, but one of the cheaper options. In my opinion they cool sufficiently well and stay quiet enough. Though I was not sure whether they would work well behind a heatsink like this.

I also had to buy a PWM Y-splitter, and a VGA PWM adapter cable to connect that splitter to the 4-pin fanslot of the gpu. That way the gpu can directly control the speed of the fans based on its temperature.


I should preface this section with a warning: The installation of this cooler takes time and is not easy. It is made harder than it needs to be by the manual, which is just very bad and incomplete. Removing the stock cooler will void the warranty, at least for most brands (exceptions are EVGA, XFX in the US, and also MSI claims to not void warranty when exchanging the cooler). Knowing that there most likely is no warranty in case something goes wrong will make the installation more stressful.


I started by removing the screws at the back of the gpu. That way the plastic shroud holding the fans can be removed, also the stock heatsink that normally sits below. The backplate can at this point be removed easily as well.


It was very hard to disconnect the fan cable, I had to use force to succeed here and was very worried that I just broke the fan header. But nothing bad did happen to it.


Doesn’t the bare card look unusual, without all the usual stuff around it?


The brackets that get screwed to the heatsink should be installed now. You see that there are several holes at the end, this is where the heatsink will be connected to the gpu later. Depending on the gpu a different combination of holes needs to be used then, for now just install the coupling nuts there.


Now the small heatsinks (sometimes also called heatspreaders) can be installed on top of the gpu. The manual is not very clear about where they have to be installed. It is a good idea to look at the original cooler for that: The Sapphire Pulse RX 580 for example has thermal pads on the heatsink where it will touch the Vram modules around the core of the card. Its heatsink also covers the VRM, again with thermalpads making the connection.


The small heatsinks can be glued with the included double sided (thermal) tape on top the Vram modules. Careful: Some of them need to be covered by the smaller heatsink or the Morpheus cooler will later not fit on the core.


One Vram block I even had to cover with some thermalpad and move the heatsink to the far side of the gpu core, otherwise the Morpheus heatsink would not have fit.

The mosfets of the VRM should be covered by the small VRM heatsink that comes with the box.


In the case of my RX 580 this does not work: The heatsink is just too long.


After realizing that no one sells a fitting VRM heatsink I used some of the smaller heatsinks instead and hoped for the best - the tape does not hold very strongly here, and it would have been better to use the provided VRM heatsink, as that one ought to connect to the Morpheus cooler later, transporting the heat more efficiently away.

At this point don’t forget to install the VGA to PWM adapter cable.

If Vram and VRM are properly covered the Morpheus II can be installed. First step is to apply thermal paste on the core. I used a different one than included because it was already open, the difference should not matter. Then I put the heatsink on the table and moved the gpu to the right position, so that the screws holding them together would fit into the bracket with the coupling nuts installed above.

But what about the backplate? The Morpheus comes with that metal X that can hold the heatsink to the gpu, like a mini-backplate. The manual makes no mention of what to do with the real backplate, according to the diagrams it just gets left off (or rather: never existed).


For the RX 580 Pulse I instead opted to use the metal X and the backplate together, with the backplate touching the gpu and the X coming on top of that. The screws that before hold the stock heatsink are longer than the screws that come with the Morpheus II, they were long enough to connect both the metal X and the backplate to the heatsink.


To prepare the fans for installation I glued the fan tape to the plastic bracket, where that would touch the heatsink later. I also put some between the two fans, to make sure they can’t produce noise by vibrating against each other.


Afterwards I put the fans on top of the heatsink… and then needed a moment to figure out how the metal brackets work. Again the manual is pretty hard to decipher, the images too small. The metal brackets work like a lever or a rocker, by pressing on the extruded part the parts closer to the heatsink can be pressed into a small gap in the middle of the heatsink. After understanding how that works it’s actually not hard, and the fans seemed to be properly installed afterwards. It’s a smart solution, similar to how Noctua coolers hold their fans, but a bit easier to install.


You end up with a strange looking gpu that looks like it has an oversized heatsink. Which is accurate, it really is big: While regular gpus use 2 or 2.5 PCI-E slots, a gpu with the Morpheus II and regular case fans installed will need 4. It is also longer than the card was before, only barely fitting into the case.

Noise and Temperature

The big cooler also had a big effect on noise and temperature. Listen yourself:

Recording before:

Recording with Morpheus:

That’s while playing Witcher 3 with the same fan curve.

I should have used a better microphone, but the difference is very clear: The regular cooler was louder than reasonable, louder than normal. The Morpheus II is the contrary, it is very very quiet. The noise it emits depends of course partly on the fans used, as they produce the noise. But it is to a big part the heatsink that defines how many RPM are needed and thus how loud the fans are. The fans can turn slowly if the heatsink is efficient and cools well.


Exactly that happens with the Morpheus. While before in Witcher 3 the card reached 77°C in the test case despite the fans running almost at max speed (like said, not completely normal behaviour) it now reached 57°C. That’s very good, good enough to change the fan curve and make the fans spin even slower and quieter.


The Raijintek Morpheus II Core Edition holds its promise: It is a very good cooler that can make a huge difference in terms of temperature and noise. It is way better than the stock cooler normally used with graphics cards. For an expensive card that would otherwise be too loud or too hot it is an excellent option.

There are drawbacks though. It is heavy (compared to the default coolers) and needs a lot of space. It is also expensive: ~70 USD or Euro plus the money needed for the two case fans and the cables to connect them, that easily adds up to 100 bucks. That’s a lot, and it makes the Morpheus unattractive when thinking about installing it on a new card. It will almost always be cheaper to get a better card instead that already comes with an acceptable cooler. Even if that cooler will not be as good as the Morpheus II.

But the biggest drawback is the manual.


I understand that this is not a product for beginners, someone new to building PCs hopefully won’t start his first build by ripping his gpu cooler off and trying to install a cooler like the Morpheus II. But even more experienced builder would profit from getting a better manual, with bigger diagrams that better explain how to install all the parts, and that also explains in detail which components of the gpu (like mosfets etc) should be cooled with a separate heatsink.

Compatibility is also problematic. Though it must be said that Raijintek never claimed it would work with a RX 480 or 580, also the RX 470 and RX 570 are not listed in the compatibility list. For Vega there is a specialized version. Issues like the VRM heatsink not fitting are less likely to occur when getting a card from a series that is officially supported. But if all needed to support those AMD cards is to add a smaller VRM heatsink and one very low Vram heatsink one has to wonder why those parts are not included already - at least optional, at an additional cost.

The Raijintek Morpheus II Core Edition can be worth it: Either if reducing noise is of the highest priority, or if a broken cooler has to be replaced. But as it is very big, quite expensive and not easy to install it is not for everybody.