6970 stock heatsink thermal pads


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My son has an ageing 6970 in his computer currently, the average gpu temp has been steadily increasing for the past while so i figured it was time to replace the TIM on the GPU. When I pulled the HS off I discovered not only nasty dried out TIM, but the thermal pads on the ram and VRMs had basically disintegrated.

Anyway, does anyone happen to know the thickness of the stock thermal pads? I tried measuring one of the pads with a vernier caliper, I am guessing .5mm but not sure that is going to be thick enough for the VRMs.
That seems to be more or less what i am finding online. Not sure now if I want to replace the pads or just get an after market cooler for it.
Is it really worth going to the expense of buying an aftermarket cooler? 6970 is an old card. You might be able to purchase a replacement for not much more than an aftermarket cooler would cost you. 6970 is even pre-GCN so it doesn't stand to benefit from AMD's performance in DX12 titles. It might just be time for an upgrade?
I have been considering just replacing the card, but don't really want to put out the cash right now. Got the replacement thermal pads ordered.

Edit: how does a RX460 compare performance wise to the 6970?
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According to FireStrike, a 460 will give you twice the framerate as a 6970.
But the 460 is half the performance of the 480...