Didn't have any PK-1 on hand, I admit. The PK-3 happens to be the paste I have on hand that I know is pump-out resistant.I actually used Prolimatech PK-1, easier to spread.
Card does not "overheat" or throttle, it is just the way it runs. It is still inside its spec clock speeds. Still blazingly fast.
I did not notice anything out of the ordinary on the coldplate, and I cleaned it with a plastic razor blade. I also used the razor on the GPU, which all seemed to be about as flat as it could get.
If anything, looking at the TIM footprint, the MCD might be the tiniest bit lower than the GCDs. But again, the repaste made no difference and I think if there were a significant issue the repaste would have highlighted it.
But like I started with, I am not having any throttling issues with the card. So whatever, not going to spend any more time with it.
The thing in my case is that I am dropping below the rated 2300 MHz game clock under sustained load (about 2100-2200 MHz at stock memory clocks, with further losses if memory is OCed) because of the hotspot temps, which makes it feel like I'm definitely not getting all the performance I paid for, and by the time you factor in $200+ for a waterblock, that's squarely in RTX 4080 range.
Is it still fast? Yes! But it feels like I'm losing 10% performance compared to what I could be getting if it wasn't thermally throttling, and I don't need to be losing any more performance in VR than I already am by going AMD instead of NVIDIA.