This is the original cooler I tested (the first sample I received) and let's just say there were some issues to work out. So with the second application of paste still fresh and the cooler warm from testing, I hurried to remove the cooler to verify the TIM was spreading evenly. As you can see I got about 97% contact with the CPU, but you can tell that the paste on this side of the Vapor Chamber is much thicker than it is on the other side of the base.
Since my initial testing results were not that good at all I looked into what was causing the TIM to be so unlevel after testing and to see why the temperatures were so high in my first sample. In the end what I found was causing the issue was the lack of really looking at the base before I installed the cooler. Once I got the base under some better lighting I found four raised spots in the base, protrusions that are higher than the rest of the material. Since I cannot take apart the Vapor Chamber to see if these are supports to keep the components correctly spaced, something happened to poke an object through the copper at the bottom. The four arrows point out the defect that made the cooler actually "lift" off of the IHS producing the poor results I got in testing.
Here we are now a few months later and I got a cooler that looks promising. As you can see the sticker has some air pockets in it, and I was sort of taken back at first thinking I had received a similar cooler with a dysfunctional base again. After closer examination, the previous issue I had is no longer visible.
What I found with the new cooler was that the base is very level on this sample over the majority of this surface. There are some minor defects and small dents, but nothing like what I saw on the first one. In the end I was able to drop the CPU temperature from the initial coolers results of 80 degrees, down a full seven degrees to make the Vapor-X a true contender instead of the disappointment I had with the first cooler.
Sapphire either fixed the issue, or we just got a bad early first sample.