I wish I'd done some temperature benchmarking beforehand, but instead sourced the community to help out. Check out the various results on XDA... there are also results from two TF700 owners (in Europe) who were gracious enough to help me out.
First, it seems clear that my mod really didn't mitigate the heat issue enough... so don't bother.
Second, comparing the numbers between other A700's and the TF700... well, I'll let you draw your own conclusion on that one. :(
As many of you have experienced, the A700 can get very hot under certain conditions. Mine got extremely hot to the touch after just an hour of gaming (Heavy Gunner, NFL Flick QB, and Cut the Rope), and crashed 2 or 3 times.
Well I decided to do something about it. Reading through the Service Guide (thank you paugustin!!!) & A700 teardown photos from another site, I came to some conclusions. First, from the looks of things, the back panel has some kind of metal plate lining, and 3 "pads" that closed the gap between the metal plate and several surfaces of the mainboard. My hope was that these pads were not simply foam pads but were actual thermal pads. I guessed that a bit of thermal paste might help the efficiency of those thermal pads... and if I got really ambitious, I could replace the thermal pads with larger ones (and paste those too).
I followed the instructions in the Service Guide & opened up my A700 earlier tonight. I'm pleased to report that as long as you take your time, it's super easy to open up.
And lo and behold, my conclusions were accurate... the back plate is copper and the pads were thermal pads!
Closer Look @ the Thermal Pads:
I took some CPU thermal paste I had lying around & dabbed some on:
Afterwards, I slapped everything back together, fired up NFL Flick QB and played for a half hour. I'm pleased to report that the A700 got warm but nowhere near as hot as it did in my prior gaming session. The "level of warmth" was what I'd consider mildly warm, comparable to my fiancee's iPad3, so definitely within reasonable tolerances.
I still intend to put the A700 through some more intense gaming tomorrow, but I wanted to write this post up and share it with everyone first. Hope folks find this useful and insightful!