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Lapping your heatsink?


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#1
L.Martofel

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While perusing several different computer parts retailers, I came across this. Now, I'm no expert in thermodynamics, but I do know a thing or two about heat and heat transfer. I understand that it is necessary to have as much contact with both surfaces for efficient heat transfer, but if you have 2 mirrored finishes, doesn't that diminish the use of a thermal paste? Now, with small grooves or light scratches in the surface, that gives something for the thermal paste to get into. It also increases surface area. Think about Souffle bowls for a minute. The really good ones are fluted to increase surface area. More surface area gives a better heat transfer. Now, I'm not saying that you should have gouges in your CPU/Heatsink, since thermal compound isn't as efficient as actual full on contact, but wouldn't teeny tiny scratches be a bit more beneficial to two mirrored surfaces?

Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. That's why I'm posting this.
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#2
Murray S.

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Howdy:

Going to revert to my firefighter training here. :)

To answer your question, no. The gouges, scratches allow for air to be trapped. Air is an insulating material. Although heat can/will transfer through air, it is much less efficient than direct contact.

Murray
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#3
L.Martofel

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Howdy:

Going to revert to my firefighter training here. :)

To answer your question, no. The gouges, scratches allow for air to be trapped. Air is an insulating material. Although heat can/will transfer through air, it is much less efficient than direct contact.

Murray


Good point, but isn't that why we use thermal paste? Doesn't it fill in those cracks and crevices?
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#4
Murray S.

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Yes it does which is why it is used. Also, As for the slight scratches etc being more beneficial than two mirrored surfaces, no.

If there are scratches, the heat transfer there as compared to the remainder of the surface would be different. That could result in minute warping of one surface which would be even worse.

Murray
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#5
Ferrari

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If I may add my two cents,

Just because lapping the heat sink mirrors it to a human's eye, doesn't mean there isn't scratches and grooves still there. As I was told by a veteran, you should only be applying enough thermal paste to fill microscopic scratchs/grooves. Applying any more than that is just a waste and you will not get the maximum result. Think of it on a microscopic level, not just what you can see.

I personally only apply a paper thin amount of thermal paste. You can literally see through the paste and still see the cpu after I'm done. A very small amount.
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#6
Ferrari

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Here is a quick guide I found when I googled, "microscopic look at a heat sink that is mirrored". It confirms what I just said about their still being scratches and grooves after lapping.

http://www.overclock...guides/lapping/
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#7
L.Martofel

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Great points. Ok, now I know when I build my system I'll be lapping my heatsink. Thanks!
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