There aren't too many choices out there for solid copper heatsinks. In fact, I
only know of one manufacturer in Asia that makes them, so what to
do? Well, this is FrostyTech, so we made one :-) Enter the
Frosty CopperSinkr. With the
finished version shown, let's go through all the steps we used to construct the
Frosty CopperSinkr. The construction process took us few
hours one weekend, and required only a few specialized tools (see last
- (14) 50x55mm 1/32" copper fins
- 50x50mm 1/4" copper base plate
- Weighs; a lot
- Uses (1) 60x60mm CPU fan (not
- Lapped base
- CuMine compatible
- Cost: Not for
Why Copper? The
question many might wonder, is "why copper"? Why not simply go out
and buy a cheap aluminum heatsink, or a more expensive Alpha then go to all
the trouble of making ones' own heatsink. The answer to this is simple; copper has a
thermal conductivity of 394 W/m*C, where as 6063 aluminum has a thermal
conductivity of only 193 W/m*C. A difference of 201 W/m*C means the trouble to
make a solid copper heatsink is well worth it. It also means a much smaller
copper heatsink can do the job of a larger aluminum one, but we ignored that.
What kind of heatsink?
The very first idea we had was to cast a
heatsink from pure copper. But casting an amazing heatsink - possibly based on the current
high performers out there - was out of the question. That's not to
say we didn't try. Before settling on the plate and fin design we tried our
hands at casting a very simple copper shape. Making the mould for the heatsink design
was easy, melting the copper wasn't.
At our disposal was an oxy-propane
torch. While oxy-acetylene may have made this possible, we had no access
to such a rig. Anyhow, we found it almost impossible to melt a small chunk
of copper and keep it in its liquid state. From what I understand,
this difficulty is partially due to the rate at which copper sheds its heat to
the surroundings. An induction furnace is probably needed to melt the volume of
copper needed for a small heatsink.....
Extruded: Extruding the heatsink would have been nice, but
that wasn't ever an option. :-(
Assembled: Eventually, a trip down to the Metal Supermarkets was made
and we returned with a 6" x 12" x 1/4" plate and 36" x 12" x 1/32" sheet of
copper. Both of the pieces together weighed in at around 15
pounds and cost us nearly $70 CDN. While that may seem like a lot of money, we
got much more copper then was necessary for this heatsink. There is enough material
here for many more heatsinks. I'm sure it will all get used as we have many
more heatsink variations on the drawing board already!
Finally, we settled on a design determined by what we could make.
Backtracking from the tools at hand, to the materials available, we were able
to come up with a suitable fin-based design. The goal was to make a
heatsink capable of mounting atop a CuMine 500E. With that in
mind, a heatsink for the socket 370 form factor began to take shape. As a bonus,
the heatsink would also be backwards compatible with the Celerons - which
is good cause we have a 366A that does 616mhz ;-) The only constraint we had,
involved the clip to attach the heatsink to the socket. We salvaged the clip
from an old Coller Master heatsink, and were sure to leave enough room between
the center fins for it - more on that later though.