Base Finish and Flatness
Flipping a heatsink over to inspect the business end is often a simple indicator of overall cooler quality. More practically speaking, a heatsink is in many ways only as effective as the contact it makes with the processor - the flatter and smoother the better. Base finish is one of the criteria that Frostytech measure in the course of evaluating heatsinks, and it involves two distinct aspects. Surface Finish is the first; this is calculated with the aid of Surface Roughness Comparator that has a cross section of common machine surface finishes and their numerical surface roughness equivalents in microinches. The second is Surface Flatness. This is tested with an engineers straight edge or proven flat surface, in two axis.
The base of Spire's Thermax Eclipse II heatsink has a surface roughness of approximately 16 microinches, which is considered very good. The base is machined perfectly flat in both axis, with a slight grooved finish from the tooling. The copper and aluminum parts are flush.
Incidently, Frostytech's review of the Thermax Eclipse II was delayed for a while because the heatsink we received for testing came with a slightly defective mounting bracket. The slots for Intel socket hardware were punched out of the steel plate which is attached to the base of the heatsink 1mm off, in one axis. Thus, instead of a hole pattern of 72 x 72mm, it was 72 x 74mm. That may not sound like much, but it was just enough of an offset to prevent the heatsink from installing onto Frostytech's Intel synthetic thermal test platform with machine screws. The inaccurately punched bracket made the cumulative error for one pair of holes 2mm out of alignment.
Hopefully this was just a manufacturing one-off. Sound level measurements are coming up next on Frostytech...
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