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 nickel plated copper base the Thermalright Silver Arrow heatsink has a machined finish with a surface roughness of approximately ~8 microinches, which is considered excellent. Typical of most Thermalright heatsinks Frostytech has tested, the base plate has a somewhat convex profile in one axis. The opposite axis is very flat.
You can see the curvature of the Silver Arrow heatsink base by holding it against a straight edge (see image below) in front of a uniform light source.
Thermalright's base treatment has spawned a small cottage industry among heatsink retailers for pre-lapped heatsinks for those that desire it. The heatsink Frostytech tested was not lapped.
Next up, let's see how this heatsink handles the heat compared to a selection of other heatsinks!
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