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 copper base of the Corsair Hydro H80 waterblock has a sanded finish with a surface roughness of approximately ~32 microinches. The manufacturer ships it with a pre-applied patch of gray thermal compound for ease of installation (shown with/without in the above pictures). The base is slightly convex in both axis when compared to a straight edge.
Next up Frostytech looks into the noise levels of this heatsink, then it's onto AMD and Intel thermal tests!
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