Originally Posted by Killa Cam
It is a terrible analogy, but I cannot fathom how something as grotesque as oxidation can be good for blocks. I'll take u and the other dudes opinion and maybe clean it every 6 months? My ocd will not let me go any further
A true oxide layer shouldn't ever look too bad. Usually it looks blackish, but also is close to the surface and is so fine that it doesn't even fill in the spaces between water channels and pins.
Look here: http://www.overclockers.com/annual-water-cooling-cleaning-rebuild-journal
and at about halfways down the page you'll see a copper CPU block with an oxide layer. It may be silver oxide, where it is black. It is the result of other metals within the loop depositing their electrons onto the copper, and this is something that also happens inside most drinking water pipes. It is completely harmless, it just might look dirty, but it isn't. Also consider that the finest wines in the world are aged inside of barrels with heavy sediment deposits all around the inside of them. This oxidation is the natural state of copper and it actually does protect the metal once it is established. The author of that article also states of his GPU blocks:" There are some tarnish spots on the outside, and below the smoked color acrylic tops you can see some discoloration with a bright flashlight. I have seen this before. It’s not buildup or gunk. It’s the same as my CPU block, not to worry. It’s expected, and just fine as it is. Opening the GPU blocks and dealing with that tiny cover seal is something I don’t need to do. It’s a ton of work to remove the GPU blocks off the cards and do a full tear-down. I’ll do a MAJOR cleaning on the blocks when the Nvidia Fermi releases and I’ll sell the blocks and cards in late 2010. "
This suggests that he acknowledges that cleaning off the oxide layer is not a necessary maintenance measure if it is not showing symptoms. It just isn't a problem and doesn't affect temperatures, it's really up to the user whether he wants to go through the trouble of dismantling and remounting blocks time and again. Given all the little parts and how a good mounting of a waterblock can really affect temps, I'm going to do it once and forget about it until I get a couple 880 GTX's or something in a few years. I don't want to wear down the copper surface or accidentally introduce bacteria into my loop by exposing it repeatedly to the environment.
Are you a musician? I play guitar, and I liken it to the tendency for one's fingertips to develop hard, scaly calluses where the fingers press onto the string. It looks ugly, but it is the result of the body changing the surface of the finger to allow it to do its job properly. Much the same way, copper, by the miracle of nature, will chemically protect itself when it is underwater and in electrical contact with other metals by developing this oxide layer. I just see no reason to remove it, because it will not get worse or flake off over time either. That said, my blocks which I've opened look more like the block in that link AFTER it was cleaned, with just a grey clouding starting to form. This is after 2 years of continuous use and only two major water changes, running only silver and distilled water.Edited by lowfiwhiteguy - 9/13/13 at 3:06am