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Directly touching thermal pads

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
So it's been said that between the time you clean a heatsink with alcohol and the time of applying the thermal paste, you should completely avoid directly touching the surface of the heatsink with your finger, because your fingers will leave oils that do something bad (heat up, inhibit heat transfer, or something like that, idk).

Does the same thing apply to thermal pads? The other day I was installing my first graphics card waterblock and put my fingers all over the thermal pads after taking off the protective film. Am I going to have terrible cooling performance now?
post #2 of 4
That is a giant exaggeration. Handling copper blocks after cleaning will speed up oxidisation on the places you touch, the oils in skin must do it some how. Its easy to leave a nice obvious dark brown fingerprint. Oxidation does not effect performance to a degree that is measurable though. Its still copper in touch with water. It just isn't attractive.
Nickel does not oxidise rapidly like copper.
Edited by Jakusonfire - 9/17/13 at 1:17pm
Kusanagi
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Kusanagi
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post #3 of 4
In practice, it won't make much difference if you touched them or not. The thermal performance is not going to be compromised by a molecule-thick layer of skin oils on the pad. I do agree, however, that if you're going to clean your heatsink and IHC with alcohol to remove contaminants, it makes sense not to violate the clean surface by touching it. =) Your thermal pads can also be cleaned by a quick wipe with alcohol if you're paranoid about it, the alcohol should not deteriorate the pad and will remove the surface contaminants.

The practice film on the thermal pads ... is to prevent you from touching them. LOL.

Greg
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakusonfire View Post

That is a giant exaggeration. Handling copper blocks after cleaning will speed up oxidisation on the places you touch, the oils in skin must do it some how. Its easy to leave a nice obvious fingerprint. Oxidation does not effect performance to a degree that is measurable though. Its still copper in touch with water. It just isn't attractive.
Nickel does not oxidise rapidly like copper.

That's the other thing - there was already a bit of oxidization on the part of the block that touches the memory chips. I was a little worried about that too. But the oxidization doesn't impact heat transfer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammong View Post

In practice, it won't make much difference if you touched them or not. The thermal performance is not going to be compromised by a molecule-thick layer of skin oils on the pad. I do agree, however, that if you're going to clean your heatsink and IHC with alcohol to remove contaminants, it makes sense not to violate the clean surface by touching it. =) Your thermal pads can also be cleaned by a quick wipe with alcohol if you're paranoid about it, the alcohol should not deteriorate the pad and will remove the surface contaminants.

The practice film on the thermal pads ... is to prevent you from touching them. LOL.

Greg

well... like I said, it was my first time installing a water block, so I was being a noob wink.gif

I am OCD with pretty much anything... and I don't feel confident in the installation of the block. I don't think the TIM job on the core was the best, I forgot to clean any part of the block before installing it after it had been sitting out of the package for weeks and covered in finger prints, and there's some old TIM that overflowed onto the transistors surrounding the core that I couldn't get off and I'm still concerned about it, so it looks like I'll be re-doing the whole thing. I'll wipe the pads with alcohol too
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