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What's so great about nickel plating on heatsink base anyhow?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
NIckel has about a quarter of the thermal conductivity of copper , about 1/3 to 1/2 of aluminum, so what's the fuss about nickel plating the area not seeing much corrosion? It will be in contact with thermal paste not air.

Why aren't other platings used such as magnesium (flammable?) or zirconium (thermal conductivity goes down as temp goes up?)

Direct contact / DirectCU is gimmicky but it has its premises no?
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post #2 of 8
I guess people like it because of its shininess.
and you can easily see if plating is nice and flat
i think it will be easier to flat out the surface compared to copper or aluminium

and nickel is just a plating, im guessing it doesn't mater a lot
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post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

NIckel has about a quarter of the thermal conductivity of copper , about 1/3 to 1/2 of aluminum, so what's the fuss about nickel plating the area not seeing much corrosion? It will be in contact with thermal paste not air.

Why aren't other platings used such as magnesium (flammable?) or zirconium (thermal conductivity goes down as temp goes up?)

Direct contact / DirectCU is gimmicky but it has its premises no?

Heatsink bases being plated is probably because it would be difficult to plate only 1 side of the block and not the other. Also, i don't think nickel's lower thermal conductivity makes much of a difference because the blocks are made of copper with a thin plating.

Zinc is primarily used along side copper because its resistance to tarnish, but also because it is very close to copper on the anodic scale( -.30 and -.35), meaning the chance of galvanic corrosion is greatly reduced. Aluminum and zinc on the otherhand have very different anodic values from copper (-.90 and -1.25) and promote galvanic corrosion. Not sure how prominent the corrosion would be in a dry/base setting, but if you've seen the pictures of pitted cpu blocks or radiators with holes eaten through them, you would take your nickel plating and be content tongue.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

Direct contact / DirectCU is gimmicky but it has its premises no?

EDIT: the direct contact / direct CU exists on the premise of getting processor cores directly in contact with heatpipes, without a base plate imbetween. I don't think the fact that its copper was the intent of the technology
Edited by DampMonkey - 11/21/13 at 2:08pm
post #4 of 8
I only bought the nickel plated block for my 7990 because it looked better, simple as that. The big orange copper block was ugly against the black on the block, but the nickle/black combo looks great!
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
DampMonkey, as far as I know it's easier to manufacture a DirectCU style solution than to add a thin base plate/vapor chamber properly. Then again many manufactuers with direct contact heatpipes such as EVGA GTX 760 have gaps on the bottom in between the heatpipes so it's not flat on the bottom.

source of picture: http://www.overclock.net/t/1423480/gtx-760-getting-too-hot-on-automatic-fan-speed#post_20724155



source: http://forums.tweaktown.com/asus/51525-asus-hd7850-directcu-ii-review.html

Thanks for reminding me of galvanic corrosion tongue.gif
Edited by AlphaC - 11/21/13 at 8:18pm
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

DampMonkey, as far as I know it's easier to manufacture a DirectCU style solution than to add a thin base plate/vapor chamber properly. Then again many manufactuers with direct contact heatpipes such as EVGA GTX 760 have gaps on the bottom in between the heatpipes so it's not flat on the bottom.

source: http://forums.tweaktown.com/asus/51525-asus-hd7850-directcu-ii-review.html

Thanks for reminding me of galvanic corrosion tongue.gif

Im not so sure if direct heatpiping is easier to manufacturer. The typical heat piped cooler would have always have a metal base with little 'U' shapes in it for pipes to lie, like so:


I remember a couple years back when i was shopping for a CPU heatsink, some of the best on the market were using this new method of direct heatpipe contact, and they were showing increased performance over the block types coolers. I bought the heatsink below, the Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer, one of the first to use this method. I remember they specifically said to use much more thermal paste than normal to help fill the gaps imbetween the piping



I really don't know how much work is involved in milling/flattening a heatpipe, but the direct contact method sure has taken off.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DampMonkey View Post


I really don't know how much work is involved in milling/flattening a heatpipe, but the direct contact method sure has taken off.

It's about the same amount of work, since you still have to make a similar block to hold the pipes from above. It can be small and cheap though, instead of needing to be a big block like when you use it for a base. The flattening of the heatpipes themselves is nothing.
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post #8 of 8
Nickel plating seems to be good when using those liquid metals. CLU seems to react a little with copper, making the base at least ugly, possibly causing the cleaning to be pretty involved. It does not do that to nickel.
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