Something that is important to know is this:
As surface area goes up, heat dissipation potential goes up, but so does in-case air resistance, meaning more dust collection, more "air rush" noise, and more fan resistance.
DUST CLEANING: Dust buildup in computers causes insulation of heatsinks, failure or overload of fans, motherboard "ground outs" to the case, and allergen collection. The more dust that has collected, the more rapidly dust collects. For cleaning dust buildup, I carefully use a compressed air blower nozzle. Adhere to the following precautions when using compressed air for dust removal in computers.
- Personal health and safety should always be considered first. Eye, ear, and slight respiratory protection are recommended. Always read your equipment documentation. I prefer safety glasses, earmuffs, and a cheap dust mask. I would never use this method for dust cleaning indoors, unless this was done in a "clean" sealed chamber with exhaust fan vented outside, as used for sandblasting, or in chemical fume hoods. I only do this outdoors. To protect the computer equipment, never bring your computer near water, rain, or snow. Never bring a cold computer into warm humid air without keeping it covered while it warms up. I prefer to lay the computer on its side, on a towel or foam pad which is lain upon a hard flat surface such as a concrete driveway.
- Make sure all PC components are secure and unbroken, with absolutely no loose parts whatsoever. Spinning fans are okay, but avoid excessive air force on them. DO NOT USE PRESSURIZED AIR CLEANING ON LOOSE OR BROKEN COMPONENTS, AS PERMANENT DAMAGE MAY OCCUR. Please keep in mind that any modified heatsinks may require special care, such as removal of user-added extensions of the modified heatsink.
- Keep a fair distance between components and nozzle, so as not to damage components with excessive air force, and to avoid possible damage or contamination due to ejected water, oil, solid particles, etc. It may be a good idea to limit your air compressor's PSI to a reasonable amount, either by adjusting it, or by stopping it at the desired PSI (whatever PSI seems reasonable).
- Make sure nozzle is secure to hose/trigger tool, and all air tool connections are secure, so as not to fly off and cause damage. Avoid dropping the air tool/nozzle, as it may loosen and/or damage either part.
- Make sure the air tank contains no water/oil, nor solid particles. Air tanks should be DRAINED of all air and any collected water/oil AFTER EVERY USE. This is usually done by unscrewing the drain plug in the bottom of the tank. There may still be residual water, oil, or particles in the tank that could not be drained. Any residual water, oil, or solid particles found in the tank (after complete drainage), hose, or air tools may potentially be removed by allowing the tank to fill to the equipment-specified PSI and fully discharging the tank through a blower nozzle.
- To avoid sudden water vapor condensation, you should always use a water/oil collector. Pretty affordable, these are sold at hardware stores where air tools are sold.
Depending on how much surface area you implement, you may even come to a point where your fans cease to move air through the heatsink at all, until you turn the fans higher.
Also, please note that if by some unfortunate mistake a nail came loose of the heatsink, the results could be devastating on your MB or other components (most likely a video card) and get could short-circuit something, or even get caught in a fan (potentially resulting in fire or heat damage to other property).
Now, scary things aside, another think you must realize is that if you are merely sliding nails into place in the heatsink, you will have very poor heat conductivity between heatsink and nails.
I think that the absolute best type of heatsink for your money is aluminum-plated copper. Aluminum to prevent corrosion and maintain surface conductivity of heat, and copper to REALLY whisk away that heat. If you want to get some effectiveness that's worth your while on a heatsink hack, I recommend copper welding some brass or copper nails onto the heatsink. Remember that any bare metal that becomes corroded looses thermal conductivity at the surface.
Whatever you do, please remember to account for large RAM heatsinks, expansion cards, MB parts, and anything else that could get into the way of the "nails".
I hope this helped in your idea! Very interesting!.
EDIT: I found it so interesting that I have totally started thinking about the potential of heatsink modification. I have questions for you!
I have to ask, did you use any kind of thermal interface material on the panel pins when you installed them on your other heatsinks? Do you think that using thermal material (such as "Arctic Silver") (or even copper welding) would substantially increase your effective heat dissipation?
Also, pardon my newbiness, but what are "panel pins"? I Googled it and it came back with ambiguous results.
Please let me know if ANYONE thinks my own personal dust removal guide should have its own thread. I will gladly make the change. Edited by Slink - 1/12/09 at 10:04am