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Scratches on heatsink from cleaning

Last response: in Overclocking
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March 7, 2012 11:13:16 PM

I just cleaned my heatsink with rubbing alcohol and a non abrasive cloth, when I was done I noticed it had left hundreds of minor circular scratches (cleaning scratches) on the beautiful mirror finish. Will this affect heat dissipation? Should I lap the heatsink before I install it?
a b K Overclocking
March 7, 2012 11:36:18 PM

did you scratch the surface that interfaces with the cpu or the heat sink "fins"?
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a b K Overclocking
March 7, 2012 11:40:14 PM

It will not affect it what so ever dont worry about it the thermal paster goes into those minor lines anyways just make sure not to use to much thermal paste just a lil blob will do
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March 7, 2012 11:41:26 PM

kelthic said:
did you scratch the surface that interfaces with the cpu or the heat sink "fins"?

i was cleaning the old paste from the contact surface, and scratched up the area that contacts the processor.
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a b K Overclocking
March 7, 2012 11:44:01 PM

If the scratches are not "gouges" or are barely noticeable when you run your finger across them, the Thermal Paste should fill these in nicely. If they are noticeably deep to the point wher you would be concerned the paste might not fully penetrate into the scratch, you might consider taking other action.
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a c 127 K Overclocking
March 7, 2012 11:44:17 PM

elcido said:
I just cleaned my heatsink with rubbing alcohol and a non abrasive cloth, when I was done I noticed it had left hundreds of minor circular scratches (cleaning scratches) on the beautiful mirror finish. Will this affect heat dissipation? Should I lap the heatsink before I install it?


I doubt that you will have any problem.

The purpose of the thermal material is to get air out of those minor imperfections. Air is a poor conductor of heat.
A mirror surface looks nice, but does little good if the surfaces are uneven and do not mate well.
It is not that important.

You are more likely to cause a problem by trying to lap the surfaces and getting it uneven.

If, after all, you think you still have a problem after mounting the cooler, you can always try to fix it later.
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March 7, 2012 11:46:51 PM

I know someone who swears by lapping will disagree with me, but the purpose of TIM is to fill imperfections. And unless you really require a mirror finish (pre-install, which is trashed when you press it against anything with force and abrasive) to fulfill your ego, its not worth the trouble.

A good fit is important, but mirror finish is not. I believe Prolimatech even put out that they don't want their stuff lapped. I'm too lazy to find a citation though.

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March 7, 2012 11:52:57 PM

Alright, thanks guys. I didn't think it would be a big deal, but it's still a load off my mind to hear it from someone else.
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