Pick The Perfect Heat Sink For Your PC Build With This Video

If you want to overclock your PC, you’re going to need to care a lot about how much heat your CPU generates. This video from LinusTechTips helps you understand how to pick the right heat sink, and more importantly, how to improve the one you have.

As the video points out, small imperfections in the surface of a heat sink, as well as the shape of the heat sink, can have an impact on the heat dispersion. In particular, convex-shaped heat sinks have a slight advantage, while concave heat sinks are at a disadvantage.

You can also use a process called lapping to refine a heat sink that has a lot of imperfections. Not everyone will notice a difference — LinusTechTips tried it and found exactly zero change — but that may just mean you have a good heat sink.

One that has flaws that disrupt the contact between the sink and the CPU can be improved with the process of lapping.

CPU & Heatsink Lapping – Are concave, convex, or flat heatsinks best for cooling? [LinusTechTips]


  • Lapping a relatively flat surface is actually pretty useless if you are using a good thermal transfer compound. That’s the who point of “heatsink paste” to fill the small imperfections in the surface to allow better thermal conductivity.

    • True, but sometimes you hear stories about people who have lapped their heat sink and CPU, and end up getting a better result without thermal paste than they would if they just used the paste.

      • Technically that’s impossible bar using a low quality paste or not applying properly. Lapping will make it visibly smooth but it isn’t. Put it under a high magnification microscope it’s still rough as anything. And air is a bad thermal conductor, hence why you replace air with thermal paste. If you were getting better results with out paste I would try better paste. Or a different application technique. Most people I’ve seen using thermal paste usually apply it wrong. You don’t want a thick layer of it. Although it is a thermal conductor it isn’t 100% efficient. You just want a very thin layer to fill those voids. The whole surface doesn’t have to be coated white just a thin film of it.

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