Which metal dissipate heat more quickly: copper or Al ?

Cooling Processors quietly

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:07 pm

Which metal dissipate heat more quickly: copper or Al ?

Post by picard » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:27 pm

Which metal dissipate heat more quickly : copper or Al ?

*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 5316
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: St Louis (county) Missouri USA

Post by Bluefront » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:45 pm

If you mean dissipate to the air from a fin, copper and aluminum are basically similar.

If you mean transfer heat from a CPU to a heatsink through direct contact, copper is better.

There are separate benefits to each metal.....

Posts: 215
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:21 pm
Location: St-Hubert, Qc

Post by mr_plow_king » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:56 pm

I've read somewhere that copper is better to transmit heat within it (and take it from a CPU) and aluminium is better to get rid of it

I think that's why heatsinks like the XP-120 are great performers, copper in the base and in the heatpipes to transmit the heat and aluminium fins to get rid of the heat

Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:40 pm

Post by Ryan » Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:16 pm

I disagree. Copper, is far better than aluminum for transfering heat. Aluminum however, is way cheaper, and easier to machine into complicated designs with more surface area. Basicly, aluminum doesn't trasnfer as well, but easier to machine for more surface area.

Posts: 215
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:21 pm
Location: St-Hubert, Qc

Post by mr_plow_king » Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:19 pm

That's what I meant, copper is better to transfer heat and aluminium to dissipate heat

Posts: 657
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm
Location: AB, Canada

Post by Straker » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:02 pm

it's not so much that it's "better", because most heatsinks that are made in both Al/Cu and pure Cu models use the same design for both variants. if you do that, the pure Cu one will perform better.

what aluminum does get you is a lot more surface area for the same mass, since it's so much less dense. if a manufacturer were to make an Al/Cu HSF that weighed 2+ pounds like the pure copper one, it should perform better.

edit: erm, not just echoing what Ryan said, yeah, aluminum is easier/cheaper to machine, but you can also get more surface area with the same mass of metal (without breaking your motherboard) because of the lower density.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:55 pm

Post by eplayer87 » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:06 pm

Yeah, to reiterate what the others were saying, the copper vs aluminum myth is one of the longest standing myths of pc cooling. Copper dissipates heat just as well as aluminum, and most of the time, even better.

According to Physics, the rate of heat exchange is based on temperature difference between the two materials, i.e. copper and air. If you take two of the same heatsinks, that are constructed the same except for one being made of copper and one of aluminum, and are in the same temperature air, then they will both cool off at the exact same rate.

Copper will do a much better job dissipating the heat because it gets hot faster than an aluminum heatsink. Its thermal resistance is lower (copper = .38 Joules/degrees C, Aluminum = .89 Joules/degrees C), therefore it does a better job of transfering the heat away from the cpu and into the surrounding air. Copper makes a better heatsink, period.

Post Reply