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Topic

ZFGeek 1 month ago

I want to hear your guys' opinions on this. Does gold provide any advantages for conductivity and other properties compared to copper? I've heard mixed opinions, so I was wondering what you guys think.

Comments Sorted by:

Gilroar 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

I've heard mixed opinions, so I was wondering what you guys think.

The problem isn't absorbing the heat it is getting rid of it to the surrounding air.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

I mean when companies gold plate pins and wires and claim it is better. Is it actually better than copper when conducting electricity or when used for audio and video?

Gilroar 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Copper has to be coated with something or it oxidizes in contact with oxygen which interferes with signals being passed through.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

I wonder if there is a cheaper metal to provide the same use...not that anyone would use such a metal anyways.

Gilroar 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Then Gold? Not really most metals react when current is applied if they are in contact with dissimilar metals.

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tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Thermal conductivity covers both absorption of heat as well as dissipation, given that all other factors remain constant. The faster a material can heat up the faster it dissipates that heat.

Gilroar 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Only in a case where what it is dissipating heat to is an infinite quantity to absorb the heat which doesn't exist in actual use.

Air absorbing heat expands keeping fresh cool air from absorbing more heat, they counteract this with using a fan to move more air over the disipation surface.

Problem is how fast the fans move air becomes your limitation not the thermal aspects thanks to the insulating properties of the air being used.

tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

You're only looking at convective cooling. Not advective, conductive, or radiative.

Gilroar 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Conductive doesn't apply once the heatsink becomes saturated and only dissipates heat convectively.

Radiative doesn't apply since the heatsink can only shed heat through convection as it is surrounded by an insulator in a confined space.

tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Not technically true. Radiative dissipation does occur, although quite minimal compared to convective and conductive cooling. Otherwise, an infrared camera would not pick up the heat.

That being said, conductivity stops being a factor when equilibrium is met, true. But, that's why I mentioned advective cooling as well, which can renew the imbalance.

Granddy 1 point 1 month ago

Gold has higher corrosion resistance than copper (aka will wear out slower and less affected by the environment) but copper has slightly higher conductivity than gold and also cheaper. Gold is also to get rid of heat compared to copper.

Gold doesn't have a good use for heat sinks but is used alot in motherboards, cpus, ram and gpu to travel data.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

So it isn't necessary to gold plate, it doesn't actually provide better performance? Companies are lying?

Granddy 1 point 1 month ago

Well, it is kinda needed to gold plate certain parts as that's the only way to transfer data from the cpu to the motherboard. Cpu's pins, gpu's pcie slot, ram's slot and traces on the motherboard are all made of gold.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

It's still not right that companies exploit that requirement and say that it provides better performance.

Granddy 1 point 1 month ago

I think copper needs to be coated with some material so it doesn't get corroded but covering the copper with that material may slow down the transfer process on pc parts.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

Yeah, I actually looked into it a while ago, and there was a solid substance that had higher conductivity than even copper, but I don't remember what that is. :/

tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

No, gold has a lower electrical conductivity than copper, and thus has an increased resistance to electrical flow. Silver, on the other hand, has a higher electrical conductivity and a lower resistivity to the flow of electrons than copper does.

Generally, electrical and thermal conductivity are somewhat closely related (although this is not always the case), so copper is better at dissipating heat than gold, but less so than silver (although copper has a higher melting point than silver, while copper and gold have very similar melting points).

Now, when deciding what material to use for a circuit, you have to weigh many factors beyond just thermal conductivity, temperature coefficients, and electrical conductivity. You also need to factor in the cost of the heat loss to determine if that warrants the higher priced material. For example, many electrical lines in the US use aluminum due to the lower cost and corrosion resistance compared to the more conductive, but higher priced materials like copper, gold, and silver.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

yeah, but silver has corrosion resistance comparable to gold, and is generally cheaper than gold. Also, the melting point of silver is only 200 degrees F less than gold, 1981 F for gold, 1760-ish for pure silver, negligible when it comes to electronics.

tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Gold is one of the most non-reactive elements. It is less prone to corrosion than silver.

ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

'one of' being the key factor in that sentence. The only element that silver reacts with is sulfur. That would put it on the same level, since gold also only tarnishes and corrodes from sulfur.

Cosine_ 2 points 1 month ago

Silver tarnishes quite easily over time, however. It reacts with small quantities of hydrogen sulfide in the air to produce a non-conductive layer. Gold is less reactive than silver, and therefore it tarnishes at a much slower rate.

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ZFGeek submitter 1 point 1 month ago

Seems the only way to test this out between silver and gold is to test it myself, but I don't have pure gold and silver sitting around to do so.

tragiktimes101 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

You can just look it up. Conductivity (both thermal and electrical), temperature coefficients, and reactivity are all well known and documented.

TheOtherside 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

IM LEARNING SO MUCH!!

:D :D