In thermal management there is a simple principle... moving heat.
First up is the heatsink itself. The heatsink is a rather common design and includes an oil filled pure copper heat pipe permanently mounted to an aluminum and fill metal attachment grid that is mounted under spring tension coupled to both the cpu and gpu with thermal paste and/or a silicone thermal pad. Usually a thermal pad for the gpu and thermal paste for the cpu. The heat dissipation matrix is comprised of an aluminum hollow core box type radiator that the fan blows through to remove the heat from the assembly.
Lets get a basic understanding: Copper has a higher thermal conductivity, and therefore is superior to aluminum in processor cooling. Copper is better at conducting heat than aluminum, but aluminum is able to radiate the heat into the air better than copper because of its lower density
Lets take a look at the numbers:
Thermal Conductivity: λ / W·m−1·K−1 (Pure Metal)
But we must remember densities:
Now let us think of the "skin effect" of a 3-6 um coat of copper atop the aluminum substrate to allow the heat to transfer through the fins and "amass" at the very edge to be removed by the incoming cold air blown through the fins by the fan. In short, a tiny layer of copper would increase the heat dissipation.... this leaves a conundrum because it is difficult to plate aluminum with copper due to a number of reasons. The usual process is to first plate it with Nickel, and then plate copper atop that harder Nickel surface, however in this instance the Nickel would reduce the "skin effect" and heat transfer that we are looking for.
Method: There are multiple methods of electroplating, but taking the aforementioned factors into account the option was quite clear: A novel and highly effective electroplating method that utilizes peracetic acid to slowly electroplate a pure copper "skin" utilizing the distance between anode and cathode to slow the plating process to facilitate strong bond between the aluminum substrate and the deposited (electroplated) copper.
First, Source a PURE COPPER scrubbing brush; Make absolutely sure that it is not a copper plated metal brush but truly a PURE, SOLID COPPER "brillo" style pad... you can use other forms of copper, but the hassle of reducing them to a surface area that will be useable for electroplating is not worth it. -(I recommend ebay) **Remember**- Any contamination with another metal will effect the outcome negatively... even the short time the metal to be plated comes in contact with the solution before plating occurs can poison the results.
Secondly, source white distilled vinegar and standard 3% H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) -(I recommend Wal-Mart or equivalent)
Thirdly, source a large enough container made of plastic, nalgene, or glass (preferably with a top to protect the remaining solution for reuse)
Fourthly, You'll need a 6 volt battery and wires with alligator clips for your anode and cathode.
And Obviously - your heatsink (or other item to be electroplated)
Common sense applies.. here are the important details:
First carefully remove the heatsink and clean with soap and water fully before cleaning every inch with IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) **70% or higher is best. Pay close attention to the area that contacted the gpu and cpu to remove any trace of oil, adhesive, or thermal compound which is generally a mixture with a silicone oil or mineral oil base depending on the brand / type... even silicone pads are impregnated with silicone oil to aid in contact transfer so clean this area perfectly...Read more »