Most acetabular cups implanted today are press-fit impacted cementless. Anchorage begins with the primary stability given by insertion of a slightly oversized cup. This primary stability is key to obtaining bone ingrowth and secondary stability. We tested the hypothesis that primary stability of the cup is related to surface roughness of the implant, using both an experimental and a numerical models to analyze how three levels of surface roughness (micro, macro and combined) affect the primary stability of the cup. We also investigated the effect of differences in diameter between the cup and its substrate, and of insertion force, on the cups' primary stability. The results of our study show that primary stability depends on the surface roughness of the cup. The presence of macro-roughness on the peripheral ring is found to decrease primary stability; there was excessive abrasion of the substrate, damaging it and leading to poor primary stability. Numerical modeling indicates that oversizing the cup compared to its substrate has an impact on primary stability, as has insertion force. (C) 2014 IPEM. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.