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finished lapping my Q6600 (with pics and results)

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May 4, 2007 11:13:58 AM

Well, after lapping my HS, I've had this nagging little voice in my head telling me to do the same from the CPU. I did the job with 800 grit sandpaper. Initially, I told myself I'd just buff what's there right now just to see if it's level. After about 30 laps in one direction and 30 in the other direction I discovered I had quite a concave IHS. So I just kept at it. Two 9x11 pieces of 800 grit later paper later I was left with a darn flat layer of copper looking back at me. I finished the job and put a mild shine on it with a sheet of 1000 grit I got from the local auto parts store just for the f*ck of it.

Here are a few pics and the temp. results I got from lapping both my CPU and HS. I would recommend that anyone wanting the best $20 decrease in temps should consider lapping both the CPU and HS.

Hardware details: Q6600 @ 9x333 and vcore of 1.2625V in the BIOS, P5B Deluxe (vdroop modded) cooled w/ an Ultra-120 Extreme (lapped) with Scythe/s-flex SFF21F 1600RPM fan, in a P182 case:

Temp results:

Each temp. point represents an average of data collected over approx. 1 h time period during the 2nd pass of a 2-pass x264 encode of a 720x480 DVD source using a high quality video profile. Data points were logged by Speedfan every 3-4 seconds over this time period. The average CPU usage was >99 % on all 4 cores throughout the experiments. Also room temp was between 20-22 °C.

This is my preferred setup: 8x10 piece of glass on a flat counter top. You can see I cut the sandpaper into a thin strip (about 2-3x the width of the CPU) and attached it to the glass with some tape. The glass is in turn tapped down to the counter top to keep everything immobilized. You'll want to moisten the sandpaper with some mildly soapy water (like 1 drop of dish soap in 1 liter of water), then blot it until you have no pools of water. Remember, if you get water into your chip you're sunk. Then simple hold the chip and gently move it front-to-back. I don't recommend doing circles since they tend to give uneven results. The copper color on the sandpaper is material I just removed from the IHS on the chip.



Remember, you're after a flat chip here so don't push down on it as you lap: let the weight of your hands do it without extra pressure and go slowly so you don't use uneven pressure. After about 30 laps front-to-back, I gently blotted off the chip with a moist paper towel to remove the metal particles I just sanded off, then rotated it 90 degrees and repeated 30 laps front-to-back. Then you'll want to clean off the sand paper (add more water, then blot it damp and repeat). I'd recommend changing the sand paper frequently since it's really doing the work for you. That's basically it. You can start with 400 grit or so and lap until you can't see variations in the surface of the chip (no silver color is often a good indication that you're flat), move up to 600 or 800, then finish off with 1000 or 1200. I did mine entirely with 800 and 1000, it just takes longer with finer grits. Remember, the key is FLAT, not shiny. I would recommend that you do NOT polish the chip with a metal polish since you'll leave behind a residue that will hurt your heat transfer.

You can test the flatness at any point during the lapping process by carefully placing a razor blade across the surface of he chip and looking at the area where the razor meets the chip. Now position your eye so that you're level with the chip and pointing at a light source (a lamp will do nicely). Do you see any light coming though? If so, keep at it. Another test you can do is to take a black sharpie marker and make about 9 dots in a 3x3 grid on the surface of the IHS. Lap about 5 times, rotate, and do 5 more. Now look at the dots... did they wear off evenly? If not, keep at it. You can also simply draw an "X" from corner to corner on the chip and do this as well. Again, you'll looking for even wear.

After about 5 minutes of lapping in each direction with 800 grit. You can see how the nickel plating has come off around the edges first which shows you just how concave this thing really was:


After more lapping most of the nickel plating has been removed expect in the really low areas (the camera flash fired so close to the chip makes all the scratches show up much more so than they do under normal light):


Switched to 1000 grit, here's the result:


Another angle shows the nice dull reflection, still very so slightly concave at the extreme edges, but good enough for me:


I would recommend that anyone wanting the best $20 decrease in temps should consider lapping both the CPU and HS.

Oh, I also thought I'd mention that before I lapped the chip, I had a pretty big difference in core temps when loading with prime95 or 2x orthos: up to 6 degrees C (sorry I don't have a screenshot of this). Lapping the chip REALLY evened-them-out as you can see from the coretemp numbers after the IHS and base of the heatsink were lapped (stressed using prime95 v25.3):



The table I showed above was not based on prime95 or orthos, it was based on x264.exe which is a video encoder. It is good at using all 4 cores, but not as efficient as prime95/orthos which explains the differences in temps from that table.
May 4, 2007 11:51:56 AM

I always thought it was the heatsink you were meant to lap not the CPU, well I guess you learn something new everyday.
May 4, 2007 11:58:28 AM

nice difference in temps there. I normally just lap the Cooler but was lazy with my Big Typhoon...Just stuck it in there and OC'd the $h!t out of my pc...ok so I waited a week or two...
Related resources
May 4, 2007 2:42:18 PM

Thanks, Dade. I did the HS first as a test since it was a fraction of the cost of the CPU. Since I did okay with it I took the risk and did the CPU. Retrospectively, I think that if you have a steady hand, and you're careful, there is no reason why anyone can't do this.

The lower temps can either translate into nothing (i.e. keep the same speed and enjoy the mental effect of the low temps) or you can trade the lower temps for MHz in the FSB or multiplier, etc.
May 4, 2007 3:27:05 PM

Quote:
I always thought it was the heatsink you were meant to lap not the CPU, well I guess you learn something new everyday.


Many people do both. The IHS are more often then not, concave or convex so lapping the IHS often benefits the cooling more than lapping the HSF. This was certainly the case with my Apogee/D805. Lapping the (already flat) apogee netted about 2C under load and lapping my convex D805 netted 4-5 for a total of about 7C under full load.
May 4, 2007 3:34:29 PM

Quote:
Lapping the (already flat) apogee netted about 2C under load and lapping my convex D805 netted 4-5 for a total of about 7C under full load.


I had similar results:

About 2 C from doing the HS and about 5 C from doing the CPU. It's totally worth the time you'll spend doing it I think. The sand paper and an 8x10 picture glass will cost you under $20. That and some duct tape, soapy water, and paper towels/rags is really all you'll need.
May 4, 2007 3:46:38 PM

I agree. I just used a mirror from my dorm (free and not mine :p ) and the sandpaper cost me $4 or so I think.
May 11, 2007 7:50:05 PM

11-May: Updated the data table and added a few more pics.
May 21, 2007 10:01:12 PM

21-May Update: Re-ran the benchmark since it's been about 300 hours after the heatsink was seated on the AS5. You can see the temps have dropped by another 2-3 °C from when I initially seated it, so I guess the "break in" period is real.
May 22, 2007 4:13:45 AM

Yeah, and Ceramique would get another 1-3C on top of that more than likely.
May 30, 2007 11:16:02 PM

@tool_462: Do you have a source on that statement about the two types of TIMs? The cermamique is like 1/2 the cost of AS5. Anyway, using a mirror a great idea unless you're superstitious.
June 11, 2007 2:43:38 AM

can anyone explain to me what is lapping? and is there any guide available here?

thanks!
June 11, 2007 4:31:28 AM

Nice temp drops. (Although "% drop in T" is kind of meaningless unless T is in Kelvins) I still don't understand why Intel can't be bothered to make the heatsink flat. Even $0.50 mosfets are flat. Do they bend it on purpose for some reason? How does it make contact with the chip on the inside?
June 11, 2007 8:41:05 AM

Quote:
can anyone explain to me what is lapping? and is there any guide available here?


Try this one for starters. Also google around to find more. I deleted all the ones I found from my bookmarks but they are out there.
July 11, 2007 10:22:00 PM

those a great results, those its too bad your temps are still that high :(  i honestly would have thought that the thermalright ultra was capable of lowering the temps more :( 

anyways could someone explain what the act of lapping a heatsink hopes to accomplish, just so i know??? and nickel i thought they were copper heatsinks.. gahhhh! im so confused
July 11, 2007 10:57:36 PM

Good Job, looks great, I may just do that myself… my q6600 runs hot also.

On another note :
I have been trying to figure out how we spend 200-1100 on a CPU and we have to lap the damn thing to get it to perform the way it should outa the box. Is it just me? I really believe that my $100 after market heatsink and my $600 CPU should already be lapped when I get it!

Perhaps soon well buy new cars with flat tires.
July 11, 2007 11:12:38 PM

Haha... just lap the thing and I'm sure you'll be very happy w/ the result.
July 12, 2007 12:15:04 AM

nice i will do this also son
July 12, 2007 12:30:33 AM

could someone please respond to my original post... please

i will re post it for your ease.
Quote:

those a great results, those its too bad your temps are still that high :(  i honestly would have thought that the thermalright ultra was capable of lowering the temps more :( 

anyways could someone explain what the act of lapping a heatsink hopes to accomplish, just so i know??? and nickel i thought they were copper heatsinks.. gahhhh! im so confused
July 12, 2007 12:41:27 AM

Maverick7
The reason for lapping a CPU and /or HSF is to create as little gap between the two surfaces ie. to maximize contact. In a perfect world, you wouldn't need AS5 or any other thermal compound because the surfaces would be perfectly mated with each other. This would result in as good a heat transfer as you could get.

Remember to use a perfectly flat surface (glass or mirror). Start with 320 grit progressing to 1000 grit. As a final touch, there is available 2000 and 3200 grit that will really put a shine on project.

Quick tip: Higher grit number, less pressure to achieve the best results You can also use automotive paste polishing compound as long you are careful not to contact the electronics side. It contains petroleum distilates (sp) that could cause arcing if not properly cleaned. :ouch: 
July 12, 2007 1:51:46 AM

Its so easy a caveman can do it. My load temps are a lot lower now
July 12, 2007 2:01:16 AM

UGHHHH!!
July 14, 2007 7:04:50 AM

but what i was really asking was what is wrong with how the heatsinks come...? like danger den for example do u have to sand those down?? because if so, what the hell is the point of them making them shiny.. etc??
July 14, 2007 8:59:36 AM

shiny = smoother = flatter = better contact. It's fairly simple concept. The CPU wasn't flat therefore there wasn't a good transfer of heat. With anything mass produced there will be slight variances.

at a microscopic level it will look like this if its not shiny. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
Note there are less points of contact as opposed to a surface like this ____________
July 14, 2007 10:16:53 AM

boner said:
nice i will do this also son


You do it yet?
July 14, 2007 11:21:02 AM

to the OP

how did you lap the CPU without touching it's back?
arrgg don't know how to say this in English... :fou: 

i mean, how do you tighten the CPU so you can get enough strength on it for lapping?

i hope you understand me... :??: 
July 14, 2007 6:19:49 PM

@exarrkun: You just hold it by the sides; the back of a C2Q/C2D doesn't have any pins to bend so it's really easy to grab between your thumb and middle finger.
July 14, 2007 11:12:58 PM

Quote:
shiny = smoother = flatter = better contact. It's fairly simple concept. The CPU wasn't flat therefore there wasn't a good transfer of heat. With anything mass produced there will be slight variances.


at a microscopic level it will look like this if its not shiny. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
Note there are less points of contact as opposed to a surface like this ____________


ic so for some heatsinks etc you dont have to do it because they come out of the factory in good condition, but for others you do have to, is that correct?

and as to me not understanding why you have to make it flat.. well that was never my question since i already understood why it has to be as flat as possible.. my question was simply, is it not a factory defect if it comes out in a bad shape? and if so why not just send it back etc?
July 15, 2007 9:51:48 AM

Quote:
so for some heatsinks etc you dont have to do it because they come out of the factory in good condition, but for others you do have to, is that correct?


I wouldn't say good condition or not; the Ultra-120 and U-120 extreme are like that by design. The people at TR know that most C2D/C2Q chips are concave and they made their HS's base convex to match that surface. I think the bottom line is that some HS's come from the factory with pre-lapped surfaces while others come with intentionally shaped surfaces.
July 18, 2007 2:33:38 PM

I've had my Q6600 running for a few weeks to make sure all is well before voiding the warranty, but I'll definitely be doing this.

FWIW, the term 'lapping' comes from the motion used to polish the surface, normally a figure-8.
The trick is to not bear down, but let the weight of the object do the work.
I used to terminate fiber optic cables, and got the technique down pretty well.
July 19, 2007 1:33:00 AM

cool.. be sure you collect some temp data before and after and take some pics to share w/ others.
July 20, 2007 7:58:23 PM

You asked what's the point of making it shiny right? Well there I answered it.

It's not a fault per se, all mass produced things are manufactured to a tolerance. If you tried to send it back odds are they will send you the same one back as there is no fault because it was manufactured within the tolerance.
July 29, 2007 1:33:16 PM

graysky said:


I would recommend that anyone wanting the best $20 decrease in temps should consider lapping both the CPU and HS.


$20?? I lapped my HS and CPU and it only cost me around $.85 each for 3 single sheets of wet/dry sandpaper at ace hardware. Total cost was for my lap job was basicall $2.50
July 29, 2007 1:45:09 PM

graysky said:
@tool_462: Do you have a source on that statement about the two types of TIMs? The cermamique is like 1/2 the cost of AS5. Anyway, using a mirror a great idea unless you're superstitious.


I have seen extensive reading that indicated anything over a 600 grit finish gives diminishing returns, and that the particle size in the ASCeramique is about perfect for a 600-800 grit surface. So that if you are using Ceramique, going higher than 800 grit can actually give you worse results. In my case I got a solid 10C drop in load temps with a 600 grit and AS ceramique. 8C immediatley and and another 2C after a couple weeks of the TIM settling in.

The only reason people mirror the CPU is for the picture. It provides no measurable performance boost to the interface. And anyone who says that they tested at both 600 grit and 2000 grit and at the 2000 grit the temps were several degrees cooler obviously did not have the HS set as well for the 600 grit as it was for the 2000 grit.
July 29, 2007 2:26:43 PM

graysky said:
Well, after lapping my HS, I've had this nagging little voice in my head telling me to do the same from the CPU. I did the job with 800 grit sandpaper. Initially, I told myself I'd just buff what's there right now just to see if it's level. After about 30 laps in one direction and 30 in the other direction I discovered I had quite a concave IHS. So I just kept at it. Two 9x11 pieces of 800 grit later paper later I was left with a darn flat layer of copper looking back at me. I finished the job and put a mild shine on it with a sheet of 1000 grit I got from the local auto parts store just for the f*ck of it.

Here are a few pics and the temp. results I got from lapping both my CPU and HS. I would recommend that anyone wanting the best $20 decrease in temps should consider lapping both the CPU and HS.

Hardware details: Q6600 @ 9x333 and vcore of 1.2625V in the BIOS, P5B Deluxe (vdroop modded) cooled w/ an Ultra-120 Extreme (lapped) with Scythe/s-flex SFF21F 1600RPM fan, in a P182 case:

Temp results:
http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/5572/finalkf3.gif
Each temp. point represents an average of data collected over approx. 1 h time period during the 2nd pass of a 2-pass x264 encode of a 720x480 DVD source using a high quality video profile. Data points were logged by Speedfan every 3-4 seconds over this time period. The average CPU usage was >99 % on all 4 cores throughout the experiments. Also room temp was between 20-22 °C.

After about 5 minutes of lapping in each direction with 800 grit. You can see how the nickel plating has come off around the edges first which shows you just how concave this thing really was:
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/1487/lap1dd9.jpg

After more lapping most of the nickel plating has been removed expect in the really low areas (the camera flash fired so close to the chip makes all the scratches show up much more so than they do under normal light):
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/1806/lap2rx6.jpg

Switched to 1000 grit, here's the result:
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/7767/lap3nt9.jpg

Another angle shows the nice dull reflection, still very so slightly concave at the extreme edges, but good enough for me:
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/8664/lap4hc5.jpg

I would recommend that anyone wanting the best $20 decrease in temps should consider lapping both the CPU and HS.



dude can you recommend me with some sand paper?? and where to buy it??? cuz i did it but with some weak sand paper i thin
August 5, 2007 4:54:12 AM

can someone recommend me a good cpu cooler? aka heat sink and a fan for it if it needs one.

woah, this voids the warranty? hmm i gotta try out my processor for a while before doing this i suppose.
August 5, 2007 9:30:03 AM

boner said:
can someone recommend me a good cpu cooler? aka heat sink and a fan for it if it needs one.


woah, this voids the warranty? hmm i gotta try out my processor for a while before doing this i suppose.



You should get a Tuniq Tower 120. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835154001
Newegg randomly lowers the price to $44.99
Its a very good choice! You can also practice lapping the heatsink before you do your CPU.
Good luck
At your local auto parts store they have "wet & dry" sand paper.
Grit 320 will work best for removing layers (nickel plated cpus).
You can take it all the way up top grit 800 for a smooth finish.
When you have a smooth surface then you can use grit 1000 for a final polish look.
If you want mirror finish I suggest you use grit 1500 or 2000.
They sell assorted packs at the autoparts store.
August 6, 2007 8:33:32 PM

I just edited/updated the first post of the thread with a few more pics and a brief description of how I lapped the chip for anyone interested.
August 7, 2007 10:38:26 AM

Should I lap my Danger Den TDK water block for my E6600, Or are these blocks flat enough?
August 7, 2007 11:02:03 AM

Conroe IHS are really concave. I got 5-6C from lapping my E2160.
August 8, 2007 2:40:14 AM

WTF? I must be doing something wrong here. I recently got an E6850 and it was obviously concave based on what the thermal paste looked like after I removed the heatsink.

So after finding this thread (and others) I figured I need to at least lap my IHS, but I did both IHS and heatsink. Well, temps INCREASED 5-6C!!! WTF?

I even got the kit from easypckits.com and took both to the green (25 micron) grit. However, I didn't get the nice shiny finish that everyone else did. It was obviously ground down, and smooth and flat.

I'm none too happy.
August 8, 2007 7:16:01 PM

You just don't have them mated together very well. I'd suggest you reapple the HS.

If it makes you feel better, after I lapped my Q6600 the first time I seated the HS, I didn't use enough TIM and my temps were about 8-10 °C higher than before I lapped it.


Can you provide some details. HS brand and model along w/ thermal paste would be good.
August 8, 2007 9:53:38 PM

Ok, thanks.

Maybe I did put too little on. I've been trained over the years to use very little, but in this case it may be warranted.

Here's the stuff I have/used:

Core 2 Duo E6850
Zalman CNPS-7000B
ArcticSilver5
ArcticClean 1&2 or 99.953% isopropyl alcohol to clean

It sits in a small SilverStone SG01 case, so can't use much bigger HSF, unfortunately, but it served me well with my E6600. I just bought another 7000 to see if I just hosed my HSF, and results are the same. I will try to reapply a thicker amount of grease.

I tried both running a very small bead down the middle as ArcticSilver suggests, as well as spreading it out across the IHS. But maybe I'm just using way too little amount.

Thanks.
August 9, 2007 12:26:14 AM

Ok, I lapped the IHS a little more, seemed to flatten it out a little bit more, and made it a little more shiny. I added a generous amount of AS5, against my better judgement, and temps seemed to have dropped back to where they were. I may have gained a degree or two, but nothing significant. Maybe it just wasn't necessary. Oh well, at least it's running with decent temps!
August 9, 2007 7:51:49 PM

I think if you had a more massive HS that was also lapped, you'd see better results. Also let the AS5 break in for several hundred hours. You can see the difference this break in time made my my machine (graph in first post)
October 12, 2007 9:06:53 AM

October 19, 2007 6:45:34 AM

My idle temp for my E6300 is about 40 C. I have it oc'd to 2.45 ghz. Is this pretty high for an idle temp? I'm using a Freezer 7 Pro from arctic cooling. Have yet to try lapping though. I'm just not really sure how high is too high for the temp I guess. I believe Intel said it shouldn't go above 61 C. Any help here?
October 19, 2007 10:25:09 PM

well actually that is actually high cuz the Freezing 7 Pro cools down the processor... more than yours so i think that the heat sink is not touching the processor propperly
October 21, 2007 8:26:27 PM

Hmmmm, I'll look up instructions on how to clean and reapply my heat sink... maybe I set it in facing the wrong way.
October 21, 2007 10:05:27 PM

cool, when you were lapping the CPU, did the surface get hot?

when i lapped my heatsink i just kept the sandpaper on a flat surface and
and went crazy moving it up and down the paper really fast, going to higher grits to get a mirror finish but the surface was also really hot when i was done (which is why i didnt do it to my cpu)

cleaned up your image a bit

!