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Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme - Lap?

Last response: in Systems
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October 3, 2007 12:34:38 AM

This website has a lapping service for $16 when you buy the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme. Wanted to know, is it worth it to lap in the first place? I'm getting a Q6600 G0, Arctic Silver 5, and want to try and overclock to about 3.5ghz. Haven't done too much overclocking myself and never lapped so not sure how I would do on my own. The other thing is I'm not sure how good of a job they will do and lapping voids the warranty. So is worth it for a heavy overclock?

Lapping - Get the best performance from your heatsink with our Lapping option. We will lap the base giving it a nice flat and smooth finish. This option will Void the warranty of the heatsink making this product non-returnable once you have purchased this option. Lapped base is shown in picture to right. We start with a 220 grid and finish with a 1000 grit. Our goal is a flat smooth surface (not mirror finish).

http://www.crazypc.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&P...
October 3, 2007 1:35:12 AM

HELL YES!! Who cares about a warranty! The heatsink only cost $56.Only $16 for a totally flat and almost mirror finish base and all the hard work is done! It will definitely help lower temps. DO IT! DO IT!
October 3, 2007 2:09:37 AM

Yeah, I was thinking of doing it. Just wasn't sure how good of a job they would do.
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October 3, 2007 2:15:44 AM

For $16, it's definitely worth it. Some places charge $50. It'd cost you at least $6-$10 for the sandpaper and take about 2 hours to do it yourself. You'll probably get a couple degrees better performance with it lapped. As for how good a job they do, I have no idea. Try searching for reviews.
October 3, 2007 2:49:29 AM

"It only costs $16 to have the heatsink polished and void the warranty
making it unreturnable."

That is 1 heck of a sales pitch...

You don't need to pay them to void your warranty when you can do it yourself for free; the Ultra-120 needs no polishing,
it's flat and has nice finish outta the box.
Same unit installed on my CPU lowered temps from 65C to 45C under 50% CPU load; idle temp @ 38C.
October 3, 2007 2:00:33 PM

Well, they are lapping the base, something I've never done. I don't have any of the needed sandpaper so I would need to buy, plus it takes a few hours from what I understand.

The main issue is if voiding the warranty is worth it for a few less degrees and the other is how well of a job they do.
October 3, 2007 3:03:02 PM

Definitely worth doing it and its more than just a few degrees if you are working in a warm room or plan on over clocking it. And even if you're not its better, I got mine lapped at a local place and now I get about 35-38C with the Scythe S-Flex SFF21D under mild load whereas with the stock cooler it was 56C idle.
October 3, 2007 3:52:56 PM

@mad-dog,

The factory finish on my Ultra-120 eXtreme was not flat at all. In fact, it was quite convex. I spent ~$20.00 for sandpaper; 400, 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit, and less than an hour lapping it.

@Seraphic,

Lapping is fairly easy to do; all you need is a flat surface (I have a glass coffee table that I used), start with larger grit (lower number) sandpaper, take your time, do not press down (the weight of the heastsink is sufficient) and just make two or three strokes and then rotate the heatsink 90° and repeat.

Check the base after one full 360° rotation. You can check flatness by placing the edge of a new razor blade on the bottom of the heatsink with a strong light source behind it, and when no light appears at the intersection, the base is flat. Of course you need to check both side-to-side directions.

When the base is flat, use the smaller grit sandpaper to remove the scratches. Some will tell you that polishing is better, but as long as it is flat and you cannot see any obvious scratches, you should be fine. I got good results with the 1500 grit, and I really did not see any improvement when using the 2000 grit. Also, be sure you wipe the base down with 91% isopropyl alcohol on a coffee filter before installing.
October 3, 2007 4:23:10 PM

Guess i was lucky and got one of the straight units; really can't imagine any improvement over current temps.
October 3, 2007 5:12:21 PM

mad-dog said:
the Ultra-120 needs no polishing,
it's flat and has nice finish outta the box.



You must have gotten a good one because mine was very convex and had deep ridges on the surface. I lapped both the CPU and heatsink and only used 800 grit and my temps dropped about 5-10 degrees idle and load.
October 3, 2007 5:15:24 PM

Seraphic said:
Well, they are lapping the base, something I've never done. I don't have any of the needed sandpaper so I would need to buy, plus it takes a few hours from what I understand.

The main issue is if voiding the warranty is worth it for a few less degrees and the other is how well of a job they do.


It's a hunk of metal with a common 120mm fan. What would you call a warranty on?
October 3, 2007 5:24:08 PM

bliq said:
It's a hunk of metal with a common 120mm fan. What would you call a warranty on?


It could have bent heatpipes or arrive defective in another way.
October 3, 2007 5:26:41 PM

geofelt said:
The non-flat surface may be intentional on the part of thermalright, and lapping the cpu and cooler may not make a difference. Read about the review & test here: http://www.cryo-laboratory.com/forums/reviews-guides/67...


In that review he basically said he had no gains from lapping.

Also, I got an e-mail back from Thermalright about lapping the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme. It said:

  1. Hi,
  2.  
  3. There is no need to lap the heatsink. The base is designed to be convex to work better with the customized retention bracket.
  4.  
  5. Thank you for taking interest in Thermalright products!
October 3, 2007 5:30:41 PM

well if anyone tries that website let us know how good a job they do
October 3, 2007 9:00:07 PM

Well, I'd have to agree with Thermalright...
The Ultra-120 Extreme needs no lapping to provide superior results;
It achieved a reduction in CPU temp of 20C compared to stock heatsink/fan on a AMD K8.
October 3, 2007 9:37:29 PM

Can someone tell me why a company like Thermalright or Scythe or any other does not lap their own heatsinks? If doing this will achieve a significant drop in temperature it would seem to put them well up in the reviews that everyone reads before they buy. I'm not saying lapping doesn't work, I honestly don't know, but I am suspicious that it is over rated, Just asking.
October 3, 2007 9:53:12 PM

Depends on the application; most of the troubles people encounter
after installing a heatsink are due to operator error.
Lapping can, but not always provide a negligible improvement in
temps, my temps are so low that i see no need to even attempt it.
October 3, 2007 10:53:57 PM

If the base is convex do not lap it unless you also plan on lapping the CPU. All most all Intel CPU's are concave. That's why many water cooling blocks offer an option to bow the water block. If do both you may gain a little 1-3C max. I'm quite sceptical of anyone claiming more than that. Going to better thermal compound would give the about the same increase. AS5 isn't all that great no matter how popular it is.

Also keep in mind 5C will not improve your OC by much at all. And your CPU life is an issue at all.
October 4, 2007 1:22:34 AM

What thermal compound would you suggest other then AS5, Bydesign?
!