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Lapping, Noctua NH-D14 and Tuniq TX-3

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March 18, 2010 9:04:36 AM

I'm going to disassemble my cooling in my PC tommorow after I get my new cooling parts. I've seen a few guides about lapping, some people only use a few different grits, some people go up to 2000. I've heard that you don't need to go that high, and going that high is only for the looks of a mirror like surface, but what gives the best temperatures? I'm going to buy the sandpaper tommorow and dont want to buy the wrong grit.

Can using grit over 1000 be detrimental to the mating of your CPU and Cooler?

Do I need to use more grit on the CPU as opposed to the Cooler?

I used a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and I'm worried the properties of it have decreased the cooling potential of my CPU and Cooler surfaces, will gritting get rid of that?
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
March 18, 2010 12:58:00 PM

I am going to be slammed because of what I am about to say, but lapping is a waste of time, and a great way to kill your CPU if you do not know exactly what you are doing. I think it kind of goes along with submerging your whole rig under mineral oil. Yeah, it is a cute thing to do, but really, what in the heck do you gain from it? After all is said and done, very little and the drawbacks out weigh the benefits.

Use pure alcohol for cleaning your surfaces, not rubbing alcohol. It contains other minerals that will leave a film on the surfaces, but really it is not a big deal either. Mostly, just use the right amount of thermal paste, and make sure you mount the heat sink correctly, and you will be just fine.
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
March 18, 2010 1:08:03 PM

I agree with jitpublisher!

I have lapped a cpu and heatsink. It is a time consuming process. Veteran posters are typically reporting a drop in temperature of about 2C. Sometimes there is no drop in temprature. For a very few temps may actually go up. Individual results will vary.

For the typical user or gamer a drop of just a few degrees is not worth the effort. In addition, lapping voids the cpu warranty.
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March 18, 2010 2:35:55 PM

jitpublisher said:
I am going to be slammed because of what I am about to say, but lapping is a waste of time, and a great way to kill your CPU if you do not know exactly what you are doing. I think it kind of goes along with submerging your whole rig under mineral oil. Yeah, it is a cute thing to do, but really, what in the heck do you gain from it? After all is said and done, very little and the drawbacks out weigh the benefits.

Use pure alcohol for cleaning your surfaces, not rubbing alcohol. It contains other minerals that will leave a film on the surfaces, but really it is not a big deal either. Mostly, just use the right amount of thermal paste, and make sure you mount the heat sink correctly, and you will be just fine.


At the moment I've experienced some increase in temperature after replacing thermal paste, so I'm trying to get them back down to a safe level because I'm not happy with 75~ when it was originally 73 70 71 70~

Overclocking voids the warranty too, doesn't it? But we all do that

I want to keep it at 4 Ghz, but I want to keep my temps at 70 C max so I will probably be doing some lapping.

a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
March 18, 2010 2:44:46 PM

Just remember individual results will vary. I guarantee it.

Regarding your temps - What was the ambient (room) temperature when you obtained those readings? Which cpu, heatsink, and case do you have? Which thermal compound did you use? What utility or application were you running to measure temperatures? What software or test utility were you running at the time the temps were recorded?
March 18, 2010 3:01:13 PM

Intel i7 920, Noctua NH-D14 Arctic Silver 5 was performing at 73, 70, 71, 70~ last week, after a few voltage changes and switching to a 'superior' thermal paste, it went up to about 78 max.

I've changed the voltages back and they're still higher, I've been thinking it was the 2% oil that was in the alcohol I used to clean the cpu/heatsink multiple times since that's the only difference between now and then (I switched back to Arctic Silver 5 and it's been given to to cure).

So I'm hoping that not only will lapping improve the contact between HS and CPU, but it will get rid of any impurities that may be left on the CPU or HS.

Also there seem to be a few markings I can't get rid of on the HS base that I don't remember seeing before.

To completely answer all your questions in brief:

I don't know, I don't have anything to test room temp, but it's not been any cooler or hotter, and in some cases it's been colder (keeping windows/case open) but the temperatures are still a bit higher.

i7 920 4 Ghz, Noctua NH-D14 and Antec 1200 (all my fans are on the same level as they were before my temps started rising)

Arctic Silver 5 was used to get 73, 70, 71, 70. I tried changing pastes to MX-3 which requires no curing time but they shot up.

I used Real Temp to check temps, Speedfan to check fan consistencies, Prime95 small FFTs for torturing and Cpu-z to check my CPU volts
!