Preparing The RAM
During our first extreme overclocking sessions, we didn't put much effort into preparing the memory. We simply installed the modules into slots with their factory heat sinks in place. This strategy didn't work all that well, as we had to stop our tests multiple times when the hardware refused to start up. Although we can't say for sure, it's likely that humidity around the memory stick closest to the pot was responsible for these failures.
After drying the hardware, everything worked once again. And since this happened more than once, removing the RAM sinks just seemed like a prudent idea.
If you choose to follow suit, be careful: some heat spreaders are so firmly attached to the memory chips that they can pull ICs right off the PCB. To improve our chance of success, we warmed the module up first. Even then, it took a lot of effort to achieve our goal.
Before masking off the chips, we take advantage of their exposure to verify that our sticks are endowed with Samsung B-die memory. Without question, they're the best for overclocking.
The type of the IC is indicated on the chip, just above the red line we drew, “5WB”. If these were E-die chips, we'd see 5WE, or 5WD for D-die. Other manufacturers use different identification marks.
To protect our memory stick, we cover it with adhesive tape. The impermeable nature of this tape should keep condensation from ruining our day. Don't worry, the missing sinks pose no challenge to stability. Even at 1.6V, the chips remain cool.
The small pins at the bottom of the module are too close to the slot to be covered. They're buried under layers of absorbent towels though, and therefore less exposed.
Even without the sinks in place to trap condensation, the surface of the RAM doesn't seem to be much less humid. This picture was taken at the end of an overclocking session, and you can clearly see drops of water on the stick's most exposed side. Nevertheless, our efforts pay off: we didn't have any issues with system cut-outs.
It would have been easier to pile paper towels around the RAM to keep water from collecting on the PCB. But then the modules would have cooled down even more through the motherboard. Given that Samsung's B-die memory dislikes freezing temperatures, they could have then failed to function at high frequencies. For better or worse, nothing is ever simple with extreme overclocking.
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