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Thread: How to lap your Core 2 Duo - results inside!

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    Default How to lap your Core 2 Duo - results inside!

    As you may or may not be aware, Intel's integrated heat spreader on Conroe/Allendale/Kentsfield CPU's can be pretty poor and uneven at best, so much so it can hamper the potential of the CPU to overclock hard. Lapping can sort out the extremely poor and concave machine finish that's found on so many retail chips and in extreme cases can lower your CPU temps by as much as 10 degrees !

    Disclaimer: Remember, if you do this to your CPU you will have smoked your Warranty up in flames, so make damn sure you're willing to take this risk before you give this a go, do not blame me if something happens. Having said this, I've never heard of anyone damaging there CPU from doing this, it looks far more of an aggressive procedure than it really is.

    Essentially 'lapping' is to sandpaper the top of your CPU under controlled conditions to even out the contact area, which in most cases is so warped that it has a detrimental affect on temperatures. It may be impossible to notice this just by looking, my X6800 looked completely flat and always appeared to make good contact with the heatsink but boy was i wrong.

    Tools for the Job
    - Sandpaper - 300, 600 and 1000 grit
    - A glass or mirror work surface
    - 99% isopropyl alcohol or equivalent for cleaning the surfaces afterwards
    - Why the Intel processor of course!

    Here's the test subject, an ES X6800



    1) Put down a 300 grit piece of sandpaper down on the glass/mirror surface and place the processor face down on it. Place three fingers over the bottom evenly and glide it round in a cross pattern. make sure you keep an even amount of pressure on the cpu, don't be to aggressive or too soft.

    After a short while (just a few minutes) you will begin to reach the copper finish under the thin nickel plating like so:



    In the image above you can see a few minutes work has sanded away the nickel plating on the sides but the rest of the IHS is still pretty much untouched, if this was flat in the first place this simply would not of happened. This is a typical sign of a concave IHS, and is in fact the most common by far.

    You may find the bottom of the CPU where your fingers have been gets a little dirty after a while, don't worry about this at all, it's not a problem - you will use the rubbing alcohol at the end to clean both the top and bottom up spick 'n span.



    A few minutes later copper starts to appear in the centre, again this is a typical example of how most Conroe IHS are, but yours may differ.

    Continue with the 300 grit sandpaper until the entire top is showing copper. At this stage move to 600 grit until you get a smooth finish, then move to 1000 grit and softly finish it off.

    1000 grit will not give you a perfect mirror finish, but in all honesty there are no real world gains to be had from perfect mirror finishes. 600 to 1000 grit is about the limit, anything higher is just a waste of time - it won't lower you temps any further.

    At this stage you just need to clean it up. Use the rubbing alcohol on cotton wool buds or kitchen towel/tissue paper on the bottom and top, it should dry within seconds.



    ... and here's the end result - a perfectly flat and smooth IHS that will give perfect contact. Let's move on and see some results.

    Hardware
    Zalman CNPS 9500 LED
    Intel X6800 overclocked to 320 x 11 = 3500 MHz @ 1.45V

    Results using Orthos Prime

    Code:
           Before Lapping (ambient: 21c)
    Full fan speed      |       Low fan speed
    Idle: 42 42         |       Idle: 46 46
    Load: 71 70         |       Load: 80 79                 
            After Lapping (ambient: 22c)
    Idle: 39 39         |       Idle: 43 43
    Load: 63 63         |       Load: 70 70
    Those results speak for themselves, with the fan at full speed the lapping job shaved off 7c at load, and with the fan at its lowest setting, a full 10c. Not bad for 20 minutes work if you ask me!

    If you give this a try post here with screenies and results!
    Last edited by Jameson; 27-02-2007 at 14:20.

  2. #2
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    Interesting results, only 3C different for Idle but 10C for Load.

  3. #3
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    hmm, i might do that to all my "retired" CPU's for practice.
    What?

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    i think i may do this, wow! impressive results. Does it damage the cpu if you touch the bottom? and you only go until the copper shows, right? (shiny)
    Last edited by Jameson; 27-02-2007 at 06:28.

  5. #5
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    Beware of this before you start the lapping journey.
    1). your CPU's warranty will be voids
    2). make sure you are grounded, any static occurs will kill your CPU
    3). you can't resale your CPU if you want too

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    its void from ocing anyway isnt it? or is that just if you fry it?

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    actually i would like to know if the technicians really can determine if the cpu was oc'ed. and if so, then how? maybe a separate thread for that explaining all the details, even for other components like video cards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuflo View Post
    actually i would like to know if the technicians really can determine if the cpu was oc'ed. and if so, then how? maybe a separate thread for that explaining all the details, even for other components like video cards.
    they can't, the only time you'll have an issue is if there is physical damage of some form. You should never RMA anything if you killed it though, but i don't count well handled overclocks in that category.

    @ deton, of course you can sell your cpu, there are people out there that won't really care, i've sold lapped cpu's in the past.

    @ smith, no, you should have seen how dirty the bottm of the cpu was when i'd finished, you just clean it with cotton buds and rubbing alcohol and it's restored, don't worry about dirt.
    Last edited by Jameson; 27-02-2007 at 06:33.

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    To my knowledge, lapping CPU only save you a couple degrees didn't know you can get it up 10C. Maybe of lucks? or certain CPU?

    Hey Jameson, hook up your water cooler to get it drop down 5-10 degree more and then crank the baby (X6800) up 4.5Ghz so you can re-claim your Super PI crown.

  10. #10
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    the conroe caps are so bad that quite a few are getting 10c boosts from lapping, though you are right, 10c improvements are the exteme high end of what you can expect.

    I can't wait to get my watercooling loop set up and get past 4.0 Ghz but i don't have any tubing at present, i need to order some! I don't even know what to expect now with the lapping job + water on top, it could be quite high, next weekend i'm going to go for it though, it's about time I kicked the crap outta this x6800

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    lol just dont kick it too hard i think mine is badly misshapen because my cooler is seated properly on it and 1 core is 3-5C cooler than the other one at all times. i think this is something i should invest in doing.
    Last edited by Jameson; 27-02-2007 at 21:24.

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    Would you consider it worthwhile lapping an FX-60?

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    I believe AMD chips don't benefit as much from lapping as Intel - they have much better IHS in the first place. You can probably shave off a few degree at best, but i wouldn't really bother personally.

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    hey i was curious because im going to be doing this tomorrow to my cpu ... and well i kind of threw out the black plastic that came with it to cover the bottom end of the CPU so what would i use to cover it? because i dont know if putting my fingers on it would be ok ..... thanks

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    It's fine to use your fingers. It'll get quite dirty, but it won't damage it. Just clean it afterwards with isopropyl alcohol.

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    would it be safe to cover it with black electric tape? because the only alcohol thats close to that one u just mentioned that i have is moonshine...lol...and i used to use it to clean my old computer....lolol....didnt damage it... =D

    thanks a lot man, im actually running out right now i pickup the 1000grid sandpaper....wish me luck...ill let you know how it came out...

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