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Author Topic: Lapping mah Heatsink  (Read 5081 times)


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Lapping mah Heatsink
« on: 11 Sep 2009, 11:36 »

I put together a PC the other day and since I planned to over clock, I lapped the heatsink to improve the heat dissipation. For those who don't know, the reason for this is because you want to transfer as much heat as possible from the CPU to the heatsink, which will be able to dissipate the heat at a ridiculously fast rate. The smoother the surface of the heatsink connection is, the more surface area there is in contact with the CPU and therefore is better able to draw the heat away. You will still need to use thermal paste because it's impossible to not have some gaps in there, but it can cut down on the temps of your CPU by quite a bit depending on how well it's done. I've seen claims of temp differences ranging from 2c up to 10c, 3c - 5c is a much more likely goal to meet though and is still quite the improvement.

Also keep in mind that Copper is a softer metal than Steel so will not require quite as much time to accomplish.

Here is the process!

You'll need:

Wet/Dry sandpaper in 600, 800, 1500 and 2000 grit
Paper towels
Bowl of water
2 hours or so of your time

Alrighty, you will start off of course with your heatsink. This one is mine:

If your stock heatsink has that pile of shitty shitty thermal paste, use a wet papertowel to wipe that off.

We are off to a pleasant start with freshly cleaned heatsinks!

Now collect your things, dip the 600 grit sandpaper in the bowl of water and lay it on a smooth surface.:

You will want to use a paper towel to clean off the contact side of the heatsink,

Wet the same side of the heatsink and then apply a rice grain sized bit of dish soap to it. Use your finger to spread the thin layer of soap to that entire surface.

Place the heatsink contact side down at the far end of the of the 600 grit sandpaper.

Putting no weight on the top of the heatsink, just pull the heatsink towards yourself down the length of the sandpaper. Once you reach the end of the sandpaper, push it back to the other end the same way. We ended up doing this for 20 strokes total (10 towards, 10 away):

Once you have completed this, turn the heatsink 90 degrees to the next side. Repeat the process. Once you have done this with all 4 sides, you can clean the contact off and reapply water and soap to the heatsink. Also put some more water on the Sandpaper or just dip it in the water if you need to clear some of the metal shaving water off of it. Repeat 4 - 5 times.

After you've finished with the 600 grit you can admire the work you've done thus far!. It will not be much of an actual improvement yet, but you will notice progress.

Also if you are doing this with a friend and they have a Steel heatsink and you have a copper heatsink, you are likely to be finished before them on each grit. If you do you can call them lazy gits and tell them to hurry their ass up.

(That is loco_banana of this forum)

you will repeat the above with 800:

then 1500

This is loco_banana being rather irritated at the incredibly stubborn middle section of his heatsink. Mr. Premium Dark Soy Sauce is glowering dubiously next to his employer.

 and then finishing off with the 2000 grit papers.

You can see reflections in my finished heatsink. It's a beautiful thing.

Once the sanding is all done you will want to rinse the hell out of the heatsink. Make sure to get all of the soap and grime left over from the process off of the contact surface and whatever may have gotten in between the metal plates. You'll leave that alone, set on its side to dry and drip on a paper towel , while you put the rest of the computer PC togethor. the other alternative is simply getting a blow dryer to finish it off. Just keep in mind the heatsink will get hot as hell if you do that, so watch your fingers.

Yes yes yes, you can find this guide elsewhere but goddamnit I had pictures and wanted something to do in between calls at work.


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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #1 on: 11 Sep 2009, 12:07 »

Now I put the rest of my PC together!

Those are the parts I used. Links to said products including the case I used:

Motherboard -



Case -

I currently have a 8800GTS in there and will be replacing that at some point, not sure waht with at this point though. Will be replacing the PSU at some point and will be adding another 4 gigs of RAM sometime in the coming months.

got the motherboard in:

Once it was in and secured I got out my stuff to clean the CPU and heatsink before installing them:

Wiped them both down and let the alcohol evaporate. Got the CPU in and applied the super duper Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. smeared the little rice grain sized droplet starting from the center:

Installed the RAM:

Keep in mind that I installed it incorrectly. I accidentally installed it in single channel slots. Put the 2nd stick in the right slot and it's amazing how much it improved.

Things are getting plugged in! It's... it's getting a little crowded, but that's ok.

Ok, I never claimed to be neat damnit:

« Last Edit: 11 Sep 2009, 13:01 by ackblom12 »


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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #2 on: 11 Sep 2009, 14:04 »

We are off to a pleasant start with freshly cleaned heatsinks!

That is also my awesome thumb.
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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #3 on: 12 Sep 2009, 01:42 »

That is one hot computer. Me wants.

Is that no less than three dvd drives? I can get that you'd need two for burning, if you do the burns that way, but three?
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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #4 on: 12 Sep 2009, 02:13 »

Get a GTX 275.

And get the whole thing under water.

Also, finish off with some 2500 grit, for that still looks pretty rugged. Either that, or you need to find a new method of lapping, because even at 2000 grit, it can be done better.

« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2009, 02:16 by MrBlu »
rather than place the blame on somebody's undeveloped irony sensor, let's just blame the internet, k?
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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #5 on: 12 Sep 2009, 11:05 »

275 is one I'm considering definitely, Might go 260 though just as a stop gap for the DX11 cards though. I do not have any interest in going water cooling however, nor was I interested in getting a straight mirror finish. I was just simply not interested in the extra 1c - 2c of temp difference it was gonna make. If I do anything else to improve the cooling though I'll be getting a new heatsink somewhere down the line.
« Last Edit: 12 Sep 2009, 11:07 by ackblom12 »


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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #6 on: 12 Sep 2009, 13:18 »

Don't upgrade your GPU for about a month. Nvidia has something hot in the pipeline for September.
And if you played too hard it'd flop out and dangle around by the wire and that is just super ugly


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Re: Lapping mah Heatsink
« Reply #7 on: 12 Sep 2009, 14:00 »

Good to know, thank ya.
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