[56k Warning] - Lapping My Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by Stumbling Goat, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    Introduction
    Ever since i bought my ultra for $69 I had the intention of lapping it. For those who don't know what lapping is, it is basically the process of sanding down a heatsink base to make it flat. The Thermalright Ultra 120's are renown for not having flat bases, but this is done for a purpose. The base itself is convex, meaning it curves outwards. The new intel processors have a concave IHS. This means that the top of the processor curves INWARDS. Thermalright, thinking they were pretty tricky though that they would match this by making a convex base. In actual fact, the concave part of the processor is actually located a little right of the centre. Meaning the two concave and convex bases did not match up. So, I though it was my duty to rectify this!!!

    So why would you lap your heatsink?
    The simple answer is, to increase heat transfer. If you have two flat surfaces against each other, there is more surface area and thus more potential heat transfer. In some cases, many people have received a 10 degress drop from what the original heatsink would of provided them prior to lapping.

    How? (This is not meant to be a tutorial)
    Basically, all you need is different grades of sandpaper (200, 400, 600, 800, 1200 grit), a sheet of glass, tissues, and some time.

    The basic method to place the sandpaper on the glass and slide the heatsink up, then bring it back down and slide it up again. The reason you do it on glass is that your heatsink is as only as flat as the surface beneath it. You start on the 200 grit sandpaper and work up from there to the higher grades to get a polish on the heatsink. What you want is a FLAT heatsink not a shiny one. Flat heatsinks are always better than shiny ones as the whole purpose of lapping is to create a flat surface.

    My Lapped Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
    Here are some pictures after each grade of sandpaper. Note, in some of the shots the camera focuses on my finger not the heatsink... It is alot shinier than it appears in the photos. Evidence of this is found in the reduction of the scratch sizes as you go up the grades of sandpaper.

    Without further ado:

    Here is the heatsink at stock. The base is very convex.
    [​IMG]
    This was taken after i had used the 400 grit sandpaper
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This was taken after the 800 grit
    [​IMG]
    This is the final product (after 1200 grit and some artic-clean)
    [​IMG]

    Hope this helped lots of people. Also, after i finished lapping my heatsink, i found i had put ALOT of ugly fingerprints on the fins/top itself. To fix this i got a bit of Silvo and polished it right up:D Looks as new, or even better :D

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    Goat
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
  2. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    Also, if you want higher quality images, pm me :D
     
  3. Menthu_Rae

    Menthu_Rae Member

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    So what temp drop did you get? I lapped mine, it's not perfectly perfectly flat, but a lot better than it was.

    Noticed more even temps between cores, and around a 2 degree temp drop under load.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    As it says, i haven't installed it yet (and its too late now :D) so i will give you guys the temps tommorrow. + I will lap my IHS, should be even better!
     
  5. Drew_

    Drew_ Member

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    Why not go to 2000 grip?

    Also use a sanding block to get a flat surface in the end and it's easier anyway

    I might actually lap my Thermaltake CL-P0310 Big Typhoon VX tomorrow
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    I dont need 2000 grit of shine. There is less texture for the thermal paste to adhere to if you go that fine. Also its really hard to find. Most people stop at around 800.
     
  7. -Sk3tChY-

    -Sk3tChY- Member

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    The thermal paste should 'bite' on itself, I think the flatter/shinner the better, the less grooves the paste has to fill in the better I believe, although I may be wrong, I'm by no means an expert. :p

    Also, I've read in other reviews that you should rotate the HS 90 degrees, and sand each direction evenly, which ends up in a smoother finish, you'll probably notice you have minute scratches/grooves all in the direction of where you sanded, had you of rotated the HS, or used a figure 8 method I think they wouldn't have been so noticeable.
     
  8. xpantz

    xpantz Member

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    Nice job.

    I have a 120 extreme I'm intending to lap.

    Gotta say though that considering the price of these aftermarket coolers and they way the represent them as the ultimate... that it might be good if they made them flat in the first place.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    Yeh, everyone should lap. I hope PeppeX and myself have inspired you all!

    -Sk3tChY- - More grooves = what???

    Think about it.


    Surface area!

    So if it is coarse, the surface area should be larger and thus more heat transfer.

    Goat
     
  10. AussieTemplar

    AussieTemplar Member

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    I'd lap - but does it void your warranty?
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    On heatsink - yes. But then again, a heatsink isnt a moving part and purley conducts heat. So if theres nothing wrong with yours form factory, then it should be ok to void your warranty.

    goat
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    On heatsink - yes. But then again, a heatsink isnt a moving part and purley conducts heat. So if theres nothing wrong with yours form factory, then it should be ok to void your warranty.

    goat
     
  13. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    that would be perfect logic if the groves in the HSF matched up the groves in the CPU heat spreader.

    My logic for not bothering with lapping to 2000 (I go to 1200) is that the tiny groves form drainage channels where excess thermal paste can squeeze out through. Mirror finish surfaces exert higher surface tension on the paste oil meaning paste does not squish as thinly.
     
  14. Annihilator69

    Annihilator69 Member

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    If the two surfaces were 100% flat you would not need thermal paste
     
  15. D00M.7RA1N

    D00M.7RA1N Member

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    Flatter surfaces less paste and take a few seconds to spread the paste evenly. IMO.
     
  16. Warpy

    Warpy Member

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    Thanks for the post OP.

    I had never heard of lapping before. Can someone show me what tools they use, I have a Ninja cooler and I'd like to reduce my temps more using this method. :)
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    This was my reasoning. The purple stuff is thermal paste.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the flatter side (shinier) has less surface area than the rough. Testing needs to be done on this though.

    Goat
     
  18. Warpy

    Warpy Member

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    Can you show me with a diagram how you do this as I'm a little confussed :o

    What do you do with the glass - is it just used to measure the flatness of the area you have sanded down?
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Stumbling Goat

    Stumbling Goat Member

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    You tape down the sandpaper to the glass. That way when your sanding your base, it should end up as flat as glass because it is underneath it. Google "lapping tutorials".They should clear alot up.
     
  20. Warpy

    Warpy Member

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    Thanks for that :)
     

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