[ KB ] Lapping Your Celeron Processors

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[ KB ] Lapping Your Celeron Processors

Post by Derek »

Lapping the processor is the process of slowly and carefully sanding off all the nickel covering the CPU die (aka the CPU slug) in order to expose the copper core. By removing the layer of nickel and creating a smooth surface of copper there are less barriers for the heat to pass through and dissipate on the heat sink. Even without liquid cooling, lapping the CPUs will lower your CPU temps by a few degrees!

Before we get started, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
  • 1 - Don't sand too much off the die.
    2 - Clean the processor of any metal flakes after sanding the slug.
    3 - Be careful not to bend the pins on the processor while handling it.
The following instructions were posted by Cyn on the old BP6.Com Message Board:
  • 1 - Purchase wet/dry sandpaper in the following grits: 220, 320, 400, 600, 1500 and 2000 for the finishing polish.
    2 - Find a perfectly flat surface (using a window pane works well). The flat surface is crucial so that you evenly sand the slug.
    3 - Tape the 220 grit sandpaper to the glass and spray some water on it.
    4 - Cover the processor with tape (leaving the die exposed) to protect it.
    5 - Start sanding and occasionally wipe the paper to remove the metallic grit. Sanding slowly and evenly it took me about 10-15 minutes to remove the layer of nickel from the slug.
    6 - Tape the 320 grit sandpaper to the glass and sand the slug for about 10 minutes, wiping the paper occasionally.
    7 - Same as step 6, but with 400 grit paper.
    8 - Same as step 6, but with 600 grit paper.
    9 - Same as step 6, but with 1500 grit paper.
    10 - Same as step 6, but with 2000 grit paper.
Now you can reinstall the processor. Make sure that there is no metal dust or flakes on the CPU before installing. I used compressed air to clear my CPUs of anything. Before clamping the heat sink, apply a thin layer of Arctic Silver thermal paste to the CPU for optimum CPU/heat sink continuity.

[ I did this to my Celerons running in my BP6 machine and my temps dropped from about 48c-49c to around 43c-44c at 100% CPU load. ]

(The CPU slug on the left is covered with a thin layer of thermal paste, and you can see the CPU uncovered CPU slug on the right is like a mirror after polishing away the nickel and thinning the copper.)
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