Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Destroy CPU by Lapping It

Of all the incredibly stupid things people do to their CPUs, including overclocking them until they are hot enough to melt steel, the single most imbecilic modification has to be lapping. Using absurdly skewed logic and completely unsupported data, lappers believe that by physically grinding down the surfaces of their CPUs to make them flatter and gain better contact with the similarly lapped surfaces of their heatsink fan cooler assembly they will lower their operating temperatures up to 20 degrees C.







The miraculous advantages of lapping are evangelized by the same sort of online loonies who believe that Microsoft and AOL are giving away merchandise and cash just for forwarding an email message, three triangulated cell phones can pop popcorn kernels, and that Barack Obama was sworn into his Senatorial office with his hand on the Koran.

The process of lapping involves grinding down the top surface of your new CPU with 300 grit sandpaper, which is repeatedly soaked in soapy water. That is about as close as I can imagine to having a perfect formula to irrevocably destroy a computer processor. If the constant static electricity buildup of repeatedly rubbing a CPU with an abrasive is not enough, and even if you can make sure that all the little metal shavings don't migrate to the underside of the processor to short it out, exactly who told you that soapy water and silicon processors mix?

Lapping is supposed to be complete when the silvery surface coating of the CPU is all gone and it reveals the coppery colored core material. Of course this assumes that the CPU manufacturers have invested countless billions of dollars into Research & Development just to coat their processors with a completely useless if not wholly counterproductive metal coating! If anyone wanted to pit the indepth knowledge and understanding of CPU heat transfer technology, I'd always put my money on some socially handicapped zit-faced 13 year old kid in his parents' basement than I will on the entire engineering staff of Intel! NOT!

The lapping is not only restricted to CPUs. Lapping enthusiasts just love to grind down the surfaces on aftermarket third party CPU air coolers, some of which retail for over $100! The lapping lunatics forums are full of descriptions of how to take the mating surface of an expensive air cooler all the way down to the metal substrate!

Lapping not only immediately voids your warranty and prevents any RMA returns but does absolutely nothing at all other than create insane illusions in the minds of lappers who like to boast that they got a mirror finish on their copper IHS and now have dropped their overclock load temperatures into Arctic territory. The bottom line is that no CPU nor HSF ever require lapping and just judicious application of a proper thermal grease is more than enough to ensure proper mating and heat transfer.

If you are ever tempted to lap your CPU do this instead: stand on polyester carpeting with your socks while you press your CPU onto the 3500 rpm spinning gray 60 grit wheel of a nice Black & Decker BT3500 bench grinder. Keep going until the static tingle in your fingers turns into sharp shocks and the IHS is ground down to where the actual circuitry is visible. Now your CPU will work perfectly. If you'll believe that, you'll also believe that Microsoft Bob was the best Operating System in history, Enron stock was a profitable investment, and Hancock was a great superhero movie.