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Mistrust Massive Moronic Mythical Misrepresentations!

Updated on August 16, 2008

On my controversial How To Destroy Your CPU By Lapping It Hub, a commenter named Matthew who I had previously deleted for spamming asked me two relevant questions:

Hal, why are you negative about lapping? If I said that I have removed the IHS on my Pentium 4, would say that's stupid and a way to destroy your CPU?

I know that my readership which has made me one of the leading bloggers on HubPages looks to me to analyze various situations and provide the most accurate advice I can muster. You can review the 242 Hubs I have written to date and read my position on everything from Harley-Davidson pricing policies to obtaining the lowest quotes to print a magazine to removing phrases offensive to Muhammad (PBUH) and one billion Muslims from a fellow Hubber's article. My readers trust me because I have no agenda: I don't sell anything (except my writing) and am not out to make a quick buck off any of them for any reason. I make the vast majority of my income by ghostwriting bestselling books and providing web content for major corporations: I recently completed over 3,000 tightly focused technical articles for a Fortune 500 company. I write Hubs primarily for enjoyment, thus I call 'em as I see 'em and my regular readers not only appreciate that, but keep coming back for more as my traffic goes up week by week. I have had one Hub alone draw over a quarter million visitors.

I regularly encounter various people/companies/groups/organizations online or offline who are making dubious claims and pitching sheer snake oil. You can see one of the latest by reading the comments at: Top Secret Code . Some of these are out and out scams created only to illegitimately profit from suckers dazzled by the hype. Others are urban myths and legends, beliefs that are widely held but have no basis in fact. Your particular hobby, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. I am not going to stand idly by while ordinary people who do not have sufficient grounding in a particular subject are scammed into paying $47 for a secret web code that does absolutely nothing, and I am also not going to stand idly by while similarly innocent people are told the outright lie that polishing an IHS is going to provide greater cooling improvements to a CPU than a top-ranked water cooling system.

Why? In my many years in business I have seen every sort of scam, fraud, swindle, hoax, deception, scheme, jig, artifice and outright lie applied by the ruthlessly unethical and by the more or less naively deluded. My platform on HubPages has allowed me to gain a considerable readership and I will continue to keep informing my readers whenever the Emperor Has No Clothes. Or Nickel IHS.

I don't spare anyone my tongue lashings. I have long followed a highly respected freelance job site operated by Deborah Ng. However, she stepped out of line and got called out by me in the: How Exploited Its Own Writers Hub. I have known Ms. Ng by reputation and thus strongly doubt that she set out to rip off the loyal members of her own writing community. But the bottom line is that whether by design or blunder she created a contest that exploited writers, and she should either apologize and end the misbegotten contest she created, or pay the writers who have been writing for free to enrich her website for over two months.

My weapons are logic and common sense. On the subject of lapping, I have shown that a micropolishing machine costs around $100,000 which would "lap" Intel IHSes and give everyone the "alleged benefits" of lapping. Why on Earth would a $122 billion corporation that spends tens of billions of dollars on fabs refuse to implement a simple metal polishing step in their manufacturing that likely equals their budget for coffee? As I stated in the comments:

The Prescott CPU family's bad rap for magma temps cost Intel millions of dollars of lost sales. So you're trying to tell me that this conversation took place at Intel HQ:

PR Guy: Our Prescott line is melting PCs around the world and one has even been implicated in triggering Chernobyl. Here is a brochure of a micropolishing machine that costs our operating budget for the next three minutes and which is guaranteed to drop CPU operating temps by 20 degrees C. Can we get it?

Paul O.: Nah. Just change the marketing on Prescott to show that it's an effective space heater.

The answer is not that there is some huge Intel conspiracy (which AMD would have to be in on as well) to spend untold billions on developing circuitry and then housing them in pot metal which overheats it. The whole concept that placing a nickel IHS over a copper layer acts as an insulator is absurd. If the heat transfer properties were that significant, then the exterior IHS would be copper as well. No, I'm not referring to a nanojoule or two: I'm discussing the type of inadequate heat transfer that would result in a ten to twenty degree Centigrade temperature delta.

The entire basis of this argument is that there have been reports from anonymous PC tech forum members who have conducted "scientific research" on their own rigs and then gone on to claim this level of extreme additional cooling once the IHS nickel layer has been effectively removed through sanding and polishing. Here is the essence of the conclusions: They are impossible. Why are they impossible? Because if I have a multi-billion dollar technology corporation with campuses full of highly qualified and educated engineers who hold one opinion on one side, and on the other side I have a bunch of teenies who go by nicknames similar to Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, and choose to manifest their hormonal excesses by competing for Alpha Male forum status in the "Who Can Claim The Highest Post-Lap Temperature Delta" (or for that matter ""Who Can Claim The Highest Overclock" which is similarly pointless and absurd), guess which side I'm going to believe?

As for Matthew's question of removing the IHS completely, you can also choose to remove the backplate from your Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master II and then run out to your backyard and make mudpies. Dang, it's your money and you can blow it in any way you want. You can defend your choice by stating that you read on the forum that running your Rolex without a backplate and cramming mud into the mechanism will make it keep more accurate time, regardless of the fact that removing the backplate and sticking mud inside will void your warranty (as lapping will void your Intel CPU warranty). You are fully within your rights of doing anything you want to whatever you own. And I'm fully within my rights, as I have stated previously, to analyze various situations and provide the most accurate advice I can muster, thus inform my readership that anyone who does that is a... yeah, here comes that word again... MORON!


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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      jazzdrive3, MrMarmalade and Chef Jeff, Thanks! Your support is much appreciated! Misha, please write me or request a Hub with the aspect of water4gas you'd like and I'll be more than happy to write one up! Everyone else, since you guys are just repeating yourselves ad infinitum, let's move this to:

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Love the Alliteration!

    • profile image

      Lattyware is an idiot, but is right about lapping 

      10 years ago

      The author here goes to great lengths to defend his opinion as 'unbiased' and informed. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

      First he goes on for many sentences about how he's written X amount of articles of nebulous content for an unnamed company. Apparently, he expects to use this as a foundation for his entire argument. In the real world, this doesn't fly. You really can't use your article writing background as evidence for what you say, because it's simply NOT evidence, which just so happens to make HIM a no different than a know-nothing relatively anonymous dipstick on the internet just like the people he mocks.

      I'd like to note an ENORMOUS and almost offensive flaw in the entire argument. He goes on at length about engineers and forum posters, "...and on the other side I have a bunch of teenies who go by nicknames similar to Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, and choose to manifest their hormonal excesses by competing for Alpha Male forum status in the "Who Can Claim The Highest Post-Lap Temperature Delta" (or for that matter ""Who Can Claim The Highest Overclock" which is similarly pointless and absurd), guess which side I'm going to believe?" This is the essence of an ad hominem attack. He doesn't bother countering their argument (coming up with hard numbers and real-life observations), but simply dismisses them by attacking their persons. This little romp outside of the rules of logic becomes tragically sweet when you read the author write, "My weapons are logic and common sense." It would seem he knows little of ACTUAL reason or common sense or he'd not have to stoop to dismissal to defend his position. I won't even bother to mention the strawman he sets up to knockdown with the IHS removal point of discussion.

      To counter what little substance there IS in this article I'll suggest to the author to subscribe to the common "cost cut where you can" mantra held by most every capitalist business in the world. Intel has shipped 10 million QUAD CORES alone since january 2007. Being the most expensive segment of Intel's CPU line up, you can well imagine that Intel's ACTUAL production numbers of CPUs is far FAR exceeding that number. Do you think that ACTUAL cost for the machines to lap the IHSes will stay at the $100,000 for MILLIONS of processors? There is the cost of installation, man power for the machine, MULTIPLE machines to handle MILLIONS of units, upkeep of the machine, insuring the machine, etc mixed into this whole equation. The bean-counters at Intel call the shots on investing in new equipment, not the engineers. Thirdly, do the legions of highly educated individuals at Intel take into consideration the idea that people might force the processors they sell outside of warrantied and technical specification? The answer is no. The engineers at Intel designed the processor and thermal solution to handle processors at a given thermal envelope. If they can achieve that without investing in a whole new 'lapping process' what incentive do they have to do so? If the processor can run at 70C because it's designed to be able to, why would they EVER lap it to have it run at 50C? There is no reason.

      I agree, the idea that a nickle coating is causing insulation is ludicrous. However the idea of lapping an IHS is NOT to get rid of the nickle coating, it's to get the most absolute flattest mating surface between the IHS and the heatsink as possible to maximize the area of -actual- heatsink/ISH contact as opposed to 'gaps' filled with less thermally conductive thermal interface material. There ARE benefits to be had from doing this as, as often as not, IHS surfaces ARE NOT FLAT, but instead slightly convex or concave. Why doesn't Intel address these inconsistencies? Because they have already built in a level of tolerance into the thermal envelope that their cooling solution works on. When an overclocking person handles this chip, and volts/clocks it far beyond the originally intended envelope, these tolerances are no longer acceptable as the processor originally needing to dissipate 95W, is actually pushing out closer to 150W. The 20C (which I will freely admit is an enormous overstatement of lapping benefit. From experience it's closer to 5-10C) difference generated by the formerly acceptable tolrances now is pushing far beyond 70C environment originally intended and needs to be addressed.

      Now, I'm wondering why I bothered to write this as the author so clearly does not respond well to criticism. Despite trumping up his 'unbiased credentials' he fails to realize two things: unbiased doesn't equal correct, and, he's not as unbiased as he thinks. No, I do not contend with the fact that he has no monetary motive. That does not however mean he does not have an axe to grind. He instead only has an ego, one that cannot bear to admit being wrong.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I hate to make a "me too" comment, but Latyware is bang on the mark.

      You're completely overlooking the reason why people lap their CPU. Yes, the IHS on a typical reatil CPU is perfectly adequate as the design engineers are very good at their job. However, once an overclocker starts to run a processor outside of the factory standard spec extra compensations for the cooling have to be made. This is mostly in the form of an upgraded cooler, be it water or air, and in further cases lapping.

      Although achieveing rediculously high overclocks may seem pointless to you it doesn't negate the fact that some enthusiasts enjoy seeing how far they can push their systems. Obvioulsy as the bus and voltage flowing through the CPU are increased beyond factory spec, so too does the thermal output. Lapping is simply another mehod of helping to transfer the heat away from the processor.

      Does lapping decrease temperatures as much as various enthusiasts claim? I most certainly could never see a 20*C decrease just from lapping alone. Nevertheless lapping does help to transfer the thermal output provided it is done correctly.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Lattyware speaks the truth

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm afriad you are sorely mistaken, an unfortunate misguided soul.

      There are so many people like you, drawn in by what seems like the obvious conclusion on issues. Look at the people who believe global warming is caused by Human activity for more just like you - spouting supposed 'facts' without any real information behind you.

      A CPU is a component that produces a lot of heat, when overclocked, it produces more heat, and you need to transfer that heat away faster. The contact point between your CPU cooler and CPU is very small, so if you lap your CPU (or just the heatsink, which is far more common), you are flattening it and giving it more surface area that contacts with the heatsink.

      I don't know if you understand basic thermodynamics, but the more surface area an item has, the faster it can radiate heat, as there is more contact with the substance it is transfering the heat too. Lapping can make a big difference.

      Now, if you take 300 grit sandpaper to a CPU, yes, you will end up with a 'brushed steel look' - you want a much higher grit to achieve the level of smoothness you will want. 300grit is not fine enough, and would only serve to scratch the CPU, doing the exact opposite of what you want.

      Intel don't lap their heatsinks for one simple reason. Price/Performance. They provide a heatsink that works with their CPU to keep it at the right temperature at stock speeds. If they lapped it, what would Intel gain? The average consumer doesn't care. The fact is, it's not worth the money for intel - if they save one penny a CPU, it adds up. However, for someone who has bought top of the line cooling and is pushing every single drop of performance from their CPU, it can make a difference.

      You clearly don't understand the idea of lapping, and so are coming to the wrong conclusion, that it is pointless.

      If you disagree, please do post a response, I will be happy to counter any argument you make.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      I have not read one of your hubs for a long time. So thank you for a well written hub.

    • Misha profile image


      10 years ago from DC Area

      Hal, write about water4gas, pleeeeeeeeeease :)

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Thanks for watching out for us. I wish I knew half as much as I should about these things, because since my earliest youth (long before a computer was anything more than a giant machine filled with vacuum tubes and large enough to fill three average-sized diningrooms!) I have had a great love for the internals and electronics & logic of computing.

      I often take apart old towers and try to figure out the workings, and I have found some old books used in classes so I can get to the bottom of the whole idea. I have become quite adept at doing some minor programming and had my students learn BASIC so they could program some robots I got for them to tinker with.

      A long time ago I actually designed a program that allowed me to do lab tests and have them read out in the doctor's office, but it was a primitive collection of wires and transistors and other things nobody uses in these times.

      Perhaps if I had been born a few decades later I might have learned more, but alas, her I am, so i applaud you and read your hubs with a passionate interest.

      Keep up the great work and I'll keep reading!


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