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Abilor shows TRUE GRIT (photos!)

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Howdy all.

I decided to document the process of arriving at my very happy overclock, as a show of appreciation for all the others who have worked hard to help me. You can see the system specs below for the hardware we're dealing with, but briefly, I wanted a rock solid 3.6 q6600 overclock that suggested sanity and decorum. Well, sanity anyway.

Since reading around here, there was so much I was doing wrong with all the right hardware that I'm glad I just took a really intense week to learn the ropes. I've been futzing with PCs my whole life, including a brief 2-year stint in a computer engineering curriculum, but had never heard of lapping, spot cooling, Vdroop, or all the other fun things I've found out about. I guess when you get right down to it, I just want to express my enthusiasm for other folks who might want to get into this, and I find that overclocking is its own unique skill set outside throwing together great gear, setting it up, and then letting it rot at stock, where you don't get near the value of your dollar for it. In my "real life," I'm a science and technology sociologist, and this place has given me a lot to think about since as a group, my field is deeply interested in the difference between hobby science and expertise, and "white coat" science. Now I'm blah-blahing, so I'll cut to the chase...

Okay, so here's my rig before I knew what the hell I was doing. I got some good hardware, slapped it in, and logged on here. And yes, I am a transformers fan, so you'll see that my theme is a G1 Megatron oriented rig. Briefly, some trivia, the Autobots' mainframe computer was originally named Teletraan 1, so I decided to make an "evil" version, and thus named it "Megatraan." And yes, I thought the movie was good. If you're further interested in this conversation, join me over at seibertron.com. Here's the rig:



Now, I got to a stable overclock of 3.6 Ghz with the help of many members, but my temps were astronomical, like 78C under load. It idled at 48 - 51. Here's why, among other reasons:





Yes, I know. FUGLY. I had lapped my chip a few days previous, and clearly **** my pants with the TIM. So basically, reading around, I decided that I would go for a TRUE 120 instead of the Zalman 9500, and that I would devote some serious time to the lapping and seating process. I cleaned my lapped chip off, and started lapping the TRUE when it arrived.

Here's what I found really interesting, check out the first lap of the lapping process:





You can see that I was doing dry figure eights. For the the first lap, I went up from 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, all dry. I did okay, as you can see here:



And yet, when I checked my contact:



This amazed me. Even with close to a "mirror" finish, I still had a giant crown on my chip. So I had little contact, made worse by suffocating in TIM. Wretched! So for the next round, I decided to try the old "soap and water" trick. I filled a glass with warm water, and added four drops of detergent. Taping the grit down on a glass frame (thanks dollar store), it looked this to begin with:



As I worked through the grit, it would look like this at the end:



I cannot say enough about the soap trick, and about going back and forth instead of in circular motions. I got a great process going where I would count to 20, turn, 20, turn, and so on, until I hit the whole thing evenly. You can see the crown wearing off here:



The thing that blows my mind is this was after the previous "mirror" shine. Vanity is not the proper gauge for this!

I also did the TRUE side by side with the chip, wet-working it the same way. I had extra 2000, and I never ended up needing it really. The TRUE was a royal pain in the ass at first. It rocked and stuck a lot, and this created an uneven pattern of wear:



You can see the rounded corners, but also how concave the sink was to begin with. I got better at TRUE GRIT wet-work by doing three simple things. 1.) Lube it. Lube it good. 2.) Once slick, let the TRUE's weight be the only pressure you apply to the sink. DON'T "lean" or it wears unevenly. 3.) Don't use your arms and fingers to "propel" the TRUE on the grit. Use your whole body, especially your legs. Hold the damn thing with your fingers, grasped as low as possible, but the back and forth motion should come from your legs in a "rocking" rhythm. Also, push the TRUE from behind where you want to go. Your fingers will never change position, but the force will shift from your thumb while you're pushing, to your fingers while you're pulling. You get it right when it feels like the TRUE is "skating" or gliding over the GRIT. It doesn't seem like it will lap it down well, but if you run your finger over the wet grit, you'll see how caustic it is. If you're gripping low, and doing it right, you might lose a wee bit of skin off your fingers. Embrace the pain.

Here's the TRUE lapping progression I had:



600 grit:



800 grit:



1000 grit:



Beginning 1500 grit, looking good...



What "skating" on the grit looked like:



Final product:







You can see the fugly corner wear is almost gone, and it's close to mirror. I could have gone to 2000, but I didn't see the need, and I had been lapping for four hours.

The acid test, however, was how the sink and chip met up:



Better, but not perfect. I found out that the chip flexes subtly when I applied pressure to the lap, and without the pressure, it relaxes back into a crown. It drove me NUTS, and the only answer is to use as little down force as possible at the end. When I pushed the chip a bit, I got perfect contact, and considering I was bolting my heavy, heavy TRUE down on the thing, I let it be. I was tired.

After four hours of lapping, the last thing I wanted to do was screw up the TIM. I ordered some OCZ freeze, which is great stuff, but I think AS5 is just as good. Now I have both, so good stuff. Anyway, this time I layed it on like this:



That is smaller than it looks, as the TIM relaxed to almost flat. It's still probably too much, but better than what you saw at the beginning.

I should also mention that it was around this point that I started bleeding uncontrollably from my fingertip. I don't know what happened, but suddenly everything was covered with blood. My wife insisted I post the drops of blood as I ran to the bathroom to doctor it:





So you gotta work for it. Anyway, here's the seated TRUE:



That scythe fan sucks. A lot. When I first tested the new setup, I turned my back on it for a moment and my CPU temp shot up to 82. OW! It was completely the scythe's fault, as you shall see.

Here's what the rig ended up looking like:



That's a 90cfm fan I got at Radio Shack last night. It's pretty quiet, and incidentally, my Radio Shack had great "emergency" after market parts, including a swiftech water cooling kit! Maybe the shack can make a comeback after all...

Best buy also had an antec spot cooler, which others have recommended (it's keeping Frenzy cool):



So at the end of the day, what's the setup?

QDR is 1600, for a clock speed of 3.6Ghz. 1.46 Vcore in the BIOS, 1.44 after the pencil mod. I have such mixed feelings about the pencil mod, and I'd rather not do it, but I have to jack up to 1.52 in the BIOS to get it stable, and that freaks me out more than the long-term effects of the pencil mod. As long as the setup lasts me three years, which I think it will, I'm good to go. I'm also at an SPP voltage of 1.5, a tick in the red, but the spot cooler is flowing over the RAM and North Bridge, so I think it will cope. RAM is linked 3:2 at 1066, 5-5-5-15. So everything is pimped up.

Here's my idle now:



Prime95 Blend (54C):



And the dreaded small FFT (66C):



Pretty chill, and loads better than where I started, especially the most vicious load temp peaking at 66C. The system is stable under 1 hour of prime95, and I will test it overnight now that it's set up right. The only other thing I will do is add another 120mm to the TRUE when I get more clips.

So if you read all this, thanks a lot! I'm so glad I found this awesome site, and thanks to everyone who gave me wise advice and wrote all those other tutorials and odysseys similar to mine.

l8r

Abilor


****UPDATE****

It's been ten days of total adventure.

The weather had been getting warmer, and I noticed that my sig OC was getting way too hot - folding at 65C with an ambient of only 23C. I deduced that my Lian-Li case was holding me back due only to airflow problems, specifically, the panaflow on my TRUE couldn't exhaust properly because the Lian-Li only had two 80mm fans in the rear. I had an Antec 900 to build with if I chose, as well as a Tuniq Tower just to try, so I got to work...

Some of you remember what happened next; I mis-seated the tuniq on the q6600, and booted it three times (and entered thermal shutdown) with no heatsink. SIZZLE. At the end of the day, the chip ironically is the champion, running fine in another rig. Both my motherboard and my RAM had to be RMAd however. The new mobo is in and running lovely, and some extra crucial ballistix are tiding me over until the tracers come back.

So with that hideous fortnight of troubleshooting and hair-pulling that I earned for myself finally over, I can finally report on the new build!

First, here's the new and improved TRUE and q6600. I did a few things different with these this time (see my lapping guide). I still went through the 220/400/600/800/1000 progression, but I spent more time with the 220 grit. I had trouble mating the chip to the TRUE because the TRUE was still pretty convex. I had at them both with the 220 for maybe half an hour, checking the surface mate every 50 or so "laps." This was all with soap and water. With the 1500 and 2000, I switched to dry, which really polished things up. With the 2000, I even started going in circles, and imagined that I was buffing the chip and TRUE instead of just sanding. Came out good:







For the install, I could never get a thin line of TIM, so I tried another method I now really like. I placed a blob over each core about the size of half a BB. If you use the AS5 "quad line" as a guide, imagine each blob at the 25% and 75% positions, like so: --0----0-- I checked the contact of this during all the frustrating troubleshooting and BSODs caused by the RAM and motherboard, and it was perfect, just enough all the way around.

Then I was done!

Behold Optimus Prime 95! (literally, runs Prime 95 with optimal temps):

**SPACE PROBLEM** SEE ORIGINAL THREAD

The next issue was airflow. I was convinced the antec would bring my temps down, but only with the best flow. Here's the meta-layout:



First off, the panaflow is actually in a pull setup, and dumps directly onto Prime's feet via the massive blowhole:

**SPACE PROBLEM** SEE ORIGINAL THREAD

The cool thing about this (literally) is that it gives the north bridge fan a bit more room to draw cooler air, without fighting for breath.



Previously, the panaflow was right on top of it. It also leaves more room for the Antec spot cooler over the RAM, and of course that lovely side fan that blows all the hot air from the North bridge and 8800GT out the rear exhaust. The bottom 8800GT exhausts directly through the power supply.

The fans up front help clear out the SLI heat as well. I added the optional fan since I had room, and the GPU temps dropped from 58/78 in the lian li to 43/62 in the Antec with the same OC (710 core/1030 mem)

**SPACE PROBLEM** SEE ORIGINAL THREAD

**SPACE PROBLEM** SEE ORIGINAL THREAD

<drumroll>

The final OC:



The ambient there is 31C, balls hot, and I cannot wait to install my air conditioner. My ambients will then drop down to about 22C. Optimus Prime 95 runs a 66C small FFT and folds at 58C @ 31C ambient. The Lian-Li idled at 45, folded at 65, and FFTed at 70C at an ambient of 22C.

I'm super stoked that I could conceivably get a 24/7 stable 3.7 OC on air at this point if my ambients go back down with the AC. Woot!

Thx fer readin.... Always love suggestions for further improvement (yes, the cables are a mess, will tidy when the 1000W ToughPower gets here next week).



*****FINAL UPDATE*****

Temps have gone down to a small FFT at 55C in 25C ambient! WOOT!
Optimus Prime 95
(13 items)
 
  
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q6600 (G0) @ 3.6; lapped EVGA 780i MSI 8800GT 512MB SLI 4x1GB Ballistix 8500 
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Optimus Prime 95
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750Gb Samsung f1 Lite-On AIO Lightscribe Vista 64 Ultimate Sanyo PLV-Z4 
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post #2 of 30
Nice job!

thank you for the pics
Silent But Deadly
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Silent But Deadly
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post #3 of 30
Wow. Thank you for this documentation! It'll surely help me with my quest to hit 3.6Ghz.
Quad
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Quad
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post #4 of 30
nice job! alot of work went into that.

hope the finger recovers
post #5 of 30
try using paperclips to attach the second fan lol. worked for me. doesnt improve idle temps, but improved my load by about 3C.
Obsidian
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post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the thing finally feels complete for now though. I'm going to try and find a 120x38mm fan with high static pressure next, though I don't want to give up my LED cheese. Maybe dual high static pressure LEDs, as you suggest, the "push/pull" scenario. Enough for one weekend though...
Optimus Prime 95
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Optimus Prime 95
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750Gb Samsung f1 Lite-On AIO Lightscribe Vista 64 Ultimate Sanyo PLV-Z4 
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post #7 of 30
That's pretty weird that the IHS would do that , that lapping was done well and looks good
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post #8 of 30
wow great job!
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post #9 of 30
Its great to see you successful. Great job. Nice thread.
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Lola
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post #10 of 30
Great Job man! The whole thing feels like an adventure story! I could almost feel your emotion when you finally are able to successfully set up your system up and running! WOW!

However, regarding your temps, I have a Q6600 @ 3.6 (400x9) with 1.46v (under load it is only 1.41v). I use Arctic Freezer 7 Pro as my cooler and added a 80mm Antec Tricool at the back of it to pull hot air out of the fins.
My IDLE temps are 40,40,39,39 with LOAD 69,69,65,65.. I did not lap my CPU and Heatsink as I do not know how

So, I guess that you should get a better fan for your TRUE since the temperature gap between yours and mine is only 3C even after you had lapped your CPU and TRUE.
YAM...2
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YAM...2
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