I run Rosetta@Home on all of my computers, and my file server had only been using the stock cooling for the longest time. My CPU temperatures were constantly hovering around 55, which isn’t too bad, but a bit high for my tastes (especially with an Intel E2160). NCIX.com was selling the Scythe Ninja for $30 a while back, so I decided to pick one up. I installed it onto my CPU, and noticed that it wasn’t doing that much better than my stock heatsink. At first I thought that I might not have installed it properly, but the problem was worse than I initially imagined…

A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me show you these two. I pulled the Ninja off the CPU, and got this…

Pretty horrible contact patch, eh? I cleaned off both surfaces, and then measured with a razor blade to test the flatness of the surfaces. The Ninja was fine, but the CPU… oh boy. You’ll see what I mean with the pictures below.

People might call me crazy, but I rarely throw away the original packaging for my computer parts (unless it’s something I can easily replace). I grabbed the plastic covers that go over the CPU backing and the LGA775 socket on my motherboard (I’m paranoid, and I’ve seen a mobo ruined because someone dropped something on it) – these are key to protecting your equipment. I pulled out a sheet of glass from a crappy picture frame, and some 320-grit sandpaper. Following the instructions I found online, I started gently sanding away at the nickel coating on the integrated heatsink of the CPU. Again… pictures tell the story best.


You can’t really tell from the picture, but by the time I got down to the third picture, I could still read the text on the CPU!!! I didn’t bother with higher grit sandpaper, since I don’t really care about squeezing that extra little bit (and there’s talk that it might not help that much anyways). I reinstalled everything again, and fired up the system. With a bit of stress testing, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my load temps have now dropped to 45C. 10C drop isn’t half bad if you ask me.

I wouldn’t really recommend lapping your CPU unless you find you have a problem like I did. You can really screw up your CPU if you’re not careful, and nobody likes to break things that aren’t already broken. 😉