The finished product should be clean and the connections clearly visible. Care must be taken to ensure that each new trace passing from the contacts is isolated from the other contact pairs. Should any areas be questionable, use the razor knife to cut a clear separation between the two pairs.
It would be an absolute shame to waste all your unlocking efforts by cracking the core of your new processor. As such, it is a wise and cost-effective choice to use a shim. Ideally, a shim should be non-conductive and should be able to securely fit around the processor without any shifting or movement once in place. Here, I have chosen to use the Tweakmonster Athlon XP shim.
This shim is made of a non-conductive material and features an open design that eliminates any possible contact with the bridges on the processor. The most important feature of the shim however is the quality of the design. These shims are made with especially strict tolerances to ensure that they are equally as high as the processor core. Some “other” brands of shims can vary in height and can actually allow the heatsink to shift and chip the core of the processor.
With the bridges unlocked and the CPU shim applied, the final step to preparing the processor is to apply a bit of thermal compound. It is very important to apply the proper amount of thermal compound. Using an insufficient amount will severely limit the effectiveness of the compound and temperatures will increase. Likewise, using an excessive amount of thermal compound will cause the compound to actually insulate the processor. This will trap heat inside the processor and cause temperatures to rise dramatically. One can apply the proper amount by only using enough to cover the face of the processor core.
If done correctly, there will be a paper-thin layer that is just barely thick enough to prevent the user from seeing the face of the processor core. The use of a straight edge such as a credit card or driver’s license allows you to spread the material evenly across the face of the processor.
Ready and Willing
With the completion of the fore-mentioned tasks, the processor is primed and ready for your overclocking adventure. Although overclocking is largely a matter of chance and luck, the efforts made in this article will ensure that there are no controllable constraints working against you. Contrary to popular belief, overclocking is not an inherently dangerous undertaking. Given the proper procedures, overclocking can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, which can breath new life into a system for little to no additional cost.
If you've been unfortunate enough to ever crack or chip a core, share your story in the forums at this thread. The four most heart-breaking stories will receive a TweakMonster non-conductive shim to ensure they never have that problem again. The contest will end October 31, and winners will be contacted via email.