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The Definitive Guide to Unlocking Palimino XPs (Expert/l337: Version)

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Jul 24, 2001
I will in no way be held responsible for injury or loss of property if you follow this guide


After reading many, many articles on this subject, I’ve decided to write my own with the hopes that it can be informative and insightful for those among us who want a good system for the process.

As I said I’ve read many, many, articles and write-ups on this subject. There are a ton of materials, and methods, and and and…. And Iv'e come up with a system that gets the job done in a reasonable amount of time, with only a reasonable amount of effort.

Rear Window Defogger Paint / PCB trace correction Pen
Here come my first points. So many people have been trying thermal grease, and the problem with this is that the grease was never meant to be electrically conductive in the first place. Secondly the nature of it being a grease is that its petroleum based and will never dry, that’s just its nature. You want a substance that will dry and never run once dried.

On we go. Many other methods use substances along the lines of an adhesive, be it super-glue or nail polish. The problem with this is that it’s an arduous task that can truly set you back many hours, or a complete CPU…. This is not good..
The common crayon argument is: what if the crayon melts? Well what if it does? You would have many more problems to worry about then the crayon melting if it did. The substrate that makes the wafer and the wafer itself aren’t supposed to get hot in the first place, at least not hot enough to melt a crayon.

This seems to be the popular choice and for good reason. It’s thin, and doesn’t leave a residue on the wafer when removed.

This will be used to cut the scotch-tape. If you feel you’re incapable of handling a razor-blade, you should stop reading this article now, because I can’t be held responsible if you hurt yourself with it.

Wood Alcohol
Used for cleaning purposes. Denatured would be preferable, but Isopropyl is acceptable.

Used with the alcohol to clean stuff.

A Clean Surface
I mean clean; if possible a light cleaning with the alcohol would be ideal. If this is your mom’s antique/heir loom kitchen, it wouldn’t be a good idea to even try this on it, alcohol isn’t nice to varnish or veneer, neither are razor blades….

A steady hand and a clear mind
I’ll be the second person I can think of that’s mentioned this, It's imperative that you have this going for you. If you don’t have a steady hand you won’t be able to cut the scotch tape right and are likely to hurt yourself. If you don’t have a clear mind, you might become frustrated, irate, and kill you neighbor… I don’t need that on my shoulders.

This is where it gets interesting.
Now, i'm unable to get picture for this at this time, due to a lack of camera. So I will try to be descriptive as possible and if you have any questions just ask.

To start: Go to your closest sink, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You couldn’t even imagine what the oils on your hands can do when you’re trying this.

Now, take your CPU and all your supplies and lay them out on your flat surface, then clean it lightly with the alcohol. As I mentioned, make sure it’s an expendable surface. Clean the CPU with the alcohol, and make sure there is no thermal paste on it to get smeared all other the place, because this can really set you back.

Once it’s dry, take to strips of tape and lay them on either side of the L1 pits, over the bridge connectors. Take your crayon and just color in the pits firmly till they looks evenly filled. Now, remove the tape and see how it turns out, it should be an even shape, and should stick up above the surface of the CPU. Take your razor blade, and flat against the surface, smoothly clean away the excess crayon, so that it becomes flush with the actual wafer itself. Then EVENLY continue with the razor against the surface just to clean it off, but make sure not to gouge the wafer. Only do this for a few seconds.

If you have a green wafered CPU, you will have to take the corner of the razor (or a needle or straight pin) and scrape the substrate off of the connectors; if this isn’t done you will get no where, because that substrate will block the connection.

Here comes the tricky part; Take a length of tape that’s about 1.5 inches long and lay it on the edge of your table/surface where it’s been cleaned with alcohol. Make sure there is enough tape hanging over the side so that you can repeatedly lift the tape up, and so you can remove it. What you’re going to do is cut one strip along the length of the tape that’s about ¼ of an inch thick. Once you have done this, steadily lay it along (not over) the outer edge of L1’s. You can put it on either side, but make sure it doesn’t cover the bridge, but only it’s along it. You will now cut another strip, but this time it’s going to be small, I mean SMALL…. Err small. Small enough that it’s going to fit between the next set of bridges. I know this sounds crazy, but just give it a try, your going to need good light for this, and the above mentioned steady hand. Once again, be sure that it doesn’t cover any of the bridges, but lies between the sets. Now you will notice that it creates a divide between each bridge divide, and an open path between each actual bridge connector. Continue cutting these strips till you get to the outer edge, at which point cut another wider strip.

Now, we have created partitions between the bridges. You should probably clean that area with alcohol with a que-tip again, just to pick up any excess anything, make sure not to lift the crayon out of the pits, this would ruin the process.
Take your choice of conductive material, and ready it. The next idea is to make all the connections at once. Don’t worry about there being a connection over the tape, because we will eventually remove the tape. Also make sure you don’t accidentally make connection between the L1’s and the L3’s below it, or the L1 label or the Triangle next to the L1 label. After some previous mistakes, it turns out that those points can foil an unlocking attempt, so we should avoid them.

Now do the deed, the partitions should make it simple enough, make sure not to ooze the conductive material on there or it will have to be cleaned off and you will have to start over. Just gently apply it. Wait about 5 minutes and apply a second, lighter coat.

Now here comes some decisions, you want to remove the tape from between the bridges, but you can’t do it too soon or the conductive material could run across and connect to something else. You also don’t want to do it too late or the dried material may get lifted off with the tape which would be bad. For the defogger paint I recommend about 20 minutes. Once you have decided and gone through with it, it should leave 5 relatively even lines that all connect the corresponding bridges. Essentially like you would have with any other process.

Let the material dry completely, for defogger that should be about 2 hours. Once its dry inspect it thoroughly, making sure the material doesn’t connect anything but what it’s supposed to, if it does, you can try (without any guarantees) to lightly scrape it away with a pin or the edge of the razor, if this doesn’t work reference line #1. If everything checks out, and everything is connected as it should be, take a small piece of scotch tape and cover the bridges.

Install the CPU back in its socket; throw your thermal paste of choice on core. Put the heatsink on, and fire that beast up. Providing all was done properly you should have all the multipliers your motherboard supports available to you.

This process is what I used on both my 1600+’s and it’s worked for both. In-fact it worked on the L1’s and L5’s.

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The only thing i dont get, is how the crayon will go into the little pits. I mean, what do you really do? Colour in the pits? or do you break pieces of crayon off and stick them in the pits? I dont think you explained that part too well, everything else is good. Iam just a little worried about the crayon getting messed up.

just another question, could you use Arctic silver as your conductive material to connect the bridges? I dont feel like buying more stuff so i would just like to know if that would work although it doesnt dry.
Its like when you color something. The crayon wax rubs off, and sticks to the surface, loosly enough so taht you can remove it.

lol, and you wont need to worry about the crayon getting messed up, worry about your little processor investment.

*edit* Oh ya, what magnification power do you reccomend? Or do you not reccoment any at all? Coz, those things are damn small.....lol
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ahhh good question.... but how to adress it...

in my youth i have excellent vision.. magnification has never been and issue... i would say something powerfull enought to clearly read all the text on the newer american tender paper bills... thats the best i can think of..

Nice article.

I have a couple of points I would like to express though.

Rear Window Defogger Paint / PCB trace correction Pen
Here come my first points. So many people have been trying thermal grease, and the problem with this is that the grease was never meant to be electrically conductive in the first place. Secondly the nature of it being a grease is that its petroleum based and will never dry, that’s just its nature. You want a substance that will dry and never run once dried.

If you use Thermal grease then yes it is not as conductive as the Defogger Repair kit or the Pen if it is conductive at all.

The Conductive Grease is not meant for use as a Thermal Grease but as a Conductive Grease and it has more Silver in it than the Pen has.

The Conductive Grease is also Silicone based and as such has a high resistance against running under high heat conditions.

It's true that it does not dry, But it also won't flake off either.

I realize that you have your preferences as I do mine, But I felt compelled to make sure that anyone that might use the Conductive Grease doesn't get the wrong impression.
Excellent point, but remember that we put the tap ontop of the dried material, this prevents flaking.

Excellent point none the less, thanks for the input.
The magnifier that I got with my unlocking kit was a 6x and this applies to all of us old timers and the younger crowd that has vision like us older folks.:D It was also a hands free unit so you can just set it there and connect away.
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Alright, thx Tmod, coz errr im young also but lol, my vision is horrid....lol so now i know what kind of mag glass to borrow :)

Good guide Tbird! I think it deserves a sticky ness :)
A couple of points.....

I used superglue, and a paint brush to apply the defogger paint myself (everyone's got their methods... (the brush is a plastic model kit paint brush, a #0 size, with a few bristles removed to make it even smaller)

I did this on the two XP's in my dual rig, and both chips are green. I didn't remove any substrate from the contacts on them....you may or may not have to (can't hurt to do that step, however).

The keys to this, or any method are planning, preperation, and patience. You'll see posts about that mention "I unlocked my XP in five minutes...." Perhaps they did, but if it's your first one, don't rush it. Take your time and get it right the first time...

Plan ahead...do you have all the tools and supplies?? Are you going to have to run out and get another roll of tape, because the roll is almost empty?? Get two...you'll need some to wrap Christmas presents next month anyways... :santa:

Prepare...both a work area, and yourself. Don't attempt this hung over, while aggrivated, or ten minutes before you have to be somewhere else.

Let's stick this for a bit.... ;)

Cheers! :beer:


heh i was gonna cover the application of the paint.. but there was just so many ways to do it, most arent any better then the other.... me personally, I soak a quetip in alcohol, then wring it out. Then i twist it to a point.... and use it like a brush.

thats only because im too lazy to go find a good model brush. :D
ok i have a green wafer chip. i used super glue for the pits and a utility knife with a razor in it to shave the mound back a bit. i had some issues with running. also i think i didn't let the defogger sit long enough to dry. i waited about a half hour per bridge and then replaced the tape to mask everything off but my next bridge so i taped over wet defogger.

i have a few questions now. i used a defogger kit with "activator". do i need to use this. it says in the directions it makes the paint/adhesive dry faster, that's all. also i never removed any substrate.

if i wanted to go back and try your way, which i do. how would i go about removing ALL the superglue from the pit?

and lastly. my other thread was asking why i can't POST past 140 FSB when before my unlock attempt i was stable at 146.
ive tried that kind..... let me say it was nothing short of painful....
this is what i use.

Ok you wont remove any of the superglue... at least from not pits. it would be impossible to do this. rather what your gonna want to do is make sure its smooth on the top, and preferable level with the wafer itself. it also wont hurt to take a pin to the tops of the bridges just to make sure they are clean.
I don't feel like going to the store and getting a defogger kit, I want to buy everything I need online and I have seen unlocking kits on newegg, where can I find one of these kits, a site that I can use paypal to pay for it? A kit that contains the necessary equipment to unlock palomino processor. Thanks