Thinking Of Delidding Your Brand New AMD Ryzen Processor? Think Again
When someone who is experienced in their field issues a warning not to do something, it is a good idea to heed the warning. In this instance, renowned overclocker Der8auer posted a video explaining how to rip the integrated heat spreader (IHS) off an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor. The process is known as "delidding" and it is popular among extreme overclockers and enthusiasts because it allows them to remove and replace the stock thermal interface material (TIM) with a higher quality paste and use direct die cooling. However, there are a couple of reasons why Der8auer strongly recommends against doing this on a Ryzen CPU.
The first reason he gives is that it is a difficult process, more so than usual. In his video, Der8auer admits that he is on his third attempt to crack open a Ryzen 7 1700 without destroying the CPU—his first two attempts resulted in the processors no longer functioning. He is hoping the third time is the charm, and (spoiler) it ultimately is, but how many people have the disposable funds to potentially burn through multiple processors before achieving their goal?
That is reason number one to avoid delidding a Ryzen chip. The second reason is that AMD uses a high quality TIM. At best, replacing the indium-based solder that AMD uses might only yield a negligible reduction in temperatures, and depending on what it is swapped out with, adventurous overclockers might even see a rise in temperatures (Der8auer will test this out in a future video). That is assuming the processor still works.
The tricky process of removing the lid from a Ryzen processor starts with working a thin razor blade around the edges to break up the glue. Der8auer demonstrates this by leaving the CPU in its plastic packaging, which he had cut to make it easier to hold. By keeping it in the plastic, there is less chance of bending the pins on the bottom.
After attacking the glue, Der8auer takes the CPU out of the plastic packaging and wedges a pair of Stanley blades on opposite sides of the chip. While doing this, Der8auer notices that he has bent two of the pins on the underside. Luckily for him they're only bent and not broken—if straightened out, they processor should still work as normal.
With the blades in place, Der8auer plops the processor on a custom heat block he made, with a bit of thermal paste between the IHS and block. The solder that AMD uses melts at around 157C. To account for heat that will be lost in the transfer from the block to the solder, Der8auer sets the block at 170C.
When finished with the process, Der8auer grabs the blades and lifts the processor away from its IHS. He does not test the chip in the video, though it appears the CPU was freed from its lid without breaking or damaging any of the sensitive transistors and other components that line the edges.
Kudos to Der8auer for sticking with the process despite damaging to previous chips so that the rest of us can see how it's done.