Roman Hartung, the renowned overclocker who goes by the online moniker "der8auer," has ripped the integrated heatspreader (IHS) off of more than a few processors. The practice is known as delidding and one of the reasons why adventurous overclockers attempt the risky procedure is to replace the thermal interface material (TIM) with higher quality paste. It is also neat to see what a naked processor looks like, and to that end, der8auer posted an image to Facebook showing a delidded Intel Core i9-7920X processor.
The Core i9-7920X is a high-end desktop (HEDT) chips based on Intel's performance oriented Skylake-X architecture. It is not the top chip in the Skylake-X stack—that rung is occupied with the Core i9-7980XE Extreme Edition—but is just as big (physically) as the rest of the enthusiast lineup. Here is a look:
Isn't she a beauty? The Core i9-7920X is also quite the powerhouse—it boasts 12 physical cores and 24 threads of computing muscle, with a 2.9GHz base clock and 4.3GHz Turbo clock (or 4.4GHz if boosting just a single core). This is supplemented with 16.5MB of L3 cache. And perhaps more importantly for power users, the Core i9-7920X offers access to 44 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes.
It takes a bit of bravery to delid this chip, as it carries a retail price of $1,199. In the old days, delidding was a delicate process that involved heat, a razor, a steady hand, lots of patience, and maybe a bit of ill-placed courage. And in some cases all of that still applies. However, der8auer designed a special tool called the Delid-Die-Mate X that makes the process easier.
There is still some risk involved, though overclockers who are looking to squeeze the most performance out their Skylake-X chips may find that it is worth it. That is because Intel is still using a TIM solution underneath the heatspreader instead of higher quality solder. Applying better TIM than what Intel is using can lower temperatures, which potentially yields greater overclocking headroom.
Top Image Source: Facebook via der8auer