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10900k delid + copper IHS installation

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Circaflex    3,635

How’s it going everyone? I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Over the last few months, I have found myself participating in many old hobbies that I either lost interest in, or just never had the time for it anymore. One of those has been overclocking and tinkering with my rig. It’s been quite the process for me, my last rig consisted of x99 so I have been out of the loop for some time now. I recently started to overclock my 10900k and I was able to reach 5.3ghz all core, 24/7, without much issue. The only concern was the high temps, I could max out at 80C when running prime or cinebench, which was not all that bad considering those applications put 100% load onto the CPU, which isn’t very realistic. The larger concern for me was the uneven distribution of heat across the cores, I saw anywhere from 3-9 degree difference per core. This led me to research delidding the IHS, something I hadn’t done since the P4 era.


Delidding is the process of removing the integrated heat spreader, IHS, from the CPU die. People do this for many reasons, most commonly the solder application is not efficient and you can have varying degrees over your cores, the stock IHS is generally not perfectly flat which can result in less than stellar temps, or they want to achieve extreme clocks and direct die cool. There are many different methods to complete this process and then various degrees of what you should do once you have delidded the CPU. The most used applications are:


1.       Delid, replace the solder with liquid metal and reinstall the original IHS

2.       Delid, replace the solder with liquid metal, lap the IHS, and reinstall the original IHS

3.       Delid, lap the die, replace the solder with liquid metal and install the original IHS

4.       Delid, lap the die, replace the solder and direct die cool (this means no IHS and your cooler sits directly on the die)

5.       Delid, replace the solder with liquid metal, and use a third party copper IHS.


Option one is the most common, but to me not worth the effort, you are better off completing option two which includes lapping the IHS. Option three is extremely risky IMO, I would be worried lapping the die could crack the die if you go beyond a certain amount. Option 4 is overall the best, but again risky because you are mounting directly to the naked die. There are sockets you can install to make this easier during installation, but you must use different mounting hardware because the height is different without an IHS. The last option is the method I went with, replacing the solder with liquid metal and using a copper IHS.    



Here are the tools that I used for this project:

-          Wagner Heatgun: Mine is extremely old, but it is similar to this https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Spraytech-0503008-Heat-Gun/dp/B00004TUCV/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=wagner+heat+gun&qid=1596213969&sr=8-5 (you can also use a hair drier)

-          Clear nail polish

-          Plastic razor blades: https://www.amazon.com/Shark-66-Plastic-Blades-10-Pack/dp/B00JH3TXCC/ref=sr_1_8?crid=3TLEIY13X3S1X&dchild=1&keywords=plastic+razor+blades&qid=1596214023&sprefix=plastic+raz%2Caps%2C226&sr=8-8

-          Rubbing alcohol

-          Thermal Grizzly Liquid Metal: https://www.amazon.com/Thermal-Grizzly-Conductonaut-Grease-Paste/dp/B01A9KIGSI/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-p13n1_0?crid=35DE94UP7HHAF&cv_ct_cx=thermal+grizzly+conductonaut&dchild=1&keywords=thermal+grizzly+conductonaut&pd_rd_i=B01A9KIGSI&pd_rd_r=bcd51bf5-f3e2-4f16-9d0e-1e5a1d57e082&pd_rd_w=2ygyp&pd_rd_wg=40nMF&pf_rd_p=13bf9bc7-d68d-44c3-9d2e-647020f56802&pf_rd_r=N784DR53N2M5BTD9CKGS&psc=1&qid=1596214061&sprefix=thermal+grizzl%2Caps%2C200&sr=1-1-791c2399-d602-4248-afbb-8a79de2d236f

-          Rockitcool Delid Kit + Copper IHS: https://rockitcool.myshopify.com/collections/10th-gen/products/10th-gen-copper-upgrade-kit (this includes the delid tool, the copper IHS, quicksilver solder remover, flitz polishing. You can purchase the items individually as well)

-          Locktite superglue gel: https://rockitcool.myshopify.com/collections/10th-gen/products/loctite-super-glue-gel-control

-          Clear packing tape

-          Q-tips

-          MX-4 thermal paste https://www.amazon.com/ARCTIC-MX-4-2019-Edición-rendimiento/dp/B07LF66ZSV/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=mx-4+thermal+paste&qid=1596225539&sr=8-3

-          Digital Thermometer



This can differ depending on the year/generation of your CPU. Intel originally used a paste that was pliable connect the die and IHS, down the road Intel began to use a type of solder to connect the two. It is still possible to delid a CPU that has solder on the IHS. This isn’t 100% required, however I would recommend heating the CPU for two minutes to help soften the solder. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show people delidding without heating the IHS first, but you can easily crack the die. I used a heatgun at 150C for two minutes, you can also use a hair drier if that’s all that is accessible. The delid tool can survive heat up to 400F, you’ll want to heat the IHS to 150C-180C. Once you heat the IHS for 2 minutes, it is time to delid. The heatgun I used can get extremely hot, so I just used my digital thermometer to ensure I wasn’t going overboard and melt the delid tool.



(Ignore the feet, but here you can see me heating the IHS.)




There are plenty of videos and instructions out there showing this process. You essentially install the CPU into the delid tool, clamp it down, and then use the tool to separate the IHS from the CPU.



Here you can see the IHS has been removed.






Here I begin to clean up the CPU and the adhesive that was originally on it. I used the plastic razor for ten minutes or so along with rubbing alcohol.





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Circaflex    3,635

Now was time to clean up the solder. I used tape to cover the pcb and applied quicksilver (rockitcool product). You apply this in a thin layer and let it soak for 20-30 minutes, then you agitate it with the qtip, apply some more quicksilver and continue to agitate. Then you begin to drag the goop off the cpu, using a qtip dipped in alcohol works well.










Once clean, I began to polish the die with flitz polish.



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Circaflex    3,635






And the final product



(Note there is alcohol still there on the die)

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Circaflex    3,635

Here I begin to prep the copper IHS




I applied a small layer of clear nail polish to the test pads on the CPU pcb to ensure there would not be a short if the liquid metal happened to overflow when the IHS was installed. You can use this, or thermal paste, liquid tape, electrical tape, etc. I did not capture the liquid metal application unfortunately, but I spread a small thin layer on the die and onto the bottom of the IHS. Afterwards I used the locktite(you can use silicon, some dont use anything at all, i prefer locktite because it shrinks when cured) on the for corners of the IHS, and set the entire cpu back into the dlid tool, with the relid guide installed for 10th gen cpus.








The final product





I did clean the IHS before applying my thermal compound.


In my initial testing, temperatures across the cores are now in line with one another, the difference between them is now 1-3C. I will apply my overclock again later this evening and test that, however, I don’t expect the overclock to improve but the temps might be lower and more consistent across the cores. Ill update back when I have conclusive numbers, but so far so good.

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