Intro

BEFORE READING FURTHER PLEASE KNOW THAT I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING YOU MIGHT DO TO YOUR PROCESSOR. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS AND YOU COULD KILL YOUR PROCESSOR IF YOU AREN’T CAREFUL

Just like with my 8700K’s delidding & copper IHS I had to find out if the thermal interface of the 9900K could be improved some. This will be the first part of a multiple part article series where I test different methods. This article will focus on the Rockit Cool Direct Die Frame.

The Hardware

  • Hardware Provided by Intel
    • Intel Core i9-9900K
      • SRELS - L907C559 E4 - P0 Revision
    • Noctua NH-D15
    • ASRock Z390 Taichi
      • Using P4.20 BIOS
    • G.Skill Trident Z RGB F4-3466C16D-16GTZR
    • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 250GB NVMe
    • Fractal Design Define S2
    • Seasonic 850w Focus Gold
  • My Personal Hardware
    • EVGA RTX 2080Ti XC Black
    • PNY CS1311 960GB SSD
    • SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SSD
    • Rockit Cool Direct Die
    • Coollaboratory Liquid Pro
    • Rockit Cool Copper IHS

The Delidding Process

If you didn’t know, the 9900K’s die is soldered to the integrated heat spreader. This technically should be the best way to pull the heat out of the die and into the spreader which then allows your heatsink to function. The issue is that there are still things inhibiting efficient heat transfer. There is the heat spreader itself and also the gasket rubber material that holds the spreader. There is also the fact that the die itself generates all of its heat on the bottom. Chips like this are of a flip-chip design and then built into the interposer and a majority of that shiny die is actually nothing but blank silicon. If you were to sand down the die very carefully you could also get better temperatures once you put the spreader back on.

Or you can go the route that I’m exploring in this article, direct die mounting. This requires special hardware and a trust in your own manual dexterity. By mounting your cooler directly to the die and using liquid metal or very high-performance thermal paste you essentially get the best cooling possible. What will limit you even more so now is your cooler, there will be no doubt that if you can’t cool your CPU after doing this that you just need a better cooler.

Pictures of the Process

Cooling Setup

To cool after doing the delidding process I’ll be using my Noctua NH-D15 with both fans installed and running at 100%. The thermal interface is simply liquid metal that I applied to the die and to the heatsink.

Temperature Testing Results

The tests ran were:

  • At Default Clock Ratios
  • At 5GHz
    • Asus RealBench – 6 passes
    • Handbrake X265 Very Slow

Test Result Table

GEOMEAN Max Min AVG
SSE2 Delidded 64 66 59 64
SSE2 Stock 70 71 63 70
FMA Delidded 79 83 60 79
FMA Stock 81 87 63 81
AVX Delidded 71 75 59 71
AVX Stock 79 84 66 79
RealBench Delidded 58 73 31 59
RealBench Stock 62 82 32 64
X265 Delidded 75 86 53 76
X265 Stock 79 90 36 79

Test Result Difference

Max Diff Min Diff AVG Diff GEOMEAN Diff
SSE2 5 4 6 6
FMA 4 3 2 2
AVX 9 7 8 8
RealBench 9 1 4 4
X265 4 -17 4 3

This table makes things clearer. Delidding helps immensely across the board when you push your 9900K to the limit and even when running at stock ratios. The only thing that sticks out is my own error where I didn’t let the CPU cool before running X265 delidded which raised the minimum.

Firestarter

deliddedvsstockfirestarterplot

RealBench

realbenchdeliddedplot

X265

x265deliddedplot

Conclusion

This project went better than I expected it would. The process of removing the solder was easy using the included Quicksilver. The delidding tool was also foolproof. I personally think that this is a totally worthwhile thing to do to your processor if you are looking to drop your temps every last bit. I do have opinions about Intel moving from paste to solder but it’s not all that big of a deal honestly. Everyone wins with solder, but you end up winning if you remove it and go direct die like a true enthusiast!