What is Delidding?
Delidding is a practice used by overclocking enthusiasts where the protective lid of a CPU, also called the Integrated Heat Spreader(IHS), is removed in order to replace the thermal compound between the CPU die and the IHS. Intel uses a cheap, low quality thermal compound to reduce manufacturing costs. There is glue used to connect the IHS to the PCB(in order to keep everything intact), which creates a large gap between the CPU die and the IHS. This thick gap is filled using a thermal compound, which isn’t as efficient as a thinner gap. As a result, you can achieve slightly lower load temperatures by removing the glue from the PCB/IHS, replacing the thick layer of factory-applied thermal compound with a thinner layer of higher quality TIM(thermal interface material), and reapplying the IHS.
To visualize this process, here are graphics provided on the Rockit 88 Kickstarter page:
CPU before delidding. Source: Rockit 88 Kickstarter page
CPU after delidding. Source: Rockit 88 Kickstarter page
Delidding has always been done in a very “hackish” way. It involves using a blade of some sort, and carefully making a cut into the adhesive between the PCB and IHS of the CPU. The process is extremely risky, and the slightest mistake can destroy your CPU. You might accidentally cut in too far and damage the silicon, or on some older CPUs, you can scratch onboard components. Quite obviously, attempting to delid your CPU will void your warranty, so its done completely at your own risk.
Rockit 88 Delidding Device Makes it Easy
The Rockit 88 is a mechanical device that makes the delidding process substantially easier. It appears that the user places the CPU into the tray of the device, and twists a screw, which then gradually cuts into the correct location of the CPU, causing the IHS/lid to come off. Overall, this is a much safer way to delid a CPU then manually making the incisions with a blade. Manually cutting off the IHS with a blade is very difficult as it requires some degree of force to get through the adhesive material, and once you finally get through, Newton’s first law of motion means that your hand will want to continue moving forward, which can result in scratching the silicon die if you don’t control your force. By utilizing a mechanical device to delid your CPU via a screw/knob, it makes it very easy to carefully cut off the IHS without accidentally damaging the CPU.
Currently on Kickstarter, the product received $3,025 in funding from 74 backers as of the time of writing, with a goal of just $600. Currently, they have demonstrated a working prototype, and the team is preparing to begin production of the device to ship to backers, and for sale. The cost of the device has not yet been announced, however backing the project with $35 reserves you the tool. The device is stated to work with desktop Haswell(i3/i5/i7 4000 series), Devil’s Canyon(i5 4690k/i7 4790k) and desktop Skylake(i3/i5/i7 6000 series) CPUs, “and more”. It is currently unclear which other CPUs are supported. If this product succeeds, it’s quite likely they’ll make future versions of the tool that fit the dimensions of newer CPUs as they come out. The team is also currently working on finishing the relid tool, to make that process easier as well.
Below is a video of the device in action from Kickstarter:
Is Delidding Worth it?
Statistics provided on the Kickstarter page indicate that delidding reduced temperatures of a heavily overclocked CPU by up to 10 degrees Celsius. Looking online on various forums and message boards, users seem to be experiencing temperatures that are anywhere from 3-10 degrees cooler during heavy overclocks after delidding their CPU. Obviously, results will vary between different CPUs depending on a variety of factors, but generally, the benefit provided by delidding is minimal. For this reason, delidding is only recommended for enthusiasts either willing to risk destroying their expensive CPU, or for those with enough money to not care. If you don’t have a high end liquid cooling device for your CPU, there’s little to gain by delidding your CPU. I would only recommend delidding your CPU if you’re pushing for an extremely high overclock(4.8 ghz+), and have a high end cooling solution in place.
While the device is advertised as having “no risk”, it’s likely that users will find a way to break their CPU with it- no device is fool proof. If you do buy the device when it shows up for sale, be sure to follow directions very carefully, ideally watching a video tutorial online if available. If you’re new to working with computer hardware and overclocking, this product most likely isn’t for you. If you’re an experienced overclocker looking for a new way to push your overclock to the limits, but are looking for a way to reduce the risk of breaking your CPU when delidding, this product/kickstarter may be of interest to you. It is probably best to wait for reviews before ordering the product, to be sure that the product works as intended when exposed to customers worldwide.
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the creators of the Rockit 88 delidding tool in any way.