I have a wide gamut of stupid things I’ve done with computer bits. It’s a broad collection of stuff that on retrospect can only be best described using the word ‘stupid’. Not to be deterred by evidence, or learning or prolonged self-awareness, I’m now thinking of 'delid’ing my i5 4690K and trying to fix it.
A ‘delid’ is where you crack open the CPU into two bits, the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS - the metal block that you think is your CPU) and the underlying gubbins of the actual chip. Hopefully you end up with two bits and not several more, as Intel glues the IHS on pretty tight.
This is done so that you can scrape off all the old, cheap and dry thermal paste that Intel spent over 3 cents on your $300 chip on and radically increase the cooling ability. Typically we’re talking about 10-20C delta difference here, especially if you use a liquid metal rather than crappy paste.
So why do this, it sounds incredibly error prone? The reason is my i5 seems to be dying. For the longest time I could happily run it at 4.5GHz and it did a great job, so good in fact that I didn’t really have to upgrade as soon as I thought I would. So many sims seem bottlenecked around single core speed that I was in a good place for a while.
Recently though it’s started to heat up, in that previously under full load it wouldn’t even bother with 60C, while now it has started to creep up to 80C. I’ve also had a few thermal shutdowns, that I thought was my water cooler block pump stopping (but wasn’t, it’s fine). It has now got to the state that I’ve had to run it at stock 3.9GHz (the horror!) and it still gets too hot under load. The stability side is what gets me too, as I don’t really trust it to run solidly.
So my choices are to (a) buy something else or (b) try this first, hence the scaling back of how daft this is. I don’t have a lot to lose.
To delid I’m thinking of these two things:
- A vice to crack open the chip (I’ve forewarned this is stupid, right?):
- Some liquid metal
Believe me, I already have the 99% Alcohol.
They’ll take a bit to arrive, so I thought I’d journal this here. If anyone has any advice apart from ‘STOP’ and has done this before then let me know.
If you’re curious, here’s some steps on what is involved: