Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Decided to delid my Devil's Canyon CPU. Well, kind of…

delidded

When I migrated my PC into the Silverstone SG13 case, I mentioned that I had a few future upgrades planned. It was mainly two things: a SFX PSU and a better cooler. I have ordered the PSU already, although it has not arrived yet. The cooler was a low priority one, because I already had an ancient AIO water cooling unit, namely the Antec Kuhler 620.

So why did I want a better cooler?

It is because the Kuhler 620 was showing its age. The CPU temps rise past 90C when I run Asus Realbench stress test on my Devil's Canyon CPU clocked at 4.5GHz at 1.24V. Neither Realbench is as stressful as Prime95 or Linpack nor the Vcore is on the high side, but the temps are too high. To make things worse, the fan I use - the Gentle Typhoon AP29 - is much more powerful than the fan that came with the cooler. I asked around if the performance I see is what I should get from this particular cooler, and people say it should perform better.

Some said it is possible that a portion of the coolant has evaporated over the years. Even though it is a sealed unit, there could be micro sized holes than could be responsible for such a thing.

All I know is, it is not performing up to my expectations.

Water cooler options

So I looked around for a replacement and came across three candidates suitable for the job. The NZXT Kraken x31, Corsair H80i and the Fractal Design Kelvin T12. All of them were similarly priced and they all had their pros and cons. However after some thought, I rejected them all.

Why?

They all added extra weight to the PC. The H80i with the thicket rad with dual fans (yes, it fits marginally), the T12 with thicker rad and the Kraken with dual fans. I would probably buy a new cooler once the weight reduction has served its purpose.

But is there anything else that I can do?

Yes indeed there is. Delidding the CPU. That would result in an instant 15C reduction in load temps. And it would cost much less than a new CPU cooler.

Last time I checked, there were two methods to delid a processor: razor method which cuts through the adhesive that is holding the heatspreader stuck to the CPU circuit board, and the vice and hammer method where holding the CPU and whacking on the heatspreader sideways could break the bond between the heatspreader and the circuit board. But now there is a cheaper and a safer method. It still involves a vice. But instead of whacking on the heatspreader, you use the two jaws of the vice to put an opposite force on the circuit board and the heatspreader to break the bond.

 Vice only method

Which items to choose from?

I already had the mots important component, the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra (CLU) thermal paste, with me. I had bought that a when I bought the 4770K about two years ago. But I never used it. I was scared. But now that there was a simpler method available, I wanted to go ahead with the delid.

But I wasn’t sure which vice to get or which insulation tape to get. (Insulation tape is not compulsory. It is just a security measure because CLU is a liquid and it it gets leaked onto the FIVR circuitry next to the die, you can safely say good bye to you a CPU. So, those small components need to be insulated before applying CLU.) I searched Amazon for a vice and I selected a cheap vice that was priced at about JPY1,000 to see further details. I was amazed by what I saw. Amazon shows suggestions to what other people bought along with a particular item and the suggestions for this vice showed that people bought Coollaboratory Liquid Pro and Holts Black Sealer with it. Those suggestions were exactly for the purpose of delidding!

Capture

So I knew the vice would work. And I now knew about a sealer that would work in case I wanted to seal back the IHS. (You usually do not seal it back because the extra gap the sealer would introduce would work badly for the final outcome. You just put the CPU in the socket and let the retention mechanism hold the IHS tight in place. Yes, you have to carefully position it on top of the CPU circuit board.)

What about the insulation tape. I searched around Japanese delid guides and came across a very informative one. In it the author mentions that he used Cemedine Super XG first and then covered it up with insulation tape as a second layer of protection. I decided to follow his advice. I could find the stuff he mentioned I his article on Amazon.

Finally I placed the following order on Amazon.

But... things went down the hill after few hours from then.

I wanted to read about the delidding experience of different people on the forums. What better place to read about it other than the Official Delidded Club on OCN. After reading some of the horror stories, I felt that the risks were too high, especially for a CPU that goes on sale for $400 here in Japan. (No, I didn’t pay that much when I bought it. Frigging Dollar to Yen exchange rates!)

I wish I could have tested it with a cheaper CPU like the Intel Celeron G1820. But that is another $50 or so, which I was not willing to spend money on.

Do I really benefit from a delid?

After thinking about it for a while, I felt that the only benefit I would get from the delid would be lowering CPU load temps hence ability to run the fans slower for a quieter operation and lengthened CPU lifespan. The actual heat output wouldn’t go down noticeably (lower temps ⇒ less resistance ⇒ less heat generation) and even if there is more thermal headroom available for OC, I would not want to dump more heat into this case which already gets toasty when gaming. In fact, lowering fan speeds can work for my disadvantage because that would lower the volume of airflow inside the case causing components to overheat.

So, delidding wouldn’t really make sense in my situation. The risks far outweigh the benefits. So I cancelled the Amazon order. They have not started preparation so it was instantaneous.

Amazon order cancel

In other words, I chickened out.

I probably would have done it - even without any benefit - if I was 5 years younger. Or if I lived in the USA, I would have get it done through siliconlottery.com which offers a service of delidding the CPU, applying the CLU, insulating the FIVR circuitry and sealing back the HIS. It only costs UD 49.99 which is an amount I am willing to pay for peace of mind.

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