Hardware stub

Skylake-X Direct Die Frame Cooling Bracket from Der8auer

Posted on January 21, 2018

Overclocking engineer "Der8auer" has come out with his newest product: The Skylake-X Direct Die Frame cooling bracket. The bracket is intended to replace the ILM (independent loading mechanism) on the motherboard, used to act as a shim between a delidded CPU and a cooler. The goal is to not only delid the CPU and replace the compound, but also completely eliminate the heatspreader. Traditionally, the IHS would be kept post-delid, just with better compound and with removal of the silicone adhesive. In this application, you would delid the CPU, refresh the compound, remove the adhesive, and leave the IHS off, then mount it in the Skylake-X direct die bracket.

Some of our recent delid-focused content, "What We've Learned Delidding Intel CPUs," has highlighted that a light silicone adhesive seal vs. no seal vs. heavy seal can have significant impact on cooling. Heavy seals, for instance, can easily result in worse performance than stock -- even with liquid metal. We recommend not resealing the IHS at all and just allowing the cooler to retain the IHS, but a seal is sometimes needed. Shipping is a good example of this.


Direct die contact completely removes the IHS. In our interview with Der8auer, thermal improvement largely hinges on the specific CPU that was delidded. Some have shown temperature reductions upwards of 10C, and most show a reduction in the core-to-core temperature delta overall. Other CPUs exhibit less senational thermal swings -- it just depends on the unit, particularly on which  SKU the CPU is.

This is a product not intended for average consumers. Risk is mitigated by using the die frame, but there is always inherent risk in the entire delid process. Using the right tools, most of this risk becomes that of user error -- but it's certainly possible that user error happens in first attempts. We'd suggest our "What We've Learned" video for some pointers, if considering this process. The price sits at around $60, which seems reasonable for the high level of precision that Der8auer specifies: 0.52-0.58mm tolerance from the thin part of the configuration, which is an expensive level of precision to manufacture -- speaking from experience. It's also a niche product with, likely, relatively low production quantities, and it's targeting $2000 CPUs -- so $60 seems reasonable.

As for cooling benefit, we'll find out soon and let you all know.

Editorial: Steve Burke

Video: Andrew Coleman & Keegan Gallick