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Intel's Core i7-4960X Exposed: CPU Die Soldered to the IHS

By - Source: Coolaler.com Forums | B 47 comments

A tweaker from the Coolaler forums has de-lidded an i7-4960X and noted that the CPU die is soldered to the IHS.

Image Source: Coolaler.comImage Source: Coolaler.comA user who goes by the username "Toppc" on the Coolaler.com forums claims to have gotten an engineering sample of the upcoming Intel Core i7-4960X. As a true tweaker would do, he popped the lid on the chip to see what lies below the IHS, particularly interested, of course, in the method of thermal transfer between the CPU die and the IHS.

So let the good news come; the CPU die appears to be soldered to the IHS, contrary to what Intel has done to the LGA 1155 Ivy-Bridge chips. This is good news for overclockers and enthusiasts alike, simply because soldering the CPU die to the IHS allows for much better heat transfer than if the space were to be filled with thermal grease. This means lower running temperatures and thus room for higher overclocks. With the LGA 1155 Ivy-Bridge chips a handful of users would opt to remove the lid from their chips in order to get around Intel's decision to solder, though obviously at the cost of warranty.

Sadly, the image doesn't clearly show that it is an engineering sample of the i7-4960X, so we'll have to take Toppc's word for it.

Intel's Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X chip is said to feature a clock speed of 3.6 GHz and pack a total of six cores. It is expected to be released sometime during September 2013.

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  • -2 Hide
    ingtar33 , July 1, 2013 9:16 AM
    Well, the theory for why Intel used thermal grease and not solder on Haswell and Ivy Bridge, the one that said they couldn't be soldered because of the shrunken die size is now proven untrue.

    No other explanation then Intel either was saving money or artificially gimping Haswell/IB or both.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , July 1, 2013 9:36 AM
    But than wont the IVB-E die be bigger than standard?
  • 4 Hide
    basketcase87 , July 1, 2013 9:39 AM
    Quote:
    With the LGA 1155 Ivy-Bridge chips a handful of users would opt to remove the lid from their chips in order to get around Intel's decision to solder, though obviously at the cost of warranty.


    Should be Intel's decision NOT to solder (or Intel's decision to use crappy TIM).
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , July 1, 2013 9:39 AM
    Quote:
    Well, the theory for why Intel used thermal grease and not solder on Haswell and Ivy Bridge, the one that said they couldn't be soldered because of the shrunken die size is now proven untrue.

    No other explanation then Intel either was saving money or artificially gimping Haswell/IB or both.

    Possibly. It could also be that Intel needed extra time to devise a solder method for the smaller die. Not saying you're wrong, but I'm willing to give Intel the benefit of the doubt until proven wrong.

    This does mean that Intel has no excuse to not solder normal Ivy Bridges now, though.
  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 1, 2013 9:41 AM
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I think it's pretty clear now what Intel is doing, if it wasn't abundantly clear already. The whole point of the thermal compound on Ivy and Haswell isn't to pinch pennies or out of necessity as some have suggested. It's a way to further segment their desktop line-up by artificially limiting the overclocking potential of their LGA 1155 processors. This gives both Sandy and Ivy Bridge-E a sort of 'manufactured' advantage over Ivy and Haswell by offsetting any IPC disadvantage with additional overclocking headroom. It's a clever move on their end, it just sucks for the average enthusiast. Of course I got thumbed down to oblivion when Ivy Bridge first released for even suggesting that this might be the case. The prevailing theory at the time seemed to be that the engineers and scientists at Intel simply didn't know what the hell they were doing... lol.
  • 2 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , July 1, 2013 9:44 AM
    it's an engineering sample the 4770k ES's didn't use thermal paste either, but the OEM versions do. So take this article with a grain of salt.
  • -3 Hide
    nokiddingboss , July 1, 2013 10:54 AM
    and i thought amd was cheap... intel is cheaper but in a bad way. naughty naughty naughty. so i guess they can use their unused tp's to grease up their own butt's now that they are back to soldering.
  • 4 Hide
    balister , July 1, 2013 11:12 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    With the LGA 1155 Ivy-Bridge chips a handful of users would opt to remove the lid from their chips in order to get around Intel's decision to solder, though obviously at the cost of warranty.


    Should be Intel's decision NOT to solder (or Intel's decision to use crappy TIM).


    Actually, the problem isn't that they used the TIM (although soldering does improve the heat transfer slightly), the real problem is that there is a very tiny gap between the TIM and the IHS causing the heat transfer from TIM to the IHS to end up being radiative instead of conductive (radiative is the worst form of heat transfer). This has been proven a number of times from people that have de-lidded both IB and Haswell CPUs.
  • -3 Hide
    wh3resmycar , July 1, 2013 12:37 PM
    lol. leaking something and you can only leak "one" photo? fishy fishy.
  • 3 Hide
    physical , July 1, 2013 1:01 PM
    Being an engineering sample this doesn't really mean very much. IIRC the IB engineering samples were also soldered on.

    De-lid a production chip and get back to me.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 1, 2013 1:34 PM
    a lot of people complained about them using TIM in Ivy_bridge, but only a few people that delidded actually saw temperature improvements from the forums that i scoured when i was interested.

    not worth it unless your temps are seriously out of line. and if you're watercooling.
  • 2 Hide
    zero2dash , July 1, 2013 2:00 PM
    http://www.coolaler.com/showthread.php/305405
    You forgot to say that he ripped the core in half and killed the CPU in the process.
  • -1 Hide
    Chaoss , July 1, 2013 4:29 PM
    So basically 100mhz faster than the current top of the line CPU. Not all that impressive a difference
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , July 1, 2013 5:48 PM
    I agree with Physical, we need production chips to tell for certain. Anyway if this is only on their hexacore chips I'm not all that interested.
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , July 1, 2013 6:09 PM
    Remind me how you can safely rip off a soldered on heatsink from a flimsy piece of silicon.

    Also, I read that using TIM is in order to reduce costs, not because the TIM process is much cheaper, but because the soldering process is easily botched and leads to more failures. The TIM process gives good enough performance at a better success rate. Also, I heard that the small gap between the heatspreader and die is good for big heavy heatsinks, as they tend to crush the die otherwise.

    All of this I got from a Toms commenter who probably posted above me already
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , July 1, 2013 9:00 PM
    Just a question though... unless otherwise this is Ag sintered or the die has a sintered TiNiAu (where both process are also very expensive), how does Intel manage the adhesion of solder to silicon? I think this is a hoax...
  • 1 Hide
    cats_Paw , July 2, 2013 3:13 AM
    I dont really see much reason to trust this guy...
  • 2 Hide
    sarinaide , July 2, 2013 3:41 AM
    I love these threads, just for the tin foil hat brigade.
  • 4 Hide
    InvalidError , July 2, 2013 4:49 AM
    Quote:
    how does Intel manage the adhesion of solder to silicon? I think this is a hoax...

    They can do copper deposition using the same process as normal metal layers, use a chemical plating step to apply tin to that copper and solder the IHS to that. This is basically the same thing that happens on the side where uBGA balls are attached.
  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , July 2, 2013 5:05 AM
    Well as Intel starts to release that AMD is less and less relevant. It will try to wring out every dime it can. Just wait. The bean counters are sitting around trying to work out how to make themselves richer. The question is if the shareholders will also get richer.
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