RockItCool Claims Copper Alder Lake IHS Improves Thermals by 15 Celsius

RockIt Cool copper ADL heatspreader
(Image credit: RockIt Cool)

CPU Delidding gadget specialist RockItCool has revealed a pure copper integrated heatspreader (IHS) designed for owners of Intel's new 12th Generation Core (Alder Lake-S) desktop processors. As spotted by FanlessTech, the new heatspreader offers improved thermals, up to 15 Celsius better than stock, according to the maker. It has been designed to offer some other interesting benefits, too.

(Image credit: RockIt Cool)

The above graph suggests that with all other things being equal, an Alder Lake chip at 5.1 GHz ran at a max 70 Celsius with the copper IHS modification implemented, compared to about 85 Celsius before the swap. One must also remember that, as seen in the relid video walkthrough below, as well as replacing the standard IHS with a pure copper one, the thermal material between the heatspreader and CPU die has been upgraded to Liquid Metal.

Moving onto other claimed benefits of the replacement heatspreader, for brevity and exactitude, we will quote RockIt Cool's key features bullet points below:

  • CNC machined to tight tolerances.
  • Uses same relid guide as the stock IHS.
  • Surface area increased by 9.5% over stock.
  • Smooth and flat surfaces for maximum contact with CPU and cooling solutions.
  • Fits 12th Gen CPUs only. Tested on 12900, 12600 & 12400.
  • The Copper IHS is 100% compatible with the EK & Bitspower Monoblock.
  • Marked to show liquid metal application area to eliminate guessing.

The last bullet point is helpful. In the instruction video a previous gen copper IHS upgrade fitting is shown, and due to there being no liquid metal guides the user had to spend considerable time making a best guess of where to apply this slightly hazardous thermal material.

RockIt Cool has a vested interest in people delidding their CPUs, as it makes equipment to simplify this worrisome procedure. Whatever method you use for this delicate operation, delidding will void your warranty. Even with custom made tools to delid your CPU, problems can still occur.

(Image credit: RockIt Cool)

RockIt Cool's Copper IHS Kit - Intel 12th Gen is listed at $32.99. An appropriate delidding device from the same company will set you back a further $59.99.

Washer Mod Recommendations Washed Away?

Alder Lake processors are reportedly prone to damage from the pressure exerted by some air coolers. The elongated design plus very tight fitting clamps can result in a warped IHS, and that is bad for efficient cooling.

RockIt Cool doesn't mention it specifically, but we hope that its precision replacement has factored in reports about the (1mm) washer mod, and removed the need for such corrective fiddling. There are already 3D printed alternatives to the washer mod, as we reported earlier this week. For hardened enthusiasts though, this CNC machined replacement heatspreader might be a more elegant solution, with the bonus of improved overclocking potential.

While you are here, have a look over our recent Intel Alder Lake reviews and see how these new chips are placed in the ranks of the Best CPUs for Gaming in 2022.

Thermal Conductivity: Copper Trails Silver (and Diamond)

Pure copper is the best practical choice for your budget, with regard to replacing an existing IHS with something offering improved thermal conductivity. Copper's conductivity of 398 W/m K is way ahead of, for example, aluminum at 247 W/m K, and steel typically offers 50 W/m K or less.

If money were truly no object you could use silver (429 W/m K) as a material - but it would be ludicrous to use diamond, even though it offers up to 2200 W/m K.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Papusan
    From the article... If money were truly no object you could use silver (429 W/m K) as a material - but it would be ludicrous to use diamond, even though it offers up to 2200 W/m K.

    Silver is still a better way to go to reduce the gallium alloy (liquid metal) to fuse into the copper. Rocket cool should start offering an nickel plated copper IHS (at least as an option). Yep, this will increase the costs a bit but the price point shouldn't become so much higher for a relative cheap product as this copperIHS is.