A PC enthusiast called Madness (opens in new tab) has put an AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X3D under the knife. He successfully performed a delicate operation to remove the integrated heat spreader (IHS) without killing the chip - a procedure popular with the CPU overclocking community dubbed delidding. After some prodding (opens in new tab) by a Hardware Luxx editor, Madness shared some exciting test results, comparing key CPU performance stats when gaming before and after the delid operation. The delidded Ryzen 7 5800X3D ran faster, consumed less power, and ran 10 degrees Celsius cooler in the same system when taxed by playing Forza Horizon 5.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D with its IHS removed smiles alongside some telltale but unsophisticated tools - sharp knife blades. The Twitter user used the blades to pry up the edges of the IHS while simultaneously applying between 150 to 200 degrees Celsius via a heat gun. With previous-gen processors, this process is somewhat nerve-wracking. Still, the 5800X3D adds a layer of jeopardy by positioning a multitude of surface mount components between the IHS 'legs'. Those would be all too easy to accidentally knife during the delidding. More established CPU designs can be delidded with less risk.
After delidding, an enthusiast might replace the factory TIM (thermal interface material) with something like a liquid metal compound or run the chip 'naked' with the risk of direct cooler contact on the silicon. Instead, Madness has followed up to say that he added Conductonaut compound to the dies and replaced the IHS.
Ultimately, the results of delidding are more important than the process, and Madness achieved an impressive result. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D ran 10 degrees Celsius cooler under heavy workloads after the operation. It isn't the only benefit; the 3D V-cache chip also showed improved power consumption and better boost clocks. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a locked chip, so you can't overclock the CPU, but workarounds have emerged that allow tuning. It would be interesting to see the results of overclocking with the delidded chip.
Another (opens in new tab) exciting image from Madness revealed a vacant second pad area in the 5800X3D with a sliver of protective material lifted off. It isn't normal for a single CCD Ryzen to have a second pad like this.