Intel no longer shares die size measurements for its processors, but that doesn't stop enterprising enthusiasts from delidding and measuring the die as overclocker Der8auer recently did when he delidded the all-new Intel Core i9-10900K. Der8auer also played around with liquid metal and a custom watercooling loop to see if it would result in improved thermals.
Die Size Measurements
|No. of Cores||6||8||10|
|Die width||9.2 mm||9.2 mm||9.2 mm|
|Die height||16.7 mm||19.6 mm||22.4 mm|
|Total Die Area||153.6 mm2||180.3 mm2||206.1 mm2|
|CPU Weight (Without IHS)||4.34 g||5.4 g||5.35 g|
|Substrate Thickness||0.87 mm||1.15 mm||1.12 mm|
The width of Intel's 8th-, 9th- and 10th-gen flagships is identical at 9.2 mm, only the length differs. Going up the lineup, Intel added two cores two each chip. Those extra cores added ~2.8-2.9 mm of length to the chips, meaning in total, the cores on the 10900K measure out to roughly 130 mm2 -- or two-thirds of the chip's surface.
Knowing that, it's also clear how much space the CPU I/O and iGPU take up. Of course, much of Intel's I/O is handled by the chipset, but we reckon that if Intel were desperate, it could build a version of the chips without the GPU to increase the core count further -- though it's better off just advancing beyond the 14 nm process.
Intel has kept the thick substrate, but that's no surprise after the issues with bent CPUs when Skylake launched. However, the die itself is slightly thinner, which also helps keep temperatures in check.
Overclocking the Delidded i9-10900K
|All-Core Overclock||5.1 GHz||5.1 GHz|
|Temperature||Average 82.7 °C||Average 74.8 °C|
Der8auer used a retail sample of the chip for his tests, so these numbers aren't produced with a golden sample. Out of the box, most of the i9-10900K's cores ran at roughly 80 °C, with the coldest running at 79 °C and the hottest at 87 °C. Due to these high thermals, Der8auer wasn't able to overclock the chip beyond 5.1 GHz despite using a custom 360mm EKWB watercooling loop.
Der8auer kept the chip at the same settings for his second run. With the heatspreader and STIM (Solder TIM) removed and replaced with liquid metal, the chip ran an average of 7.9 °C cooler, or about 8.4 °C if you account for the 0.5 °C increase in ambient temperatures throughout testing.
Der8auer notes that you can expect about a 6 to 8 degree temperature improvement by delidding your i9-10900K. This is significant, but not huge, and Der8auer doesn't think the improvement would typically lead to a 200 MHz increase in maximum overclocks.