Intel Core i9-14900KS runs at all-core 6 GHz with direct die cooling - with headroom to spare

A Thermal Grizzly-der8auer CPU water block on the Core i9-14900KS.
(Image credit: der8auer)

Overclocker and tech YouTuber Roman 'Der8auer' Hartung has demonstrated how direct die cooling can enable a 6 GHz overclock on all eight P-cores of an Intel Core i9-14900KS, without thermal throttling. Der8auer used a custom liquid cooling loop that relied on a delidded 14900KS, a CPU water block making direct contact with the CPU die, and liquid metal to get the processor so cool that even nearly 400 watts of power consumption wasn't an issue.

Although Intel's Special Edition Core i9-14900KS can hit its incredibly high clock speeds in part thanks to more selective binning, another part of the equation is the processor's power consumption. Its extreme power profile calls for 320 watts, much higher than the 253 watts the 14900K's extreme power profile is rated for. In our testing, we saw the 14900KS consume significantly more power than the 14900K, to the point where even a top-end 360mm AIO liquid cooler couldn't prevent thermal throttling.

Der8auer had a very similar experience and showed how performance tapered off over a long period of time with the Core i9-14900KS with a 5.8 GHz overclock on an AIO cooler. Only with a custom water cooler was consistent performance possible, but the overclocking specialist wanted to go further by putting his 14900KS under direct die cooling.

Normally, a CPU's die (the actual silicon chip itself) is under a metal heat spreader or IHS, and heat is transferred via a thermal interface material (TIM). Sometimes the TIM is a thermal paste, but the 14900KS uses indium. Removing the IHS and cooling the die directly can cool things down more directly. While direct die cooling may sound exotic, it is standard practice for GPUs and non-socketed CPUs such as those used in laptops. 

Using an upcoming water block Der8auer developed with Thermal Grizzly, he demonstrated the process of delidding the 14900KS, scraping off leftover material from the IHS, and installing the CPU and water block onto the motherboard. This water block isn't all that different from one Der8auer showcased last year for Ryzen 7000 CPUs, which was also made in partnership with Thermal Grizzly.

(Image credit: der8auer)

With the original 5.8 GHz P-core overclock, the direct die liquid cooler dropped temperatures by more than 20 degrees Celsius. Power consumption also slightly decreased by 12 watts on average, as heat actually causes processors to consume more power even if clock speed hasn't changed. The extra cooling capacity from direct die cooling gave Der8auer enough headroom to hit 6 GHz on all P-cores while only hitting 95 degrees, just short of thermal throttling.

The Thermal Grizzly direct die CPU waterblock will have an MSRP of $99 according to Der8auer, and an RGB version with slightly better cooling performance will be available for "around $140." There isn't a precise launch date for either water block, but Der8auer says it will only be released when there's enough stock, which he hopes is in "about two to three weeks."

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.