Core i9-7900X is a 140W CPU. But we already knew from our launch coverage that overclocking pushes it way beyond that thermal design power. In fact, the most remarkable result from today's testing was how quickly the CPU got hot when we overclocked it.
Although delidding isn't necessary if you use the Core i9-7900X at its default settings, replacing Intel's thermal compound does become an important step if you increase the supply voltage by even a little bit. And if you're looking to squeeze more performance from this 10-core behemoth, direct-die cooling can help decrease its temperature by more than 20°C. The Direct Die Frame is available now; just be sure it's compatible with your cooler.
As you work with your own Skylake-X-based processor, keep an eye on its critical parameters. These processors have a maddening tendency to throttle clock rates without much warning. Bad BIOS settings can severely limit performance, so take the time to adjust the Vccin and Load Line Calibration options carefully. As for Vcore, adjust it sparingly since small increases can seriously affect operating temperatures and power consumption.
Also, know when to stop. Avoid pushing for a 2%-higher overclock when it costs you 20% more power consumption. That's critically important if you want to maintain high performance without compromising stability.
The world of extreme overclocking is subject to a completely different set of rules. There, a few megahertz separate record-holders from everyone else, so it's important to start with the right equipment, and follow up with a delicate touch for finessing knobs and dials in the correct order. Conductonaut thermal paste, which performs very well in ambient environments, fails catastrophically once temperatures are lowered to -60°C. Moreover, although direct-die cooling worked brilliantly with our water-cooler, it wasn't particularly convincing when we broke out the liquid nitrogen.
As for our MSI X299 Xpower Gaming AC and Core i9-7900X combination, it continues running well in the Tom's Hardware FR lab, fast, stable, and cool. This goes to show that overclocking, performed carefully, won't damage your components. Take things slowly, test thoroughly, and don't be greedy.
MORE: Best CPUs
MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy
MORE: All CPUs Content
While I enjoyed reading all of this, it's not something that would help me personally. I leave my CPU underclocked to >1Ghz so I can feel like I'm back in the 90's again.
One of Intel's strongest advantages over AMD for many years now has been their overclocking ability to push them beyond comparable AMD chips. But not only that, to allow future overclocking headroom for keeping the platform longer when newer and faster replacement generation chipsets are introduced. Poor thermals remove those advantages and not many people want to risk messing up their four-figure chip by de-lidding mods.
I hope Intel takes articles like these in notice and will step it up for their next generation of high end i7 and i9 models.
I'm guessing because the RAM limit is only 64GB? Where every other X299 board the limit is 128GB. That would make a huge difference in getting the higher speeds.
It is there to hold the liquid nitrogen and separate it from the die? Is there a reason you don't submerge the entire die in liquid nitrogen instead and lose the thermal compound entirely?
It looks like it has a significant copper plate on it. If you are already going through such extreme lengths, then why not use silver and make the plate as thin as possible?
Also, it's pretty interesting that cleaning the processor did not help with the delid, considering that people delidding older i5/i7s say the thickness of that glue is the primary reason that a delid is effective.
I thought the same thing. I was expecting the processor to benefit from the cleaning.
The cynic in me makes me think that the primary reason Intel switched to thermal paste is for planned-obsolescence and to prevent people from using old platforms for a long time. I'm pretty sure Intel wants to sell you a new processor as often as possible.
Cheaper manufacturing, reduced ability to overclock, Thermal paste that will probably dry out and slow down the CPU within a few years (which will make new models look faster by comparison) ... All these things are positives to a marketing executive.
Hopefully AMD becomes even more competitive, because workmanship isn't going to improve until Intel can correlate their drop in quality with a loss of profit.
AMD is willing to, since they currently can't achieve quite the same level of clock rates on their CPUs at the high-end, and know they need to do other things to make their chips more competitive with the market leader, like adding extra cores and using solder.