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What Is a CPU's IHS? A Basic Definition

IHS stands for integrated heat spreader. The IHS is the metal exterior lid of a CPU’s processor. It serves as both a protective shell around the processing silicon and a pathway for heat to be exchanged between the CPU and your CPU cooler.

Some very intrepid overclockers use a process called delidding to remove their processor's stock IHS and replace it with even more conductive material. No matter how good your IHS is, however, it must always be used in concert with some kind of CPU cooler. For more on delidding, check out our tutorial on how to delid your CPU and what you'll gain

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

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