Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 16, 2015 - 12:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MSI Die Guard, MSI CPU Guard, msi
Personally, I am running a Haswell CPU (“Devil's Canyon”). I don't have any experience with building Skylake-based systems. A few of my coworkers at PC Perspective do, though. They seem to think that the issue is a bit out-of-proportion, except maybe in situations where a PC with a large CPU cooler needs to be transported. Also, Morry has used a similar product, the MSI Die Guard, with his delidding project for QuakeCon 2014, and it failed to prevent his die from cracking. Granted, protecting a bare die is much different from bracing a CPU that still has its heatspreader.
Image Credit: MSI
Those two issues should be kept in mind, though. We're skeptical of the problem in general and, even then, the one time that we used a similar product, it didn't (entirely) do what it was supposed to. Again, none of these situations involved me, personally.
Image Credit: MSI
But now onto the announcement. MSI is releasing the CPU Guard 1151 for new Skylake-based processors. It also works as a “die guard” too, so if you intend on popping the headspreader off, you don't need to choose between two parts. This supposedly works in either scenario. It clamps the processor into the socket, although I can't see how it would do much more than an 1151 socket (and its clamp) itself. MSI did use it during an overclocking competition though, on a delidded Skylake, so there's that.
No pricing or availability are yet available. It could be something to look out for, especially if you haven't installed your processor yet. If you have, you would then need to think about the effort to undo whatever you already have to install this. It's up to you.
Since the introduction of the Haswell line of CPUs, the Internet has been aflame with how hot the CPUs run. Speculation ran rampant on the cause with theories abounding about the lesser surface area and inferior thermal interface material (TIM) in between the CPU die surface and the underside of the CPU heat spreader. It was later confirmed that Intel had changed the TIM interfacing the CPU die surface to the heat spreader with Haswell, leading to the hotter than expected CPU temperatures. This increase in temperature led to inconsistent core-to-core temperatures as well as vastly inferior overclockability of the Haswell K-series chips over previous generations.
A few of the more adventurous enthusiasts took it upon themselves to use inventive ways to address the heat concerns surrounding the Haswell by delidding the processor. The delidding procedure involves physically removing the heat spreader from the CPU, exposing the CPU die. Some individuals choose to clean the existing TIM from the core die and heat spreader underside, applying superior TIM such as metal or diamond-infused paste or even the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra metal material and fixing the heat spreader back in place. Others choose a more radical solution, removing the heat spreader from the equation entirely for direct cooling of the naked CPU die. This type of cooling method requires use of a die support plate, such as the MSI Die Guard included with the MSI Z97 XPower motherboard.
Whichever outcome you choose, you must first remove the heat spreader from the CPU's PCB. The heat spreader itself is fixed in place with black RTV-type material ensuring a secure and air-tight seal, protecting the fragile die from outside contaminants and influences. Removal can be done in multiple ways with two of the most popular being the razor blade method and the vise method. With both methods, you are attempting to separate the CPU PCB from the heat spreader without damaging the CPU die or components on the top or bottom sides of the CPU PCB.