Improving the Thermal Performance of the Intel Kaby Lake CPU
The Tools of the Trade
To remove and reattach the processor's heat spreader, you will need some parts that can be obtained from the manufacturer, Amazon.com, or maybe even your local electronics store (if you happen to live in an area that has a Fry's or Microcenter locally that is).
- RockIt Cool's RockIt 88 delidder tool
- Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra thermal compound
- RTV adhesive
- clear scotch tape
- paper towels and/or Q-tips
- high grade Isopropyl alcohol (> 90% concentrate)
- credit card or hard rubber/plastic card
In addition to the delidder tool, the other two items that you might not readily have on hand is the thermal compound and RTV adhesive. We chose to use Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra thermal compound to interface the processor die with the heat spreader because of its high conductivity and easy application (with care that is). High thermal conductivity is key for this operation because we are doing this whole procedure to replace the sub-par TIM used by Intel in the first place on the Kaby Lake processor. The TIM should also be easy to spread in a thin layer because you do not want that highly conductive material to bleed off of the processor die into the surrounding surface mounted circuitry. For adhering the heat spreader back onto the processor PCB, we chose to use Black RTV silcone-based adhesive because it is high temperature automotive grade adhesive, meaning that it is high strength even under punishing temperatures and is plastic as well as electronics safe (which is even more important).
RockIt Cool RockIt 88
The RockIt 88 kit as shown supports delidding of an LGA1150, LGA1151, or LGA1155 processor. The base kit comes with the bottom and top pieces. Also shown is the add-on LGA1150 Re-Lid Kit for attaching the heat spreader back onto the CPU PCB. The kit used supports re-lidding for both LGA1150 and LGA1151 processors. A separate kit is available for use with LGA1155 processors. All parts are made from high quality, CNC-machined plastic for durability. RockIt Cool also includes case stickers with the RockIt 88 kit.
The base RockIt 88 kit is a simple affair consisting of the acrylic top and bottom peices, held together securely with three acrylic topped metal screws that hold the top peice in place by screwing directly into the threaded holes in the bottom peice.
The bottom plate holds the processor in place with an inlay that fits the bottom of the supported processors snuggly and a cutout section underneath the processor inlay to accommodate the circuitry on the backside of the processor PCB. Pictured in the lower left corner of the bottom plate is a triangle cutout for processor orientation purposes - you simply line up the triangle on the processor PCB with triangle on the bottom plate. The depth side walls of the processor inlay match the the processor thickness so that the sliding mechanism in the top plate can push the heat spreader off the PCB without interacting with the PCB itself. Note that their are circular indentations along the top and bottom sides of the process inlay for easy placement to and removal from the device.
The top plate of the RockIt 88 consists of the top plate itself, a sliding metal plate and a torque screw. The top plate contains three pass through holes so it can be mated to the bottom plate using the provide thumbscrews. The top plate contains a main chamber that fits over the processor heat spreader as well as a channel which the metal push plate slides along. The metal plate is held in place via a metal screw through the top of the main plate. The torque screw exerts force to the metal plate to push the heat spreader off of the processor PCB. The torque screw fits into the main plate via a threaded pass through in the side of the device.
The Re-Lid Kit consists of a hold down plate, a torque plate, and a thumbsrew. The hold down plate snaps directly onto the RockIt 88's bottom plate, holding the PCB in place and orienting the heat spreader correctly on the PCB's surface. The torque plate sits on top of the hold down plate, held fast using the three thumbscrews from the RockIt 88. The kit's thumbscrew screws directly into the torque plate, exerting downward force onto the top plate to fix it in place.
The torque plate, or re-lid spider as RockIt Cool refers to it on the site, is an acrylic triangular part with three pass throughs and a threaded pass through in the center, as well as built-in spaces at the end of each arm. The spacers are high enough to provide space between the top of the plate and the heat spreader so that the center thumbscrew can apply downward pressure to the processor heat spreader plate. The triangular assembly allows the device to apply the downward pressure to the center of the heat spreader to ensure that the thumbscrew provides pressure evenly over the processor PCB and die surface.
The hold down plate is made to snap directly onto the RockIt 88 bottom plate with inbuilt clips to its underside. It has an upper hole and two side cutouts that are pass-through holes for the thumbscrews. From the top view, you can better see the genius in the design. The hold down plate locks the processor PCB in place and also acts as a guide for the heat spreader. Along each side of the center space (for the heat spreader) are channels to accommodate the side wings on the heat spreader with downward angled feet along all sides to better guide the heat spreader in place.