Delidding the CPU reveals that the substrate is stacked vertically, split into two layers. The elevated part of the substrate hosts the CPU die, which is a bit smaller in our photos than the 14C-18C dies. The Intel CPUs with higher core count will leverage 22-core dies that have been cut down.
As for thermal solution, it’s thermal paste from Dow Corning, which isn’t the best, but is reliable and will withstand hot/cold cycles without issue. The company’s reasoning for solder seems to be longevity, and they have a point, to some degree: Solder will struggle with rapid contraction and expansion of metals during extreme temperature swings, where thermal compound remains stoic and largely unaffected. That said, the concern of expansion/contraction of solder is largely relegated to smaller dies, which some of these new CPUs are not. Using thermal compound could be defensible, though thermal improvement is still tremendous when switching to soldered contact or liquid metal. And Intel has not been particularly good in the thermal department lately. Regardless, we're not clear on how much water the longevity argument holds.
Der8auer's delid kit -- currently in prototype phase.
There appears to be an RFID chip in the corner of the Intel i9-7900X that we looked at, which would lead us to believe that the chip is capable of storing user information. Der8auer’s theory is that this could be used to store user overclock data, e.g. maximum stable OC. Such a chip could also be used for RMA processes, theoretically.
View the video for a live delidding; otherwise, this gives you one of the first looks at a delidded Skylake-X CPU, the i9-7900X.
Editorial: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick