Last Updated: Nov 18, 2009
(1.0) - Advantages and Disadvantages
(1.1) - What is an IHS?
(1.2) - What is the purpose of the IHS?
(1.3) - Why is this thread about removing the IHS?
(1.4) - So those CPUs that are soldered to the IHS will have better temps than those that use TIM as a filler?
(2.0) - CPU List
(3.0) - Soldered IHS Removal Solution
(3.1) - Non-Soldered IHS Removal Solution
(3.2) - Pics of My IHS Removed (E4500)
(1.0) Advantages and Disadvantages
-Non-soldered IHS removal is very easy
-Soldered IHS removal can be done if you are very carefull and do not rush
-CPU Warranty is down the toliet
-Removing IHS on soldered CPU is extremely difficult, chance to destroy CPU is high
~Please take note of the pros and cons here, if you heavily dissagree with them then I reccomend you stop reading this and click the back button on your browser. If you are fine with the pros and cons please read on!
Now lets begin.
(1.1) Well what is an IHS?
IHS stands for Integrated Heat Spreader and is the big metal plate we see on all our CPUs today! It is very heat conductive and rests on top of the actual CPU, which is called the die.
(1.2) What is the purpose of the IHS?
The purpose of the IHS is to spread the heat from the die so its not all concentrated on that small little area, hense the name "heat spreader". It provides a larger surface area for your heatsink or waterblock to mount on, which sometimes means better temps.
(1.3) So wait, If the IHS spreads the heat and provides a larger surface area for the heatsink/waterblock which is a good thing, why is this thread about IHS removals?
Now we get to the good stuff, the IHS is not actually built into the die, but is soldered on at the factory by Intel on most CPUs. Solder is pretty much melted metal at a high temp, it is a heat conductive glue that won't melt unless the temp is extremely high, higher than the CPU is capable of outputting. CPUs with soldered IHS's generally have great temps out of the box as hardened solder is extremely strong and is the best "filler" you can use for such a situation, so strong that you have a high chance to damage the die upon removal of IHS. On the other hand there are many CPUs out there that do not have their IHS soldered to the die, instead using TIM between the die and IHS. TIM stands for Thermal Interface Material and acts as a filler when two objects that appear flat (the die and IHS in this case) are to make contact. The thing is the contact between the die and IHS is so close, but not perfect, there is tiny air pockets trapped between the two, and if these spaces aren't filled the heat will transfer to the IHS very slowly as air is a poor conductor.
(1.4) So those CPUs that are soldered to the IHS will have better temps than those that use TIM as a filler?
Generally yes, CPUs with TIM between the die and IHS have poor temps. Lets use the M0 stepping Allendale cores for example, once these hit 1.35v or higher they start having massive heat problems while many Conroe core CPUs using even more voltage at a higher speed with the same heatsink have temps over 10c cooler than you do. That is the difference between a soldered IHS and a non soldered IHS, the heat from the die gets trapped around the die rather than transfering straight into the IHS. Now for the list of CPUs that are soldered and those that aren't, let me remind you this list is constantly under updation as more CPUs are released or as corrections are made.
(2.0) CPU List
*= Said to belong under X category but not confirmed.
Purple = Hyperthreading/Single Cores
Green = Dual Cores
Blue = Quad Cores
IHS Soldered To Die
-(S-775) Pentium 4 HT
-(S-775) Celeron D*
-(S-478) Celeron D*
-(S-478) Pentium 4 HT (Prescott Core)
-(S-478) Pentium 4 HT (Northwood "C" Core)*
-(S-775) Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
-(S-775) Pentium D
-Pentium Dual Core E5200*
-Pentium Dual Core E5300*
-Pentium Dual Core E5400*
-Core 2 Duo E4700*
-Core 2 Duo E6300 (B2 stepping)
-Core 2 Duo E6320
-Core 2 Duo E6400 (B2 stepping)
-Core 2 Duo E6420
-Core 2 Duo E6540
-Core 2 Duo E6550
-Core 2 Duo E6600
-Core 2 Duo E6700
-Core 2 Duo E6750
-Core 2 Duo E6850
-Core 2 Duo Extreme X6800
-Core 2 Duo E8190
-Core 2 Duo E8200
-Core 2 Duo E8300
-Core 2 Duo E8400
-Core 2 Duo E8500
-Core 2 Duo E8600
-Xeon 3040 (L2 stepping)*
-Xeon 3040 (B2 stepping)
-Xeon 3050 (L2 stepping)*
-Xeon 3040 (B2 stepping)
-AMD Athlon X2 6000+
-AMD Phenom X3*
-Core 2 Quad Q6600
-Core 2 Quad Q6700
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6700
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6800
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6850
-Core 2 Quad Q8200
-Core 2 Quad Q8300
-Core 2 Quad Q8400
-Core 2 Quad Q8400S
-Core 2 Quad Q9300
-Core 2 Quad Q9400
-Core 2 Quad Q9400S
-Core 2 Quad Q9450
-Core 2 Quad Q9550
-Core 2 Quad Q9550S
-Core 2 Quad Q9650
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9650
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9770
-Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9775
-Core i5 750
-Core i7 860
-Core i7 870
-Core i7 920
-Core i7 940
-Core i7 950
-Core i7 Extreme Edition 965
-Core i7 Extreme Edition 975
-AMD Phenom X4*
IHS Not Soldered To Die
-(S-478) Pentium 4 HT (Northwood "A" and "B" Core)*
-AMD Athlon 64 3200+*
-AMD Athlon 64 3700+*
-AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (Venice core)
-AMD X2 5000+ BE (Brisbane core)
-Celeron Dual Core E1200
-Celeron Dual Core E1400
-Pentium Dual Core E2140
-Pentium Dual Core E2160
-Pentium Dual Core E2180
-Pentium Dual Core E2200
-Pentium Dual Core E2210
-Pentium Dual Core E2220
-Pentium Dual Core E6300
-Core 2 Duo E4300
-Core 2 Duo E4400
-Core 2 Duo E4500
-Core 2 Duo E4600
-Core 2 Duo E6300 (L2 stepping)*
-Core 2 Duo E6400 (L2 stepping)*
-Core 2 Duo E7200
-Core 2 Duo E7300
-Core 2 Duo E7400
-Core 2 Duo E7500
-Core 2 Duo E7600
As of right now thats the list, soon as I find out more about the unverified ones they will be changed, and this list will be updated as new CPUs launch.
(3.0) Soldered IHS Removal Solution
Alright, first up, the most tricky being.. you guessed it, soldered CPUs. Oh comon.. it does exist in history that people have done this successfully, so can you Those with a soldered CPU should not attempt to remove the IHS because doing so gives you about a 25% chance to remove it successfully without destroying the CPU. If you do manage to remove the IHS the temp difference you will see will be almost nothing, <4c at most and is not worth the high risk. For those who are hardcore modders and want to give it a shot heres the proceedure to follow to minimize the chance of destroying your CPU.
1. Get a small handheld razor, sharper the better.
2. Line up the razor with the black adheasive around the CPU where the IHS makes contact with the PCB, one of the 4 edges is the best place to start.
3. Slowly move the razor back and forth untill you created a small cut.
4. Once you got the razor into the adheasive slowly and steadily apply moderate pressure on the razor while gentley moving in a downward direction, make sure you are cutting no more than 2-3MM into the adheasive at a time, go all the way around the CPU before going a little deeper. Be sure to keep it as straight as possible so you do not accidently score the PCB, take your time!!
5. If you feel the razor stopped slicing the adheasive and it won't move STOP applying pressure as you probably hit the PCB, carefully remove the razor and contiune where you left off.
6. If you are doing exactly what I said you should now be feeling the razor slice right through the adheasive with relative ease, remember do not go any deeper than 2-3MM on the first run.
7. Once you have gone around the entire CPU once go around it again going another 2-3MM deeper, repeat above steps.
8. After the 2nd run you should be through most if not all of the adheasive, you should be able to slide at least half the length of the razor between PCB and IHS and towards the middle of the CPU. If you can you successfully seperated the adheasive. Be extremely carefull when sliding the razor toward the center of the CPU, do so VERY slowly so that if you are to hit something like the CPU die, you won't damage it.
9. Grab a torch if you have one, if not use a lighter with a large flame (the torch will work MUCH faster and better). Hold the CPU with the IHS facing down or rest it against an object. Never ever leave the razor wedged between the IHS and PCB for "support", thats giving the solder too much pressure and when it lets go will most likely let go with part of the die still attached to it, let it melt the slow way with no pressure on it while its heating up. Carefully and quickly move the torch/lighter across the IHS at a distance of about 2-3CM depending on size of flame. Be extremely carefull not to melt the PCB and make sure you move the flame across the IHS once per second, NEVER hold the flame on the IHS or even near the CPU, you will damage it very quickly.
10. The solder Intel uses roughly melts at 80-90c so it could take a while. Once you feel that the IHS is hot enough and the solder is starting to melt slide your razor about 5MM between the IHS and PCB and ever so gentely give it a light pry in an upwards position so the sharp blade is towards the IHS not the PCB. If its still not moving STOP and contiune heating the IHS, rinse and repeat untill it comes off.
11. Once the IHS is removed and the die is hopefully not ripped off, clean off the remaining solder off the die and IHS. Remove the CPU loading plate on your motherboard, install the CPU, put your heatsink or waterblock on the CPU. A screw down type is highly reccomended as the CPU is not as "high up" as it was with the IHS on it. If you have a screw down type just screw it down untill it makes contact with the die. If you do not have a screw down type mount it as normal and it should have contact, but your PC tower will have to lay on it's side so it will get contact. Oh and don't forget to put your favorite TIM between the die and heatsink
12. Take a breath, power on the system and hope it posts. If it does run your favorite stress testing program and enjoy the extra few degrees less on your temp. If it doesn't post make sure theres a moderate ammount of weight on the CPU so all it's pins are making contact on the board (not enough to crush the die please). If its making good contact and it still refuses to post, then unfortionately the CPU did not survive the operation you did on it
(3.1) Non-Soldered IHS Removal Solution
What you read above is for soldered CPUs only, and as you can see its very tricky, no wonder the chance of doing it successfully is only about 25%! But it is indeed possible and people have done it! Now for non soldered CPUs, the chance of doing this successfully should be about 97%, thats right 97%! Unless you some how make a horrible slip and accidently chop off half the die, but that won't happen now will it Lets begin..
1. Repeat steps #1 - 8 found above for the soldered IHS removal solution.
2. Guess what? If you haven't already noticed.. the IHS should have fell off all by itself, or at most with a tiny little tap. Thats right, done already! If a little tap doesn't make it fall off then grab your razor again and go around the CPU one last time, make sure you can feel there is a little more adheasive left to cut through and proceed slowly and carefully.
3. Same as the soldered IHS removal solution, clean the TIM off the die and IHS with a Q-Tip and alcohol (its ok to remove excess TIM off the PCB with alcohol and a Q-Tip as it drys instantly).
4. Repeat step 11 from the soldered IHS removal solution.
5. Boot up and get ready to catch your jaw before it smashes the floor and you loose all your teeth Run your favorite stress program and almost pass out from your amazing temps If you got a good cooler such as the CNPS9700, TRUE, Tuniq, etc. Expect at minimum a 10c drop and a maximum of a 25c drop! I myself experienced a 17c drop
Now hopefully every person reguardless of a soldered or non solder CPU that attempted at removing their IHS has had success. Now you can ramp up the clocks and volts to limits that were just impossible before hand. If you ever wanted something to give you bragging rights, this is it You will feel amazed with the ammount of money you spent on your CPU, found its proposed limit due to heat, then came across this guide and completed it successfully, and pulled another 200-500Mhz out of that processor of yours!
(3.2) Pics of My IHS Removed (E4500)
As some of you may know already, I have removed my own IHS off my E4500, there was alot of mystery if it was soldered or not and I decided to cross my fingers and go for it
If anyone has problems or questions or advice on how to make the guide even more clear (typos, repeated statements, didn't explain something enough, something I missed or was incorrect about, etc), post away as I am taking suggestions.
I want to note that if your HSF's mounting system is NOT a solid one (solid being that it screws in or something), then you'll probably get worse temps because there is less surface area contact. For example, my Ninja uses a clip system. Since the clip system is not "solid" like a screw-in system would be, the core doesn't make good contact with the HSF (the HSF can "hang" since it's so big), and my temps were worse.
I'm really liking that list you compiled of the soldered/not CPU's. That's some golden data right there.
Personally I removed the IHS on my X2 without troubles but as I thought the one on my E6320 is soldered so I'm not gonna bother.
Although they probably will be.
It has not yet been verified that the IHS's on the Q9300 Q9450 and Q9550 are soldered (unless i missed something) so it'd probably be best to put an * next to them too.
Otherwise, I vote to sticky this!
What if you don't have a torch?
I found this.
EDIT: Seen that thread many times, theirs had a pop and went flying off because they had the razors wedged in while heating the IHS. Do not do what they did, they put constant pressure on the solder and when it got hot it let go, with pressure and ripped part of the die off in the process.
Nice write up. Hmmm... that might explain why my temps are high on my cpu compared to my friends e6600.
One day when I'm ready to upgrade my pc I'll decap my q6600. I'm just going to cut around the edges with a razor and then throw the chip in the oven though. That should ensure the entire chip/solder/ihs is all at the same temp so part of the chip doesn't come off with the ihs. Thats a couple years down the road though.
You are right I forgot about how hot solder has to get to melt. Well then ... frying pan with some oil it will be.
Edit: Or some thermal grease. Whatever will get the enitre ihs hot enough all at the same time.
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