Intel Kaby Lake i5-7600K CPU De-Lid & Re-Lid Temp Results

We got in our retail purchased Intel Core i5-7600K Kaby Lake architecture processor and of course the first thing we wanted to do was overclock it to 5GHz, and then very quickly remove the Integrated Heat Spreader and see how much better we could make our load temperatures. Once again, we got very good results certainly worth sharing.

Overclocking the 7600K

We purchased a new Intel Core i5-7600K at Amazon for the nice price of $235 with Prime Shipping. We immeditaly got it onto our Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 9 motherboard and it was up and running at 5GHz using a vCore of 1.35v. We felt this was impressive, although one of our 7700K CPUs will do 5GHz at 1.32v vCore, so this particualr 7600K is not exactly a "golden sample" but it was doing well. We could also get our 32GB of Corsair RAM up to a very stable 3600MHz. This overall is an excellent result that I think most of use would be very happy with!

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We wanted to push this CPU further up the GHz scale, but that was not in the cards, at least not up to 1.38v vCore, and I did not want to push further without making sure we had very good cooling in place. We recently did a delid and relid job on our 7700K. If you need to know more about exactly what delidding and relidding is, you can give that article a read as it goes into a bit of explanation of the process and we also have a video below.

Kaby Lake Overclocking Temperatures

While our retail 7700K took 1.38v to get to a stable 5GHz after delidding, our 7600K at 1.35v runs quite a bit cooler at 76C under load. Some of this temperature reduction is due to the slightly lower vCore, but most of the reduction sits at the feet of the 7600K not having the HyperThreading ability of the 7700K.

7600K Delidding and Relidding

When it comes to delidding Intel CPUs, you don't have to have a fancy delid tool like the Delid-Die-Mate (Thanks to Overclockers UK for sending us one over.), although it certainly makes the process a lot safer. While there are brute force methods, this HardForum goer shows off that it can be done with a bit more svelte.

In order to get our 7600K temperatures under control before we pushed it further, we wanted to replace the Intel factory TIM. We replaced it with Noctua NT-H1 and then CoolLaboratory Liquid Ultra for comparison.

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Here are some beauty shots from the several times we went through the process of changing out the 7600K TIM.

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Worth mentioning is that the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) that Intel is now using seems to be quite a bit more flat than what I was used to seeing on Skylake CPUs. The first picture above shows you how good a mate we were getting between the IHS and Koolance water block we are using.

The next two pictures show the stock Intel TIM residual after we have removed the IHS. There are two things worth noticing here. First is that you can easily see black adhesive that holds the IHS in place on both the CPU substrate and the the IHS itself. There is still a lot of material there and that is impacting the distance between our IHS and our CPU die. You can see that this is quite a bit of TIM left on the surfaces as well. We are going to correct this when we relid the CPU. Using the Delid-Die-Mate tool, we are able to use enough clamping force to get our mating surfaces closer together, therefore needing less thermal interface material, which is a good thing.

The bottom three pictures show our naked 7600K die, our IHS with the red RTV silicone in place ready to relid, and finally our die with the CoolLaboratory Liquid Ultra in place.

The first time we did this with the 7700K, I ended up "losing" all the video footage that I took. But we have a new camera, and wanted to get some practice using it, so I literally documented the entire process that we went through for this article in terms of delidding, changing TIMs, and relidding. I will not bore you with hours of load testing.

However, I might likely still bore you! This video is about 45 minutes long. It is shot in 4K and has a lot of close up footage so you can see very well what is actually going on. The first 15 minutes or so will show you the entire delidding and relidding process in detail. After that we check TIM heights and basically see what is going on with our different TIMs, cure times, and adhesive amounts. None of the video was scripted and I was literally learning as I was moving along with the process. I misspeak a couple of times, but hey, cut me some slack. I was not going for a professional presentation, but rather an "along for the ride" feel.

Here is a list of all the materials and tools we used in our video: Permatex Red RTV - Plastic Razor Blades - MG Chemicals 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol - Bondhus Allen Tools - Steel Razor Blades - Safe Release Tape - Micro Brush Applicators - Microfiber Towels

7600K Temperature Results

For our cooling we are using a Koolance triple fan Exos radiator and pump system with an older model CPU-360 water block, which has now been replaced by the 390I model. I used this older block because it was brand new and had no build-up or corrosion present. We also used our stock testbench MG Chemicals Silicone TIM as it is easy to clean up and performs well.

Our results chart below is scaled from ambient temperature in the office.

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These results were all taken under load for a period of 2 hours using ASUS RealBench v2.44. We use Intel XTU to track our temperatures. The graph references the "Recent Average" Package Temperature at the end of the two hour run.

The Noctua NT-H1 dropped our factory Intel TIM temperature by 6C, which is fairly sizable. The CoolLaboratory Liquid Ultra dropped our load temperature a total of 13C. These drops are not as sizable as we saw with the 7700K, but we are also dealing with a much cooler loaded temperature as well, so we should expect diminishing returns.

Our maximum per core temperatures were as follows:

  • Stock TIM 79/80/80/84

  • NT-H1 - 67/70/69/76

  • Liq Ultra 65/64/67/69

I do not however think that the TIM is the only variable in our temperature reduction. I do think the way we installed the IHS had a lot to do with it as well. As referenced in the video, we had one outing that was not so successful. I did not let the RTV adhesive cure well and I also did not use it around the entire border of the IHS. Letting our adhesive setup properly was surely key, but the pressure applied during the relidding process is key as well. You can see in the video that when we use the Delid-Die-Mate for relidding, it can hold a good amount of pressure down on the IHS, and this, along with letting the RTV cure, without a doubt gives our IHS a closer mate to the CPU die.

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If you compare how much stock adhesive is left down on the substrate and IHS itself after delidding, and how much is there after relidding and using the RTV and allowing it to cure, we simply get a better "seal" between our IHS and CPU die. Undoubtedly, when done "correctly," we are fitting the IHS down onto the CPU die better, reducing the Z height, compared to how it was mounted when it came from Intel. If you look at the picture above, you can see where there is the tiniest bit of adhesive left between the substrate and IHS compared to all the black adhesive as seen above with the stock mount. Worth mentioning again is that I do very much suggest laying down adhesive around the entire border of the IHS, save for a small spot to allow for air density changes because of heat fluctuations.

The Bottom Line

As we saw with our Intel Core-i5 7700K, delidding and relidding with a better quality Thermal Interface Material, gave us great results with the 7600K. You do however have to be a bit patient, use the right amount of adhesive, and make sure your clamping force great enough to force the excess adhesive out from between the CPU substrate and Integrated Heat Spreader so you make the mating area more efficient.

We will follow back up with how this impacts our 7600K's overclocking headroom. We also have a homemade delidding tool on the way to us that you can make yourself on a 3D printer. We will get that tested as well and see how it works out.

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