Relid Your Intel CPU on the Cheap with no Delid Tools

So we have covered a lot about taking your shiny new Intel CPUs apart lately, affectionately known as "delidding." What we have found in our journey is that "relidding" the processor might be an important part of the process as well. But what if you do not have a fancy tool that will help you put Humpty back together again?

Should You Relid with Adhesive?

While many folks do not worry about affixing their Integrated Heat Spreader after delidding and replacing the Thermal Interface Material, I have found it to be somewhat important that it be done in my testing. So yes, I have found "relidding" your processor to be functionally important. I have seen higher temperatures when not affixing the IHS. If done properly, I think properly "gluing" the IHS to the processor substrate helps keep the CPU die and IHS mating surfaces closer together. This is all based on what I have seen over the last month while delidding, running naked, and relidding CPUs.

What happens, especially with these thinner substrate Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs, is that as your cooler pushes down onto the IHS, the edges of the processor substrate bend up, giving your CPU substrate a concave shape, especially if the IHS is not attached to that substrate giving it extra support. Keep in mind that the only places the LGA socket supports the Intel CPU is on its edges. If your IHS is not attached to the substrate, this allows the entire substrate to bend, not just at the edges. I think this is why many folks find themselves replacing their TIMs and having temperature issues after using their delidded processor over weeks or months. Also worth keeping in mind is that the more force you use in affixing your cooling solution down onto the IHS, the more at risk you are at for this. And quite frankly, I would suggest that many of us, myself included, likely expose these CPUs to too much pressure when installing our cooling solutions.

As you have seen in our recent articles and videos, we have been using Red RTV to affix the IHS back onto the substrate, and I am not sold that this is the best long-term solution, as it likely allows the substrate to "slide" under the IHS after being exposed to pressure and heat. RTV is basically a silicone material meant to fill gaps rather than "glue" things together. Some have suggested Super Glue, but that adhesive was not designed to affix materials subjected to lateral forces, and as your processor substrate starts to bend, it is subjected to forces both lateral, direct, and diagonally. I would suggest that an adhesive like Gorilla Glue would be appropriate for a "permanent" bond. However, Gorilla Glue can be tremendously messy and it would require a very fine touch when applying it. This glue expands as it cures as well. Sadly, long term testing is not in the cards for this, and I am looking forward to better suggestions in the HardForum discussion on this. I would suggest there are some much smarter folks out there than myself when it comes to adhesive solutions for this particular problem.

Relidding on the Cheap

The focus of this video is how to relid your processor without using any specialized tools or jigs as we have used in our past videos. I put some thought about how to do it "on the cheap," and decided to share it with our readers. With a bit of care, it is easy to make happen. Patience is probably the biggest tool you need in your box.

And once we get done and let our sealant cure, we tear it all back apart to see what kind of mate and seal we achieved.

I have also put in some very close-up footage of what exactly applying CoolLabs Liquid Ultra is like. Again, patience goes a long ways, and so does a keen eye.

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 - 1ml Syringes - 14GA Blunt Tip Needle - Spring Clamp

The Bottom Line

Your mileage may certainly vary when it comes to "needing" to relid your processor. I think the biggest variable here is how "tight" we affix our cooling solutions. While many cooling solutions are designed to not allow you to "over-tighten" these units, many however have nothing in the design to keep us from doing so.

So if you are one of the folks that are seeing temperature degradation over time after delidding and not "permanently" relidding, you might look into using adhesive to affix your IHS. And you might also look into the needed mounting pressure for your particular cooling solution, or likely both.