Deciding improves AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 processors.
As AMD releases its next-generation Ryzen 7000-series ‘Raphael’ processors, die-hard overclockers are already figuring out how to cool them down and push them to their limits. According to ExtremeTech Roman ‘der8auer’ Hartung, a legendary overclocker, delidded AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 7900X processor this week and discovered that direct-die cooling reduces chip temperature by approximately 20 degrees Celsius under heavy loads.
Der8auer was able to increase the clocks on all 12 cores to 5.50 GHz by increasing the voltage by 30 millivolts after lowering the CPU temperature by about 20 degrees Celsius in Cinebench (a resource-intensive benchmark). Even when all 12 cores were running at 5.50 GHz, the CPU temperature was only 74.9 degrees Celsius, indicating that the processor has plenty of room for further overclocking.
In normal conditions, integrated heat spreaders (IHS) protect a fragile CPU die (or dies) and ensure proper contact with a cooling system. However, IHSs and the thermal interface materials (TIMs) that attach them to dies are not always ideal in terms of thermal conduction. If you are brave enough to try, removing IHS can result in more efficient cooling and better-overclocking results. Deciding (removing the IHS) a CPU usually results in a temperature reduction of 10 – 15 degrees Celsius. The temperature difference in Cinebench R20 for Der8auer’s AMD Ryzen 9 7900X was approximately 20 degrees Celsius, well above typical expectations. There could be several reasons for this.
First and foremost, AMD’s IHS for AM5 CPUs is extremely thick, possibly to ensure compatibility with previous-generation (AM4) coolers. Second, Roman ‘der8auer’ Hartung used his own liquid metal thermal grease, which is not yet available and is expected to outperform existing liquid metal-based pastes as well as AMD’s CPU solder. The new thermal interface will not significantly reduce the temperature on its own, but the combination of direct-die cooling and new thermal grease can produce unexpected results.
Because AMD only began selling its Ryzen 7000-series processors on September 27, there are no off-the-shelf tools to decide these CPUs (so the overclocker had to custom-make one), and there are no custom frames to hold a cooling system (he had to invent his own), it is difficult for the average enthusiast to replicate Hartung’s experiment. Regardless, the statistics speak for themselves. It’s a big deal to drop the temperature by 20 degrees Celsius and boost all twelve cores to 5.50 GHz. Hartung claims that the delidding tool, as well as a custom AM5 frame for delidded CPUs, will eventually be available on his website.