Champion overclocker Der8auer is up to his usual shenanigans. Over on Facebook, he's posted up a racy topless image of what he says is a Core i9-7920X. This 12-core CPU shares the same die with the rest of the top tier of Skylake-X CPUs that goes up to 18 cores. These CPUs have hit store shelves just recently, and the man has already popped the lid on one of them to reveal the mirror-smooth silicon beneath.
Image source: Der8auer on Facebook
Der8auer's post was actually intended to inform his followers that the existing Delid Die Mate X tool will suffice just fine to pop the top on the high-core-count LGA 2066 CPUs. The tool is already for sale at shops like Overclockers UK and is similar to my own Rockit 88 delid tool: simply drop your CPU in the correct place, tighten some bolts, and after a satisfying snap you've got a delidded CPU all ready for cleaning.
The perfect finish of the chip below the cap and the lack of solder residue are pretty strong indicators that these CPUs have thermal paste under their lids. Furthermore, der8auer would hardly recommend anyone to delid a soldered CPU and run a strong risk of ruining it. This all means that like the 10-core-and-below models and regular desktop chips on back to Ivy Bridge, higher-end Skylake-X CPUs all seem to have non-soldered heatspreaders. If this info's accurate, it makes us nervous about the out-of-the-box thermal performance of the bigger chips, given that existing Core X CPUs already run awfully warm.
According to some overclockers and my own experience, unsoldered Intel CPUs sometimes end up with an air gap between the die and the heatspreader—though it's unclear exactly why this happens. Delidding the CPU and replacing the goop inside with a bonding compound like Coollaboratory's Liquid Ultra can provide massive improvements in cooling performance. If Der8auer's discovery carries over to most retail CPUs, delidding might be a good idea to get the most out of Intel's top-tier desktop chips. For those looking to get their hands on a Core i9-7920X of their own, you can grab one at Newegg or from Amazon for a modest $1200.