German overclocking champion der8auer has released the Skylake-X Direct Die Frame, an kit that replaces the integrated loading mechanism (ILM) and the integrated cooler mounting holes on LGA 2066 motherboards. The kit is made principally from black anodized aluminum and permits the installation of an LGA 2066 cooler on a Intel Skylake-X CPU with its integrated heat spreader (IHS) removed.
Intel has received scrutiny in the PC enthusiast community for the alleged poor performance of the factory-installed thermal interface material (TIM) between the CPU die and the bottom of the IHS. Numerous outlets have reported 10-20° C reductions in CPU temperature as a result of removing the IHS with specialized tools and reinstalling it after replacing the stock TIM with higher-performing materials. der8auer claims the retention mechanism replacement kit reduces CPU temperatures by a further 5-10° C compared to processors that have had the stock TIM replaced with high performance thermal compound.
The outer edge of the aluminum frame sits only 0.1 mm below the surface of the CPU die, reducing the chances of tipping the cooler and cracking the fragile CPU die. der8auer's Skylake-X Direct Die Frame does not work with CPU coolers with fixed mounting heights or with motherboard monoblocks. der8auer says that coolers from Aquacomputer, Corsair, EKWB, and NZXT are guaranteed to fit. The kit is compatible with all Intel Skylake-X processors and all known LGA 2066 motherboards. The kit's notes do not mention Kaby Lake-X CPUs at all, so compatibility with those CPUs is currently unknown.
The kit is on sale now from German retailer Caseking for 70€, which seems a reasonable amount for a low-volume product manufactured to tight tolerances. The kit still requires the warranty-voiding removal of the IHS, but obviates the tricky tasks of applying high-performance thermal compound between the CPU die and the IHS and reinstalling the IHS.