Intel Skylake CPUs Getting Damaged From Cooler Mounting Pressure
Besides using below par thermal paste on the IHS of their CPUs since Ivy-Bridge, Intel has been churning out CPUs that increase performance per clock and mostly reduce power consumption (at least the CPU power consumption, not including iGPU). The bane for enthusiasts, the stock thermal paste required some ingenuity and “delidding” became a necessity for professional overclockers and power users wanting the coolest temperatures and highest clocks.
Upon inspecting the Skylake PCB, many in the circles around delidding became aware of the problems associated with it, in no small part due to the much thinner PCB than its Haswell predecessor. Those who delid where aware of the concerns and were frustrated with the added danger of bricking ones CPU just to get better temperatures, and some even took to making some deliding devices for resale, which make the process much much safer.
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But these are just the concerns of a niche few, and the thin PCB issue will rarely mean much to the majority of Skylake users….or so you thought. According to PC Games Hardware in Germany, the thin Skylake PCB is actually leading to common aftermarket coolers damaging the chip or motherboard. According to the report, the chips weaker structure is getting bent out of shape by a few well known coolers.
The extent of the damage means the mechanically weaker CPU, its pins and the motherboard contacts can all be bent or sheared if exposed to pressure from cooler clamping mechanisms. It’s not that the bending will happen immediately, but if the system is moved around or receives any bumps or knocks, it could result in structural breakage. For those with K CPUs, the only way to cool the CPU is with an aftermarket cooler, since Intel do not ship them with a reference cooler.
Naturally a few prominent cooler manufacturers have all issued statements regarding their coolers safety regarding their clamping mechanism and it’s affect on Skylake CPUs. Cooler Master just sent out a press release stating that their coolers are not affected by “bendgate”
We would like to reaffirm our commitment to all our fans and supporters that you can rest assured, all air and liquid coolingproducts from Cooler Master are not affected by the mounting issue.
A few other manufacturers, all reported from PCGamesHardware.de, provided some clarity on their products:
- ARCTIC: “We want to assure with this official statement that ARCTIC cooler not affected by these problems – and thus are fully Skylake compatible”. The company said it adhered to Intel’s mechanical specification.
- EK Water Blocks: “While current water cooler of EKWB are fully Skylake-compatible, the manufacturer advises caution with older coolers,” noted PCGamesHardware.de.
- Noctua: “Our SecuFirm2 mounting systems are subjected to prior to the release of new platforms an extensive compatibility testing” said Noctura. No problems have been reported to Noctura by customers or re-sellers etc.
- Scythe: This well known cooler company admitted that while “All coolers are in fact generally compatible with Skylake sockets… in some cases result in damage to CPU and motherboard when the PC is exposed to stronger shocks (eg shipping or relocation).”
- Thermaltake: “All current CPU cooler from Thermaltake, as the Frio Silent series, as well as older models such as the NIC series, the Contac series and the Frio series, and compact water cooling of the types Water 2.0 and Water 3.0, are 100% compatible with socket 1151 processors.”
- Thermalright: “The pressure is pre-defined and accurately based on the specifications of the CPU manufacturer,”said this company. There are no reports of Thermalright cooler induced problems so far.
Through Toms Hardware:
- NZXT: said its “Kraken Series closed loop liquid coolers are fully compliant with Intel’s socket 1151 mechanical force specification”. It recommended against using older larger tower coolers like the Havik 120/140 due to force and weight considerations.
- Intel: said that it has only been made aware of the issue in the last two days and it is therefore investigating what“could be several variables at play”. Intel confirmed that Skylake uses a thinner substrate but it is rated for the same 50lb. maximum static load as prior generations.
The primary manufacturer that seems to be having the most issue is Scythe, and who never saw that coming, since their coolers are actually some of the biggest in the industry. As a result, Scythe have offered a free replacement screw set for users of their coolers.