CPUs have gotten so hot companies are releasing AIOs for unlidded processors

Things are really heating up

Direct die cooling for Intel CPU

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As the likes of Intel Core 14th Gen and AMD Ryzen 7000 Series CPUs have reached new thermal heights, one company has freshly unveiled its new direct die cooling water blocks that sit on top of a delidded processor.

EK first showcased a dedicated waterblock for delidded CPUs around a year ago but this tech has become far more sophisticated with the company’s first-ever AIO made with a pump to sit on top of the processor with the lid removed. Specific models have been made with the AM5 Zen 4 with LGA 1700 Intel Core coming next. Unlike usual pumps, this one has a small water block which aids more direct cooling without the lid getting in the way.

This extends to the mounting mechanism which also differs with four standoffs on the block itself screwing onto the chiplets. It’s a new approach not typically seen from AIO which traditionally has a mount for the bracket that sits on top of the lid. In our testing with some of the best CPUs we’ve noticed the temperatures have started to climb with Team Red and Team Blue processors when under stress. Temperatures have even soared upwards of 100 degrees.

This is due in part to the latest generations of CPUs being more sophisticated with more cores and threads on a comparable TDP than generations. For example, the top-end Intel Core i9-14900K runs at 125W with a clock speed of up to 6 GHz with 24 cores and 32 threads. All that power comes at a price, and it’s a similar story with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X at 170W TDP which can get equally as warm, too.

Delidding a CPU is the process of removing the metal heat spreader which reveals the chiplets below. Usually, this heat spreader features thermal paste and then you top it with thermal paste before applying dedicated cooling. With a proposed water block cooler from EK, you remove that metal layer and apply water cooling directly onto the CPU itself. This can mean more consistent performance, and more importantly cooler temperatures.

This builds upon the news from last month when Intel gave PC manufacturers the greenlight to delid the Intel Core i9-14900KS over fears of it overheating. Now, it seems to be spreading to the consumer level. If you’re having overheating concerns with this processor generation, try delidding it. What’s more, Intel is investigating its i9 chipsets failing and crashing during gameplay, it’s possible thermal throttling could play a part in this seemingly ongoing problem. We’ll update you with more as it happens.

Aleksha McLoughlin is Hardware and News Editor for PC Guide and she oversees buying guides, reviews, news, and features on site. She was previously Hardware and Affiliates Editor at VideoGamer.