April 5, 2018 // 10:57 a.m.
Designer Arek Tobiszewski has launched a crowdfunding campaign for what is claimed to be the first tool-free direct-die CPU water block featuring an in-socket mounting system compatible with Intel's LGA 1151.
The history of CPU packaging is an interesting one. The earliest processors were packaged in ceramic, which offered reasonable heat dissipation, or plastic, which was cheap. Over time the increasing power demands of ever-faster processors meant that the silicon die itself had to be raised out of the package, and issues with its fragility gave birth to the metal lid we now know as the integrated heatspreader (IHS). In recent years, though, enthusiasts have begun to find fault in the ways that companies choose to attach the IHS to the die, where traditional soldering has given way to cheaper thermal paste and a corresponding drop in the IHS' ability to draw off excess heat.
It's this issue that has given rise to the process of 'de-lidding', the removal of the IHS either to replace lower-quality thermal paste with something better or to ditch the IHS entirely and cool the die directly. While the latter can offer improved temperatures, it's a risky manoeuvre to apply a heatsink or water block that expects an IHS to be in place to a naked die - and one which can end in the tell-tale 'crunch' of a dead chip.
That's where Arek Tobiszewski's company NudeCNC comes in. Tobiszewski has designed what he claims to be a 'unique' water block, the Ncore V1, which ditches traditional mounting systems in favour of the ability to slot directly into the metal zero insertion force (ZIF) socket bracket on the motherboard - allowing, Tobiszewski claims, installing in twelve seconds with no tools. For those concerned about the security of the in-socket mount, an optional support frame - which uses a hinge system to spread the load evenly and, in theory at least, prevent crushed dies - is available as the Ncore V1D and, in an interesting twist, doubles as a tool to safely de-lid compatible CPUs.
Seeking £10,000 to fund production, Tobiszewski's campaign sees the frameless Ncore V1 priced at £69 as an early bird reward or £79 as standard, with the V1D frame bundle priced at £89 early bird and £99 standard. The frame, which functions as a delidding tool on its own, is also available separately for a £35 pledge.
More information is available on the campaign page.