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Some third-party heatsinks are bending Intel Skylake processors

By Shawn Knight ยท 7 replies
Dec 4, 2015
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  1. Some third-party cooling solutions are reportedly causing damage to 6th generation Intel Skylake CPUs and their motherboards. German tech site PC Games Hardware suggests the issue may lie in the fact that Skylake chips are built on a thinner substrate than previous generation chips.

    When questioned on the matter, Intel told Tom’s Hardware that it was made aware of the issue only a few days ago and that it is currently investigating the matter. The rep added that there could be several variables at play and that most vendors said they haven’t had any problems.

    The chip maker did confirm that the substrate used to build Skylake chips is thinner than previous designs but that it was rated for the same 50-pound maximum load as before.

    As part of its extensive investigation, PC Games Hardware reached out to a number of heatsink makers for their opinion on the matter. Arctic, Cooler Master, Prolimatech, Silentium PC and Thermaltake all say their coolers aren’t impacted.

    EK Water Blocks said its current lineup is fully compatible with LGA-1151 mechanical force limitations although it doesn’t recommend using older generations that use its classic, undefined clamping ForceType mounting mechanisms.

    Thermalright said it hasn’t received any reports of issues and that it has for years recommended that users with heavy heatsinks remove them prior to transporting their systems; Noctua echoed those same sentiments.

    Thus far, Scythe is the only cooler maker reporting any issues. The company notes that while all coolers are compatible with Skylake sockets in general, those that use the H.P.M.S. mounting system – Mugen 4, Mugen 4 PCGH-Edition and Mugen Max – could experience damage when exposed to strong physical shocks. As such, the company is shipping a new set of screws to customers free of charge to remedy the situation. To get your screw set, simply use the contact form on their website or send an e-mail to support@scythe.com with your shipping details.

    NZXT told Tom’s Hardware that all of its coolers are fine pressure-wise but recommended not using its older generation of large tower coolers (Havik 120/240) due to the potential of force exerted on the socket by the weight of the cooler.

    All images courtesy PC Games Hardware

    Permalink to story.

  2. robb213

    robb213 TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +114

    I have to wonder how many of the people who reported this problem simply over-tightened their heatsinks. A lot of people I've been in contact with over the years are guilty of this too.

    But I really don't see an issue here.
    - First, Scythe (I assume) doesn't have as large a customer base to begin with as the other companies in the report, and so far they're the only ones that have voiced the problem. That either points out a problem with their product, or only a few people reported it and they for some reason blew the whistle early.
    - Secondly, I bet that the substrates are physically tested so that they do indeed hold up to/deal with the expected capacity, so I find it hard to believe that something this big could possibly get by Intel of all companies. I couldn't believe that they prove it on paper, and call it a day without physical endurance testing.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Those who bow their chips shouldn't complain. If they want to over tighten their coolers like gorillas then it's their fault. Some people are just naturally ham fisted and try apportion blame everywhere except at themselves. To make something id!ot proof is impossible.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  4. I knew there was a downside to 1.2+ kilogram heatsinks LOL
  5. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    New Headline:
    "Scythe coolers could bend Intel chips if over tightened"

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Saves us all 5 minutes of reading 4 paragraphs.
    ttam, wastedkill and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    I don't know about you and your choice of heatsinks, but almost every heatsink I have ever installed ( I did this for two years at a computer sales and repair store) stop tightening and if you go any further your stripping the threads of either the screw, the nut or the backplate assembly. The manufacturers of these heatsinks took pressure into consideration when designing them, it's kind of an important thing. Intel went ahead and changed the thickness of their substrate which require less pressure, despite their claims of it being capable of withstanding the same amount of pressure, they clearly cannot.

    For example, I have a Noctua NH-U12P SE for one of my first gen i7 builds, I lapped both CPU and heatsink to a mirror finish, I had posted pictures on OC.net but they have since disappeared so no point in linking that, after doing so I noticed the heatsink wasn't as "tight" against the CPU so I added some small washer to increase pressure, this drop temps and has been like this ever since. My point being Noctua carefully tuned the pressure of their heatsinks, when the screws stop, they stop, no over tightening possible.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    ttam and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  7. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 284   +99

    Reminds me of the good ole' days when CPU's didn't have heat spreader plates to protect the chip, and you had people bricking chips because of to much pressure exerted by the CPU coolers....
  8. alainhb2000

    alainhb2000 TS Rookie

    Hi. :)
    Do any one knows if the ULTRA Carbon X7 cooler, has any issue with 6th gen??? I have one of this waiting for my new 6th gen cpu. I've previously used with a 3rd gen cpu.
    Best regards.

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