What just happened? Renowned overclocker der8auer has developed a custom direct-die water block for AMD's Ryzen 7000 series CPUs that can significantly lower operating temperatures under load and could lead to higher overclocks.

der8auer's journey started by removing AMD's integrated heat spreader (IHS) and replacing it with a custom-designed high performance variant. In testing, this step alone delivered a huge improvement over AMD's IHS. With a Ryzen 9 7900X overclocked to 5GHz @ 1.30v, temperatures peaked around 90C with a stock 280mm AIO liquid cooler. With the custom heat spreader, temps dropped by an average of 12-14C.

Temperatures dropped even further when switching to the Mycro Direct-Die RGB cooler. Under full load using the same system and settings, der8aur's block topped out around 62-63C.

Direct-die CPU cooling isn't new. For a period in the early 2000s, AMD shipped some of its Athlon CPUs without integrated heat spreaders. Most heatsinks at the time used mounting brackets that had to be physically clipped into place, and the unequal pressure this created could easily crack or chip the fragile processor die.

CPU shims designed to mitigate damage eventually found their way to market but their effectiveness was hit or miss. I remember killing at least one chip this way, and also fried another trying to overclock using the pencil unlocking method.

Nowadays, CPUs ship with integrated heat spreaders in part to prevent end users from accidentally destroying chip dies. As der8auer and others have highlighted time and again, however, these from-the-factory solutions aren't terribly efficient and leave a lot of cooling capability on the table.

der8auer said the heat spreader and block are already in production. Expect to pay around 40-50 euros for the high-performance heat spreader, about 100 euros for the non-RGB water block, and 130-140 euros for a version with integrated lighting.

Cost aside, you'll also have to accept the risks that come with delidding your CPU (like losing your warranty). If top-notch cooling is high on your list of priorities, however, this looks like a bona fide way to get there.