Coffee Lake Refresh: Small models without soldered heatspreader

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Delidded i7-7700K with visible TIM. (Picture: PCBC/FM)

With the Coffee Lake Refresh generation, Intel has started to solder the heatspreaders again. However, the small models still come with thermal compound.

Intel finally solders again

With the introduction of the new Coffee Lake Refresh generation, Intel has also confirmed that the new processors will be soldered to the heatspreader again. This happened last with the Sandy Bridge generation, in between the heatspreader was always connected by a heat conducting paste with the die. It has been sufficiently proven that this heat conducting paste is not necessarily of high quality or very good conductivity. In our delidding tutorial, we were able to achieve a 20 degrees Celsius better result with liquid metal. Accordingly, many Intel fans were pleased that Intel has again started to use an indum solder called STIM (Solder Thermal Interface Material) instead of the usual TIM, often also called toothpaste. However, apparently only the K-models of the generation are soldered.

STIM not for all Coffee Lake Refreshs

The big stars of the show were of course the new eight-core processors i9-9900K and i7-9700K. Both come with a soldered heatspreader. Since the architecture is not really new, the power consumption of the eight-core, especially that of the i9-9900K, is also very high. This is accompanied by high waste heat, which apparently forced Intel to re-solder the heatspreaders. In the run-up to the launch there were already rumours that the i5-9600K, which only underwent clock changes compared to its non-soldered predecessor 8600K, is not soldered. Fortunately this did not prove to be the case, the processor is soldered like the big brothers.

In the meantime, the even smaller processors of the Coffee Lake Refresh generation are slowly coming onto the market. The Twitter user @momomo_us got his hands on a Core i5-9400F and delidded it. The usual heat-conducting paste, which many had hoped would finally become history with Coffee Lake Refresh, came to light again. Whether other Intel processors are not soldered as well is not yet known. Since the i5-9400F is a new F model without a graphics unit, Intel may simply recycle older chips from the Coffee Lake series here – including thermal compound.

About Florian Maislinger 1222 Articles
Florian Maislinger is author and founder of PC Builder's Club. As a skilled IT engineer, he is very familiar with computers and hardware and has been a technology lover since childhood. He is mainly responsible for the news and our social media channels.

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