Rumor: Intel’s Haswell-E chips will use Conductive Epoxy

delidded Intel Core i7-5960X

The header image for this article is enough to make any CPU enthusiast cry salty, salty tears. Over the years AMD and Intel have dipped in and out of the practice of using a lead-based solder to connect the CPU die to the integrated heatspreader on the top of the chip. Solder is a more effective transfer material for heat than regular thermal paste, as metal typically conducts heat much better. Although Intel is currently using regular thermal paste underneath its heatsinks, it will be moving back to using something more permanent for their high-end chips and it won’t be metallic either. 

The material is called conductive epoxy and it’s a change that Intel is making due to new regulations imposed by the European Union with regards to toxic substances in consumer electronics. The toxicity issue isn’t a problem for humans when interfacing with the products or appliances, but the heavy metals can be a problem when it comes to managing waste and dealing with people dumping the stuff illegally. The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) has been around for a while and was the prime reason for the abandonment of the use of lead solder in motherboards (despite the fact that boards with lead soldering were often far more robust and reliable).

Sorry overclockers, that means no de-lidding and direct cooling for you. You’ll just end up destroying the processor in the same sad, tearful, heart-wrenching manner seen above.

The picture was posted by overclocker Owikh84 on a short article for detailing Intel’s cooling changes to Haswell-E. With Intel sticking to something more permanent and robust, we can assume that it gets pretty hot under the collar. Just look at the size of the die! It’s almost three times the size of a Haswell die.

Although Owikh84 mentions that the chip in question is a Core i7-5960X, one can clearly see twelve separate cores, which means that Intel will again be lasering off parts of the CPU they don’t want to be accessed. They won’t want to spin up a completely separate SKU runs that could just be replaced with working, albiet neutered Xeon processors.

Also, yes, this does mean that at some time Intel will release a twelve-core, dual-threaded Haswell-E processor with quad-channel DDR4 memory for consumers to buy.

According to the most recent rumors, the i7-5960X should be limited to eight accessible cores, while the i7-5930K and i7-5920K are limited to six cores each, with all three chips featuring hyper-threading. They will be compatible with the brand new LGA2011-3 socket and will have DDR4-compatible memory controllers. Intel is said to have plans to launch Haswell-E in September 2014 and already memory manufacturers seem to be increasing shipments of DDR4 memory modules to prepare for it.