Aqua Computer announces the availability of a spacer for Intel Skylake processors. Made from stainless steel, this product aims to prevent Skylake CPUs from bending when used in combination with heavy or high-pressure coolers. The shim can be ordered from Aqua Computer's website for 6.99EUR (incl. 19% VAT), and includes some special adhesive tape to install it.
For increased cooling performance, there is a trend to remove the heatspreader from Intel "Skylake" CPUs. This has some negative effects on the secure installation of the CPUs.
One related problem is that the brittle silicon die is not protected against tilted mounting of the CPU cooler - due to this fact edges of the die can easily be broken. The same can happen during transportation of the system.
The next problem is the dissipiation of the CPU cooler clamping force aufter removal of the heatspreader: With the mounted heatspreader the force is dissipated to the outer areas of the heatspreader contact surfaces. Below this surfaces the PCB of the CPU is in direct contact with the socket and this results in nearly no deflection of the CPU package. This is very important especially for the Skylake CPU as the PCB substrate is thinner than at previous CPU generations and the die is much smaller which results in much higher surface pressure.
Making this problem even worse: Directly beneath the die there is a pocket in the socket. As there is no direct contact to dissipate the force to the socket any clamping force will result in a deflection of the CPU package and damages can occur.
To reduce both issues, Aqua Computer has developed a CNC laser machined spacer consisting of a precision stainless spring steel sheet and a very thin heat resistant adhesive tape. The sheet is sanded after laser cutting to deburr it perfectly. This is important as for maximum protection the height of the spacer is only some 1/100 mm lower than the CPU die.
Due to this fact the clamping force of the CPU cooler will be dissipated by the spacer if the CPU package deforms more than the height difference between die and spacer. In this case the force is dissipated to the outer faces of the socket. It can handle higher forces as well during the mounting process or transportation of the system.