Intel 7700K

Intel’s latest statement has outraged its loyal customers and confounded many others. The Intel 7700K CPU owners who have been complaining about heating problems got a really confusing response from the company.

What was the issue?

Users contend that Intel used a substandard TIM (Thermal Interface Material) for the premium 7700K, resulting in inordinately high temperatures. Some people report spikes of 65°C at idle, while these temps go up to 90°C+ on heavy loads.

Intel 7700k overheating
Spike much. [Source – Image on Intel forums by https://communities.intel.com/people/ra5040 ]
Interestingly, the problem seems to surface after trying to cross 4.7 GHz using manual overclocking. Even though the voltage required is not too high, the temperatures appear to shoot up drastically.

De-lidding, or removing the heat spreader of the CPU manually and applying a fresh TIM before resealing has yielded considerably better results for several users. In fact, a 5.0 GHz stable Intel 7700K is not unheard of. However, since it involves voiding your warranty instantly, this hardly constitutes a viable or fair solution for those who spent $300+ on an overclockable CPU.

Over the past few months, after over 30 pages of complaints on the Intel forums, users still hoped for a solution to the problem. Especially because the problem seems to be alleviated when a better quality TIM was used.

However, Intel’s response to this flurry of complaints was…..interesting.

Intel’s Response

Laughable doesn’t even begin to describe the response. Here’s an excerpt from the Intel rep’s reply on the forums –

“In our internal investigation, we did not observe temperature variation outside of the expected behavior and recommended specifications. For processor specifications, please refer to the Intel® Core™ i7-7700K Processor Product Specifications.

We do not recommend running outside the processor specifications, such as by exceeding processor frequency or voltage specifications, or removing of the integrated heat spreader (sometimes called “de-lidding”). These actions will void the processor warranty.”

Apparently, Intel’s solution is – don’t overclock or tinker with your Intel 7700K CPU. A processor that commands a premium, for the sole advantage of buying a chip that CAN be overclocked!

Result

The resounding success of AMD Ryzen in conjunction with Intel’s poor response to a real problem will only hurt it further. Intel’s forum is now full of infuriated customers who have just been told not to overclock. Keep in mind. This is an advantage Intel specifically advertises to sell the ‘K’ chips at a premium price.

Intel 'K' chips overclocking
Intel showcasing the chip’s ‘overclocking capabilities’ [Source – Techgage]
Unfortunately, those who have already bought these chips and a pricey Z270 motherboard are only left with two options –

  1. Make do without overclocking past 4.7 GHz.
  2. De-lid your CPU and apply a better quality TIM. Caution – this not only voids your warranty, but you could also render your brand-new CPU useless if something goes wrong.

For those still on the fence and are waiting to upgrade their rigs, I’d suggest giving the premium ‘K’ chips a miss for now.

Moreover, AMD Ryzen 5 and 7 are real competitors. All Ryzen CPUs offer similar gaming performance to the Intel Kaby Lake chips (-10% at worst) while boasting more cores and a huge advantage over their Intel counterparts in productivity tasks.

Intel needs to stop making missteps like this and must keep in mind that they will lose even their most loyal fanbase if this keeps up. De-lidding and replacing the TIM seems to solve the problem for most people, which points to the existence of a manufacturing-level problem.