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Intel 14900KS runs so hot, PC makers can officially dismantle it

The first delidded Core i9 14900KS gaming systems appear, promising improved cooling, and they're reportedly backed up by Intel's warranty.

Delidded Intel CPU

Intel has opened a “special deal” with select PC manufacturers, which enables these system builders to officially dismantle its new hot-running Intel Core i9 14900KS to improve its cooling, with Intel still covering the doctored CPU under its warranty. This process is called ‘delidding’ among overclockers and PC enthusiasts, and it’s never been officially endorsed by Intel before, as it involves taking the CPU package apart.

With its high price, sky high power draw, and hot running silicon, the Intel Core i9 14900KS is unlikely to find a spot on our best gaming CPU guide, but this flagship processor does show just how far you can push the Intel 10nm Raptor Lake architecture if you have powerful cooling at your disposal.

Overclockers have already had it running at 9.1GHz with liquid helium cooling, and it potentially offers an enormous amount of processing power if you water cool your PC. For those of you who prefer to just set and forget your CPU settings, delidding a CPU basically means you’re popping off the metal heatspreader that sits on top of your processor’s silicon.

You can then either apply thermal paste of your own choosing between the CPU and the heatspreader, or you can just leave the CPU die naked. This latter approach is used for direct die cooling, where the chip makes direct contact with your CPU cooler.

We’d heard rumors about Intel allowing 14900KS delidding before the launch, but expert overclocker (and delidding tool maker) der8auer has now confirmed it in a video where he examines the new CPU, which you can see below. “Delidding is something that’s quite interesting with the 14900KS,” he says, “because there seems to be some kind of special deal going on behind the doors with Intel and some selected SIs [systems integrators].”

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According to der8auer, some of these PC manufacturers “will be allowed to delid the 14900KS for you and they will still be covered by Intel’s warranty…so you might be able to find some high-end maybe overclocked systems out there with delidded 14900KS, maybe with some kind of direct die cooling solution, that comes officially with Intel’s warranty.”

In fact, we’re already starting to see these delidded systems pop up for sale. US PC manufacturer Maingear is now listing the delidded Core i9 14900KS in its CPU options for a number of its Intel-based gaming PCs. Opting for this CPU will cost you $845, adding $200 to the existing cost of the 14900KS, and Maingear describes it as offering “increased performance & cooling.”

Maingear delidded Intel Core i9 14900KS gaming PC spec

The company states that it’s “proud to offer delidded Core i9-14900KS processors as an option for customers seeking enhanced performance without compromising the factory warranty.” The system builder also says that the delidding process means it “can crank the speed and endured performance of these processors even higher.”

Sadly, it looks as though you can’t just delid a Core i9 14900KS yourself, and then claim a warranty replacement if it goes wrong, though. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t count for us normal consumers,” says der8auer.

Even so, this is a very interesting move from Intel. Although the company allows overclocking features on its products, it’s not often that you find them backed up by the warranty.

As a case in point, even using the XMP profile on your memory can technically break the warranty on your CPU, with the Core i9 14900K only officially supporting 5,600MHz DDR5 RAM and 3,200MHz DDR4 memory. Even if it hasn’t been explicitly stated by Intel anywhere, it looks as though system builders are indeed able to get permission to delid CPUs for high-end gaming machines.

If you’re looking to make your own rig without a delidded CPU, though, make sure you read our full guide on how to build a gaming PC, where we run you through every step of the process.