Intel Core i5 9400F Might Come With Thermal Paste
Samuel Wan / 2 years ago
Intel Mixes Thermal Paste With Solder For 9400F
With the new generation of 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs, Intel has introduced two often called for features. One is the return of solder TIM (sTIM) for the mainstream CPU lineup. Second is the introduction of CPUs that do not have integrated graphics or iGPUs. Both features have been delivered with various degrees of success. Unfortunately, it looks like the use of soldered TIM will be limited to a select few CPUs. For customers buying the new Core i5 9400F, they will only sometimes get sTIM.
As a part of the F series, the Core i5 9400F does not have an iGPU. In every other respect, it will be the same as the mainstream 9400. This means 6 cores running at 2.9 GHz, 9MB of cache and 65W TDP. Due to the low TDP perhaps, Intel is dispensing with soldered TIM for some of these chips. Intel has released two steppings, with the P0 stepping with 8 cores cut down to six and the U0 with 6 cores standard. There are notable differences due to the change in stepping. This is because the P0 has sTIM while the U0 uses plain old thermal paste.
Core i3 Chips Won’t Have Solder
One reason behind this move may be due to the chips being different. The packaging for the U0 uses a thinner PCB and uses the same IHS as the 8th gen chips. As you recall, the 8th gen chips did not use sTIM. The larger gap between the chip and the IHS in the old designs might require the use of thermal paste. Similarly, Intel has noted in the past that small dies do not work well with solder. The small surface area can lead to cracking. As a result, with a smaller 6 core die, solder may not be beneficial enough.
For now, customers will have to be wary of which stepping they get. Looking at the IHS should be one indicator. Moving forward, however, Intel does plan to unify their lineup. This will probably mean moving all 9400F and 9400 CPUs to use sTIM. While they don’t clock as high as the K series and are only 65W, better thermals will get better boost clocks. Perhaps this means more maybe 8 core i5 dies in the future. Finally, the Core i3 series will likely stick with thermal paste for now.