MSI's CPU Guard aims to keep your Skylake chip from bending under pressure

MSI says it has just what you need to keep your Skylake CPU from bending due to a monster cooling set-up: a metal frame.

Gaming PC specialist MSI has a solution for Skylake CPUs that might bend under the pressure of an over-sized cooling set-up. The company recently announced a new product called CPU Guard 1151—the number being Skylake’s socket type—that strengthens the corners of the chip allowing it to withstand more vertical pressure.

The new device is basically a metal frame that goes around the socket on 1151 motherboards, as Maximum PC first reported. MSI hasn’t said when the new device will be available for purchase or how much it will cost. The new CPU guard will work with all 1151 processors, including the Xeon E3 v5, Core, Pentium, and Celeron lines.

guard1151

MSI's CPU Guard 1151 with a delidded Skylake processor.

MSI also says CPU Guard is an ideal tool for anyone interested in delidding their CPU. Delidding is when you remove the CPU’s integrated heat spreader (IHS) in order to reapply a higher quality thermal paste to the IHS, or just keep it off completely.

Why would you even want to do that? Delidding can help improve the performance of the chip by reducing the CPU temperature. Suffice to say, it's a high risk move that only the most audacious hardcore overclockers should even consider attempting. If you doubt that, watch this:

That’s an Ivy Bridge CPU. In a vise. Getting tapped by a block of wood.

Why this matters: Intel decided to use a thinner substrate that makes Skylake chips visibly slimmer than their predecessors. Nevertheless, Intel kept the static load specs the same at 50 pounds of force (lbf) as previous generations. Many third-party cooling companies didn’t bother to change their designs for Skylake as a result. In fact, some may have even be pushing past those lbf limits knowing that previous chips could take a little added pressure. Whatever the cause, some Skylake users report their CPUs would physically bend under pressure from third-party coolers, especially after a PC was transported.

Should you buy it?

It’s hard to say for sure how well CPU Guard 1151 would work as a solution to protect against potential Skylake damage since we don’t know how much it costs or even what it’s made out of. MSI says the contraption was used at a recent overclocking event to great effect. If it turns out to be an inexpensive buy it might be worth the cost.

Then again, since the Skylake bending issue typically happens after a desktop gets dropped or moved a little too vigorously, a better solution might be to just remove your big honkin' CPU cooler before tossing your PC around.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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