German retailer Caseking are offering custom Intel Coffee Lake i7 8700K processors with a 99.9% silver lid, because you can never have too many precious metals when it comes to PC building.
Push your processor with our overclocking guide.
Similar to opening an entire booster box of gen one Pokemon cards in search of one shiny Charizard to sell on eBay, retailers (such as Overclockers in the UK) have been checking batches of their processor stock, finding the best ones, and selling them at a premium for guaranteed overclocking performance, often with new thermal material under the hood.
Caseking are opting to take things a little further. With the help of their resident overclocker, Der8auer, they are finding their top chips, delidding them, and fitting them with a shiny 99.9% IHS. Plus, it will only cost you an extra €500 for the service. Bargain.
Caseking’s 'Ultra' 8700K will be able to hit a guaranteed 5.2GHz, but while the binned performance is nice, standard, out-of-the-box chips will top 5GHz as standard, with some able to remain stable at 5.2GHz at decent voltages without any modifications at all.
The process of binning chips is nothing new, and it makes a lot of sense for retailers specifically targeting overclockers. If you require a processor that can likely hit those extra high clockspeeds at everyday voltages, and you’ve got the cash to back it up, why leave it up to the silicon lottery? Retailers can offer this service due to their potentially high sample size of chips, and it avoids the crippling pain if you accidentally shatter the die on your very expensive processor.
Though there is still a question over just how large a sample size is really available right now for Intel's latest processor range...
We managed to reach 5.2GHz with our own Intel Core i7 8700K, although temps for our overclocked chips reached a toasty 91°C under load. This is quite an increase over the stock processor’s 70°C, however we have not replaced any of the thermal materials on the processor, and our test bench is fitted with Corsair’s H100i V.2. With much beefier cooling, or replacing the TIM, the high temperature won’t be as much of an issue, and it won’t cost you €500 for the privilege.
The silver IHS has certainly generated some buzz even though its audience is pretty limited. You have to question how many potential customers require such a procedure on their CPU and have the money to back it up. Money that could be put towards much more expensive HEDT components if required, or even custom cooling to keep those temps down if the single-core performance of the 8700K is an absolute necessity.
Considering most 8700K chips will reach the 5GHz mark with a simple overclock, these chips have very little real-world benefit for the price. A silver IHS may aid in thermal performance, and binned chips do offer some guarantee of performance compared to the usual luck-of-the-draw, but for the price of these 'Ultra' chips, you could hamfistedly delid your processor, botch it and brick your chip, and still be able to afford a backup for another attempt.