LGA1700: Reports of Bending Sockets

Since the launch of Intel's Alder Lake-based 12th generation Core processors, there have been several reports of high and abnormal temperatures, even at stock frequencies. The art in balancing out the integrated heat spreader (IHS) of a processor is one thing extreme overclockers have been working on for many years now. Typically called lapping, extreme overclockers finely sand down the IHS to make it a more flat and even surface. The aim is to reduce gaps by sanding out imperfections or curvatures. This is so that the cooling plate of the CPU cooler makes better contact with the IHS, and it has been known to reduce CPU thermals by a decent amount.

Our Core i9-12900K IHS is 'relatively' flat and even.

Fellow enthusiast Igor Wallossek published an article on his website, Igorlabs.de, which investigates potential issues with the ILM (independent loading mechanism), which keeps the processor firmly in place within the socket. Doing some investigations myself, our testbed Core i9-12900K which we've used the most doesn't seem to show any noticeable gaps or abnormal curvatures when used with a metal ruler. This, however, changes when we install the CPU into an LGA1700 socket or into one of the readily available Z690 motherboards.

The rear of the Intel LGA1700 socket with Core i9-12900K installed

There have been many reports that installing an Alder Lake processor into one of the cheaper Z690 or B660 models causes the CPU socket to bend and the IHS itself. We saw no bending before installing our Alder Lake processor into the socket of the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master, which is a premium board priced around $470. Installing the Core i9-12900K into the socket and locking the ILM into place, we saw noticeable bending on the rear of the board, as our picture above illustrates.

The implications of this are two-fold. Firstly, from a cooling standpoint, it will and can lead to increased thermals due to the gaps this creates between the cold plate of the cooler and the IHS on the CPU. While thermal paste will generally fill some of the gaps, the problem is the nature of the gap and its size that the increased pressure the ILM creates. The second and perhaps the most fundamental part of this, it should NOT be happening.

Buildzoid 'rambles' about the LGA1700 washer mod, a potential fix?

While PCBs can be flexible, the nature of heat creating further expansion could lead to damaged sockets damaged processors and ultimately leave users with an expensive headache. There's also the potential to create permanent bends in the PCB area around the socket. This is not a good thing. It should be noted that LGA1700 motherboards either use ILM's manufacturers by Lotes or Foxconn, but it's reported that both ILMs are affected by this issue.

Fundamentally, there are a couple of potential workarounds to the issue, including a large, robust backplate. Still, on some of the AIO coolers, we have seen recently, these usually come with flimsy plastic backplates. Another potential fix is installing four washers to alleviate the issue. Both Igorlabs.de and Buildzoid have posted content detailing this, with Igor Wallossek doing some testing using washers of a different thickness to show variation.

The Intel Core i3-12300 Review: Quad-Core Alder Lake Intel Core i3-12300 Performance: DDR5 vs DDR4
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  • skydiverian - Saturday, March 5, 2022 - link

    It's been 2 months since non-K Alder Lake CPUs launched (including all quad core SKUs) and they are definitely available in the UK from reputable independent retailers that specialise in computer equipment. The 12100 is available & in stock for £135 - around £30 more than the 10100 and £5 less than the 10300. Not great prices but from experience fairly typical for the market, at least in the UK.

    The US isn't great though the usual suspects do have some options. Considering that everyone seems to have the 12xxxK SKUs in stock it will likely be easy to get whatever you want in a month or 2.
  • bwj - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    The fact that your i3 beats your i5 in Speedometer 2 implies a problem with the platform. Windows should be keeping a user-interactive process on the P cores all the time, but it seems from these results that Chrome's threads are wandering between P and E cores. There's really no other explanation for why the i5-12600K with 11% higher clocks gets a lower score.

    Personally I find the E cores more of a hazard than a benefit, and I have them disabled.
  • brantron - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    The scores are all too low. Prior reviews used Chrome 92, which is missing a significant V8 update for Windows.

    Mobile CPUs also exhibit this behavior, due to more hardware managed power states. It is a royal PITA to find the secret handshake that maintains their litany of peak clocks per CPU core, ring bus, memory controller, RAM, etc.

    My Tiger Lake i5 goes from 160 to 200 in Speedometer by adding "processor energy performance preference policy" to the Windows power advanced power settings menu. Reducing it to 0% raises the minimum clock speed to about 3 GHz.

    Alder Lake CPUs with E cores introduce another variable with the hardware thread scheduler. There is also a larger ring bus on the i5 12600K, which increases latency.
  • bwj - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Yes the scores are extremely low. With current Chrome/Linux on an i7-12700K with the E-cores disabled I get 305.

    Considering that the browser is a compiler for Javascript it doesn't make a lot of sense to freeze its version. It would be nice if we could get a rolling picture, based on a few key reference systems, of what a buyer *today* would experience with *today's* software.
  • Makaveli - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Those Speedometer scores have always been off. Take look at the thread in the forum with user posted scores.

  • kpb321 - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Anyone else find the DDR4 vs DDR5 graphs annoying? I realize they are sorted by performance but with only 2 entries in each one I think it would make a lot more sense to just have a consistent order.
  • CiccioB - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    That would just introduce the problem that you must check if a lower bar is better than a longer one, or viceversa.
    Ordering it by performance allows to easily see which is faster and by what amount.
  • Mike Bruzzone - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Beyond industrial embedded for control plane / processing [including coprocessing acceleration point of sale for example], I'm not sure why quads remain a subject of interest there are sooo many recent back generation options why even produce them today for mass market? Ryzen quads failing out of sort are relied in 1x8ccx+1x4ccx for dodadeca so they're still utilized but a standalone 4C/8t [?] there are so many good used options and hexa used [Coffee Lake] is gaining volume in the secondary market on system upgrade on hexa reclaim.

    All Alder i3 12300 available in the WW channel today equals 0.00047% of full line available. The top three AL SKUs are 12900K at 40.8%, 700K at 46.7% now at 87.6% of full line and number 3 SKU volume wise is 12400 at 2.5% and at number 4 is 12600K/Kf at 2.4% combined.

    On finished component yield and silicon performance all Alder Lake are essentially 900K/700K that is similar to Coffee Refresh octa before disablement most 9th gen started out as 9900_.

    On the AMD side you can purchase a used 2600 hexa for less than $100 and on WW channel availability that is for both used and new there are x126 more R5 2600 than i3 12300. Pursuant
    AMD quads 5300G has currently x37 more channel available and R3 3300X x25.

    Mike Bruzzone, Camp Marketing
  • Wereweeb - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    1) Speak english please

    2) An Alder Lake quad-core is equal or better than a Ryzen 5 2600. All benchmarks also show substantial improvements in 1% lows. What matters most is overall performance, not simply the number of cores.

    3) The vast majority of people are just fine running a modern quad-core.
  • Wereweeb - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    And yes, by "vast majority of people" I mean people, not "hurr durr 360hz monitor" g*mers.

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