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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  • Kyrie - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    The main problem with 12300 is the existence of 12100(F).
  • Alistair - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    The quad cores are garbage because they are either not available or incorrectly priced.

    Right now in Canada I can buy the 12400f for $199, and i3 on the other hand is $220. ... Pointless.
  • yetanotherhuman - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    Those fans look to be using turbulent flow, not laminar.
    They blow down, it seems. What a stupid name.
  • AshlayW - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    For 150 USD or £140 this is a really nice product from Intel. Good to see some good value/budget options. Normally I would scoff at a quad core but the Golden Cove cores here are strong enough that it does really well for itself. AMD is in a spot of trouble if they don't lower 5600X price.
  • porina - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    Did Cinebench R23 change behaviour compared to earlier versions? That's quite a difference with DDR4 - DDR5 scaling in multi-thread. Up to R20 it seemed insignificantly affected by ram. I did quickly test R23 on 6700k at 2133 vs 3200, and saw no significant difference there. So I'd question that specific result, unless DDR5 does something with R23?
  • erotomania - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    R23 seems to be the same on the surface, just with the addition of an adjustable looping timer. Perhaps running the test for 10 or 30 minutes shows the RAM differences much better than 1 run, of several seconds to several minutes, depending on core count.
  • brantron - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    Gear 1 adds a few watts, which may exceed a power limit. Peak power of 68 watts was with DDR5, which requires gear 2.

    Some 65w Rocket Lake CPUs do the same thing. It can be overridden.
  • porina - Saturday, March 5, 2022 - link

    Good point, fixed power limits can cause what you described. If that is the reason, would it not apply to R20 also? Unless R23 does behave very differently to R20.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    Thanks Gavin! While I agree with much of what you wrote, I have one question: Why test a decidedly budget CPU only in a clearly premium-level board, with a also not-so-cheap AIO cooling? Both cost a lot more than the i3 itself. Yes, I assume you're doing so to minimize differences to test of better and pricier CPUs, but I really doubt a $ 130 CPU would find itself in a high-end board with that AIO cooling attached. Wouldn't it make sense to test a CPU in its "natural habitat", so in a budget socket 1700 board with the stock cooler on it? Just wondering.
  • cowymtber - Saturday, March 5, 2022 - link

    AMD doesn't want to be mentioned anywhere near the term, "budget" going forward. AMD's goal is to assume the premium/luxury class role (selling $15k EPYC 3D stacked Genoa). Chasing the low-end makes it difficult to attain high margins. This is why we have not seen the low-end Zen 3 updates to this point.

    With Zen 4, we will see the 1M L2 + 64M 3D stacked-fed L3, full-fat cores. The raw performance in single and multithread will render those Intel E cores worthless. The 7950X3D will give Threadripper-class multithread, along with fantastical single-core performance.

    Its not that AMD doesn't care about the low-end anymore....they just don't care about the low-end anymore.

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