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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  • Calin - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Last page:
    "Intel has rated the i3-12300 at base frequencies with a TDP of 60 W and a 69 W TDP when at turbo clock speeds." - the TDP was mentioned in the first page as 89W (basically a tie to the 88W of AMD).
    "Due to AMD's Zen architectures, Intel has been on the ropes in both performance and value for a while." - Intel suffered a lot from their inability to improve their lithography, they could have been competitive in cost, performance and power use with better lithography
    " One of AMD's most cost-effective processors remains the Ryzen 5 5600X, with six cores, eight threads" - it has 12 threads.

    All in all, AMD still make sense in an "upgrade only the processor" scenario - though that could be a niche within a niche. And, apparently, the greatest competition the i3-12300 with DDR5 has is from the i3-12300 with DDR4 (or maybe an i5 with DDR4).
  • Wereweeb - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Intel's dies are massive and entirely fabbed in Intel 7. They're only competing in cost because Intel is deliberately choosing to sacrifice their famous "Intel margins" to get back into the market.

    Failing to do that might've meant inactive fabs, and if fabs aren't making money they're losing money (Since new fabs are so expensive and there's a definite time frame where they can recuperate the investments into cutting edge tooling, after which wafer prices will tend to fall)

    This is Intel at it's most desperate yet, and I'm loving it.
  • Calin - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    Intel still reports very high "Gross Margins". How much other activities (cough OEM bribes cough) eat into this might not be truly evident.
    As for "Failing to do that might've meant inactive fabs, and if fabs aren't making money they're losing money"...
    AMD simply can not produce enough - so if Intel stopped fabrication of those inferior processors (of the last at least couple of years), prices would have exploded.
    While I don't condone the US government saving banks involved in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, at this moment at least Intel truly is too big to fail.
  • Lbibass - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    In my opinion, running both of these CPUs with JDEC standard memory is an incredibly stupid idea that makes this review significantly less useful. DDR4 3600cl18 or 3200cl16 are super affordable. DDR5 is not affordable right now, but purchasing DDR5 with similar latencies (timing in terms of ns, not just CAS latency) would result in a much more effective review.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    So where is this ddr5 that has equivalent latency? Also no matter which ddr4 kit is used the peanut gallery will complain it isn’t the RIGHT kit
  • AlB80 - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Imho, running both of these CPUs with XMP profile is an incredibly stupid idea for review.
    CPU, MB and stick makers give guarantee only for JEDEC profiles.
  • Wereweeb - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    If you mean warranty, how are they going to prove that you were running it with XMP on?
  • AlB80 - Saturday, March 5, 2022 - link

    Guarantee of stable operation. XMP is always OC.
    Also all XMP sticks have very low JEDEC profiles.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, March 6, 2022 - link

    If JEDEC’s actual mission is stability, ECC should have been required for many many years now.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, March 6, 2022 - link

    The Apple Lisa bad ECC. That was 1983 tech. I am less than impressed with jEDEC and its alleged concern with stability.

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