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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  • Ryan Smith - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    "No iGPU benchmarks, why?"

    Frankly, we haven't been doing iGPU benchmarks for desktop processors for a while. It's been a shortcut to get CPU reviews done on time.

    That needs to (and will be) changing. But right now if we benchmarked the i3-12300's iGPU, we wouldn't have sufficient data to compare it to anyhow.
  • nandnandnand - Sunday, March 6, 2022 - link

    Comparing it to the Vega 6 in the 5300G should get the point across: UHD 730 is weak.
  • kkilobyte - Sunday, March 6, 2022 - link

    Really? I've checked the archives in the 'CPU' section of anandtech. The last extensive review of an AMD Desktop CPU seems to be the 5300G/5600G/5700G... And it featured two pages of iGPU tests... And the first page of the same review was 'Power Consumption'.
    So your 'shortcuts' seem to be a bit... Selective, I'd say.
  • DannyH246 - Sunday, March 6, 2022 - link

    Intel cannot be shown in ANY bad light.
  • paulwalker - Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - link

    Lovely pictures, awesome these are looking so funny interesting but professional and artistic pics.

    <a href="https://starboardgroup.com/team/">andrew levy starboard</a>
  • Spunjji - Monday, March 7, 2022 - link

    It's bad. How bad? Take Vega 6, divide by two (or three depending on application).
  • MDD1963 - Monday, April 25, 2022 - link

    Suspect your desired iGPU performance figures of 12300's performance would still best those of the 5900X and 5950X....? :)
  • fmyhr - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    What's the status of ECC RAM support for Alder Lake CPUs? Does DDR5 support imply ECC support? Are there different levels of ECC for DDR5? Intel Ark is no help. Thanks for any hints.
  • mode_13h - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Yes, according to ark.intel.com, ECC support is *not* listed for this or its sibling. They *do* list ECC support for the "E" and "TE" variants, but I don't know if you'll be able to source those easily, or how you'll find motherboard compatibility.

    Basically, plan on using an E-series Xeon, if you want ECC on Alder Lake.
  • Slash3 - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    The -E/TE are BGA variants for embedded applications. It will need to be a Xeon.

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