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.

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  • mode_13h - Friday, March 11, 2022 - link

    Always glad to share!

    I know about laziness. I probably should be working on programming puzzles, since I hear job interviews tend to be big on those. The last time I did anything like that was Google's "foobar", which was pretty fun. I did well enough to get an interview, but I didn't pursue it.
  • GeoffreyA - Monday, March 14, 2022 - link

    I really wish I had known about these things, or that they had existed, 10-15 years ago. I had a thirst for programming back then and, if I may say so, would've done well. I've let go of thinking of myself as a programmer any more, but still hope to keep up an acquaintance with code.
  • mode_13h - Monday, March 14, 2022 - link

    Anything to keep your mind active is good!

    Especially learning *new* things. The first time I tried to learn another spoken language, as an adult, I could feel the blood rushing to my brain as I struggled to remember and pronounce new words and phrases.
  • GeoffreyA - Monday, March 14, 2022 - link


    I am learning francaise, the beautiful language itself these days (and incidentally, it makes me so disappointed in English as always). There was a great article on Quanta last week that really got my brain working too.

  • mode_13h - Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - link

    OMG, I stay away from any cutting-edge theoretical physics. I'm not investing that much effort into trying to understand something that will likely turn out to be wrong. It'd be different if I had a stake in the matter, but there's more than enough more practical stuff I should be learning.

    But, if you enjoy it, and trying to wrap your head around it, then it's far from the worst way you could spend your time!
  • GeoffreyA - Friday, March 18, 2022 - link

    I enjoy it, and wish I was a physicist, but it does drain out the mind considerably, and afterwards one feels it's all rather meaningless, and it's the practical business of life that really counts: love, family, work, etc.
  • mode_13h - Friday, March 18, 2022 - link

    A lot of physicists don't have a career doing physics!

    It's not a bad field of study, but it doesn't pay the bills for many.

    That said, I'm sure all the big quantum computing projects are staffed by some of the best physicists.
  • GeoffreyA - Saturday, March 19, 2022 - link

    Yep, there's big money to be made in this field right now. Intel should jump on the quantum bandwagon any day now, if they haven't already done so.
  • Silver5urfer - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    High respect to AT team, for mentioning the fundamental design flaw of this 12th generation. Intel really screwed up hard. Nobody cares, esp those Youtubers.

    They messed up the ILM hard. And the AVX512 fuse off is another gigantic kick in the face, latest update they are saying Intel will fuse them off from factory. If we see the silicon area on the ADL processors for P cores it occupies a good chunk of space plus it allows the P core to fully unleash it's performance (no more E-Cores hampering the Uncore and Powerplane and overall CPU performance)

    Prime reason to skip this entire 12th gen, esp with the new rumors saying RPL LGA1700 Z700 chipset might be DDR5 only, so you get this haphazardly designed ILM which requires end user to perform a Socket mod (I would not do it despite love tinkering because the torque and all the fitting is not public, Igor clearly mentioned this) for DDR4 or buy the uber expensive DDR5 kits which have 2 flaws on their own - Price to performance, Dual Rank kits mandatory for ADL IMC to maximize the quad channel speed and performance, a.k.a needing APEX or Unify X or Tachyon all top end boards HWBot grade.

    Intel really messed this, a solid CPU Arch but from an enthusiast point of view who wants to use a PC for decades going forth. AMD also, AM4 has it's own share of issues - AGESA1.2.0.5 is busted, they still did not fix the IOD USB issues through firmware, it has been plaguing the platform. And now no more X3D CPUs refresh which would have perfectly fixed all the firmware problems and IOD and DRAM plus the WHEA. Sad, still Ryzen is best if you do not want to OC or tweak just enable PBO2 and that's it. Let it do it's job, and do not touch DRAM past 3600MHz. For Intel LGA1200 10th gen is best for SMT performance and all workloads for those who want PCIe4.0 (still not a big deal because not much use) a 11900K is fine but the absolute worst class of binning, poor IMC is a strict no no. The biggest loss going with LGA1200 Z590 is DMI speed is very low. But since majority will not saturate the NVMe on a constant load it is okay, a shame if 10900K had DMI of 11th gen it would have been solid since both X570 and Z590 are practically same in PCH link lanes, only on the CPU side Ryzen has extra USB but with the crapping out it doesn't make sense, at-least to me.

    AM5 needs maturity as well, first customers will always end up being guinea pigs. Still I would like to see how AMD plays their game, and I'm looking forward since it won't have BS E-Core crap. Full fast fat cores.
  • Makaveli - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    No USB issues here on AGESA Patch C or WHEA.

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