These Easy Alder Lake Socket Mods Show Big Drops In Intel 12th Gen CPU Temps

hero thermal grizzly cpu contact frame fixed
In case you haven't heard, extreme overclockers have found frustration with Intel's latest LGA socket and it's ILM (Integrated Loading Mechanism) because it bends the CPUs ever-so-slightly, creating an air gap in the middle and preventing proper thermal transfer. It's not really a problem for your run-of-the-mill gaming rig, but for the hardcore OC crew, a few extra degrees of CPU temperature can shave megahertz of performance off their chip, causing them to lose out on lucrative world record overclocks.

lappedcpu beforeafter
These pictures from champion OCer Splave show the effect of the bending.

We've seen a couple of solutions to this issue already. The fellow who broke the story, Igor Wallossek, advised friends to use 1.0mm washers between the CPU's loading mechanism and the motherboard. This reduces the amount of loading force that the frame exhibits on the CPU, which in turn reduces the amount of bending.

For folks who are too fancy to be sliding washers into tight places in their PC, you can 3D print a bracket, or if you're particularly posh, you can purchase an aluminum plate from Thermalright. However, neither solution is suitable for extreme overclockers. That's because the liquid nitrogen that they use lowers temperatures so far that these brackets can shift and squeeze the CPU, possibly loosening its connection to the motherboard.

installing contact frame
Considerable care is required when installing the CPU Contact Plate.

We wouldn't consider ourselves extreme overclockers here, so we have not validated this claim. However, der8auer has a possible solution he's promoting as well, offering the Thermal Grizzly CPU Contact Plate, which is functionally similar to the Thermalright bracket we looked at before.

This plate is made from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum, though, painstakingly black-anodized to reduce conductivity. The alloyed aluminum is quite resistant to thermal expansion and contraction, which makes it ideally suited for extreme overclockers bolting LN2 pots to their Alder Lake CPUs.

alphacool apex backplate
Alphacool's Apex backplate can prevent bending through sheer toughness.

Alternatively, you could try to solve the problem another way. Alphacool sells a specialized backplate for its liquid-coolers called Apex that is much thicker and stiffer than the stock backplate. In this way, it can help prevent bending due to the immense torsion on the CPU socket.

Igor's Lab tested both the Thermal Grizzly plate and the Apex plate, as well as both together, and compared them to the OG washer mod. The Thermal Grizzly plate came out the best, with an over-10ºC decrease in CPU temperatures. Meanwhile, on a lapped CPU with a lapped cooler, der8auer was able to reduce his Intel CPUs' junction temperatures by as much as 7.1ºC. If you're thermally-constrained on your LGA 1700 CPU overclock, you might want to look into one of these plates or the washer mod, because these gains are legitimate.

Intel's forthcoming Raptor Lake CPUs are going to use the same LGA 1700 socket, because they're slated to slot right into existing Alder Lake motherboards. It will be interesting to see if they suffer the same sort of issues with bending and cooling. Hopefully Intel can get the situation sorted for next generation 700-series motherboards.