Thermalright Built An Anti-Bending Plate For Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs

hero thermalrightbracket
If you don't pay close attention to the enthusiast PC building and overclocking scene, you may not be aware that Intel's LGA 1700 socket used by its 12th-generation Alder Lake CPUs has a small-but-significant design quirk. You see, unlike previous Intel LGA CPU sockets going back all the way to LGA 775, the LGA 1700 socket used by 12th-gen CPUs is quite a bit longer than it is wide.

Because of this change, the two-point loading mechanism used by the Intel CPUs puts considerable stress on the center of the CPU IHS, and in turn, causes it to flex, actually bending the soft nickel-plated-copper heatspreader on top of the CPU. This results in a height discrepancy between the edges of the CPU IHS and the center.

bent cpu
This CPU has been bent. Image: Igor's Lab

Such a gap is extremely small, yet it's enough to worsen cooling performance right over the hottest part of the CPU IHS, directly above the CPU die itself. In testing performed by Igor's Lab, Actually Hardcore Overclocking, Karta's OC Garage, and other sites, users have confirmed that various mods—including using 1mm washers, or 3D-printing your own bracket—can relieve this flexing and improve cooling performance by as much as 6°C.

Well, if all that sounds like too much trouble, you might be in luck. It seems like Thermalright is about to release a custom aluminum retention bracket for Alder Lake CPUs. While the cooling company hasn't announced it yet, the sharp-eyed Frenchmen over at Cowcotland noticed a listing on Taobao for the LGA1700-BCF, or "Bending Corrector Frame."

bracket installed

It's a pretty simple product, on the face of it—just a machined aluminum frame that replaces the stock Intel ILM with one that tightly encircles the CPU in the socket. It appears to be available in either red or grey, although the images on the site mention a black version, too.

It seems like the bracket will include a simple torx driver for the screws that hold the ILM in place, as well as a small tube of Thermalright TF7 paste. That's not bad for a product that costs just ¥39, or about US$6.