Intel’s next-generation Alder Lake chips are impressive silicon, occupying some of the top spots on our list of best gaming cpu. That said, it hasn’t all been good news for the next-gen chipset: the Independent Loading Mechanism (ILM) that locks processors into their sockets on the LGA-1700 motherboard has been shown to cause a degree of distortion in the processors, with the middle curving inward and the top and bottom edges rising.
This causes processors to make uneven contact with CPU coolers, leading to higher operating temperatures and less room for overclocking. While this curvature does not appear to pose a significant risk to the life of the processor itself, AnandTech review of the Core i3-12300 processor shows that ILM can also cause the back of the CPU socket to bend, raising concerns about the long-term health of LGA-1700 motherboards. The video clip below demonstrates the processor warping in action:
In the absence of official word from Intel, some enthusiasts have developed their own answers, such as how to remove ILM and putting 1mm washers between it and the motherboardreducing the pressure, or even 3D printing of new custom ILMs to replace consumer motherboards. These fixes have been shown to improve the thermal performance of Alder Lake chips, but carry their own risks of user harm during installation and the unknown effects of long-term use.
Intel finally broke its silence on the matter in correspondence with our colleagues at Tom’s Hardware. An Intel spokesperson told them that all reports of Alder Lake bending so far conform to the manufacturer’s specifications and that there are currently no plans to redesign the LGA-1700 ILM. Additionally, the spokesperson stated that aftermarket modifications such as the washer hack or 3D printed ILM are not covered by official warranties:
“We have not received reports of 12th Gen Intel Core processors running out of specification due to changes to the Integrated Heatsink (IHS). Our internal data shows that the IHS on 12th Gen desktop processors may have a slight deflection after installation on socket. This slight deflection is expected and does not cause the processor to run out of specification. We strongly recommend against any modifications to the socket or independent loading mechanism. Such modifications would result in the processor operating out of specification and may void any product warranties . “
Intel’s statements for Tom’s Hardware are a bit reassuring regarding the health of the processor itself, but as Tom’s Hardware editor Paul Alcorn points out, Intel’s response regarding the backplate curvature and its potential effect on motherboards doesn’t seem especially definitive anyway:
“When there is backplate bending on the motherboard, the deformation is being caused by the mechanical load placed on the motherboard to make electrical contact between the CPU and the socket. There is no direct correlation between the IHS deflection and the board bending.” rear, plus both are caused by mechanical socket loading.”
For Alder Lake owners like me, who aren’t adventurous builders willing to risk these warranty-voiding socket modifications, it seems we have no choice but to wait and see the long-term health of the LGA-1700 motherboards. I am certainly hopeful that Intel’s confidence in the socket design will be assured and that it will not present significant issues in the future.