Overclocker lowers Alder Lake temperatures by 5C with rubber grommets

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The overclocking wizards at Igor’s Lab have been looking into user-reported cooling issues surrounding Intel’s new LGA 1700 socket. While Alder Lake CPUs get hot under full load, the problem is not the heat caused by the CPU. People are finding that the integrated heat sink (IHS) on top of the chip is warping, resulting in less than optimal contact between the CPU and the cooling mechanism. This of course leads to all sorts of questions about which party is at fault here as there are many factors that contribute to the amount of pressure applied to the CPU heatsink and more importantly, where applies

The main problem with Intel’s new socket is that to accommodate the company’s first hybrid CPU architecture, which combines performance and efficiency cores in a single package, the company had to make its CPUs more rectangular than its previous offerings. . LGA 1200 and all consumer CPUs that followed were basically square, with most of the heat coming from a core in the center of the CPU. With Alder Lake and its hybrid architecture and rectangular shape, it’s more complicated. Even before the new CPUs were released, there were a plethora of articles discussing whether coolers made for older CPUs could cover the areas that needed cooling in LGA 1700, and we also inform When we first got a glimpse of the redesigned plug, we noted that repurposing an old cooler probably wouldn’t be effective.

Square design of LGA1200 compared to the elongated LGA1700. (Image: Guru3D)

However, the problem now rearing its ugly head is warped heat spreaders, which are made from a thin piece of nickel-plated copper and sit on top of the CPU die to interface with the cooling mechanism. According to Igor’s lab, the Integrated Loading Mechanism (ILM) in the socket, which is the device that secures the CPU in the socket itself, is applying pressure unevenly, and the result is curved heat sinks.

This is a big deal because Igor’s measurements show that small but significant gaps can occur between the heatsink and the cooler above it. Although thermal paste can help “bridge the gap” so to speak, it is not designed to bridge gaps. that large, so it’s not very effective. The main cause of this is that the ILM is putting pressure on the middle sides of the socket, instead of the corners as in previous sockets, causing the heat sink to be pushed towards the center. Another factor that may or may not be contributing here is that Alder Lake has a noticeably lower Z-height than LGA 1200, which supported Z-heights from 7,312mm to 8,249mm. LGA1700 is slimmer, with a z-height of 6529 to 7532 mm.

A straight edge on the top of an Alder Lake CPU that has seen hundreds of hours of operation shows a noticeable concave shape for the heatsink. (Image: Igor’s Lab)

So what is the solution? Igor’s Labs writes that buildzoid at Actual Hardcore Overclockers they had a “mod” theory that the problem could be solved by raising the height of the plinth with washers, which Igor tested and validated. He writes, “the grommets are simply installed between the motherboard and the ILM, effectively causing it to sit higher and thus putting less pressure on the CPU in the socket.” To make this modification, you will simply need to remove the four M4 Torx T20 screws that hold the ILM in place and then insert M4 washers over each of the holes.

The ILM was removed and the washers were placed. (Image: Igor’s Lab)

To see which washer thickness worked best, Igor’s lab tested a range of sizes including 0.5mm, 0.8mm, 1.0mm and 1.3mm. In their tests, they found that the ideal length was 1mm, and anything higher than that provided diminishing returns, and they also found that anything thicker than 1.8mm did not work due to the length of the ILM screws. .

Once all the washers were tried, the 1mm washer came out on top. In benchmarks, it was able to reduce the average temperature under load by an impressive 5.76C. This was on a Core i9-12900K with E cores disabled and P cores running at 5.1GHz on liquid. Without any grommet, the CPU peaked at 76.64 C, which then dropped to 70.88 C with the addition of the grommet. Overall, that’s a significant cooldown gain with such a simple mod. The only caveat here is that Igor’s Lab says it’s not sure if this “situation” applies to all LGA 1700 boards, but notes there are only two companies that make ILMs, which are Lotes and Foxconn, so they’ll try to test more of them in the future.

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