Even before the presentation of Intel Alder Lake desktop processors, information appeared on the Web that they had a problem with cooling – the coolers did not fit tightly to the covers of the new chips, which interfered with the normal heat dissipation. Igor Wallossek, creator of the Igor’s Lab resource, studied the issue, finding out the causes of the problem and finding a solution to it.
Cooling manufacturers, system integrators and other companies are reporting a growing number of dissatisfied customers who report cooling issues with Alder Lake, Vollossek said. The reviewer himself reports that in some cases, the difference in temperatures depending on the chip and motherboard can reach 9 ° C, which is extremely large.
Initially, it was assumed that the reason for the problem of loose contact between the cooler base and the processor cover is that the cover itself has a convex shape. Indeed, in some instances, the lid is curved, which interferes with normal contact: as shown in the photo above, the thermal paste trace is uneven, concentrated closer to the center, where the processor lid protrudes. But it turned out that in fact the problem is complex, and uneven covers are only one of the components.
It turned out that poor quality LGA 1700 processor sockets on motherboards are also the cause of poor contact. When installing the processor, the socket is deformed due to “too soft materials”. As an example, we take an ASRock Z690 Extreme motherboard, the socket of which was absolutely normal before the processor was installed, but after that it became somewhat deformed. And this even without installing a cooler. Also, the rear reinforcing plate was bent 2 mm from the plane (pictured below). And it’s not even the cheapest board on the market. It is noted that some budget models have an uneven processor connector straight from the factory.
The author came up with his own solution – to use coolers with really massive rear reinforcing plates, which, unlike those installed on the motherboard, will not bend during the installation of the processor. However, the cooler plate must be fixed to the board before installing the processor, otherwise the socket will suffer irreparable damage. When Vallossek tried to secure the backplate after installing the processor, he said he clearly felt the resistance created by the deformed socket when screwing on the plate.
Therefore, it is recommended to use high-quality coolers with massive mounting plates with Alder Lake processors. Then the chances of a normal cooling of the processor are greatly increased. But coolers that are attached to a crosspiece or in any other way will not save you from socket distortion. Alternatively, it is recommended to look for more expensive boards with better quality sockets, but there are no guarantees.