Four washers could help drop Intel Alder Lake CPU temps by up to 5°C

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It has been reported that some Intel Elder Lake processors may run hotter than expected due to slight bending of the processor and socket. But, if you get to your motherboard early on, you may be able to prevent the bending from happening in the first place with a simple fix. Doing so can drop a few Celsius to make your 12th generation chip work, and all you need is a handful of washers, a Torx T20 screwdriver bit, and a decently steady nerve to get it done.

Igor’s Lab Reports that by following this method, previously noted by overclockers buildzoid, it managed to reduce the Core i9 12900K temperature by up to 5°C under load in the Prime95. It’s nothing to sniff at, as this kind of drop in temperature can lead to happier, quieter PC builds over time.

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The main concept of the mod is to reduce slight bending of the heat spreader (IHS) and processor at the point of high pressure from the independent loading mechanism (ILM), which is the actual socket and locking mechanism on the motherboard itself.

Igor’s lab found that a slight bending of the ILM before the mod was discovered is a potential problem, and that edging the motherboard backplate before installation of the CPU can prevent any problems. However, beyond that, it appears that by putting four washers in the socket where it connects to the motherboard PCB, one can bypass the issue entirely and create a happier, cooler chip.

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The ILM is attached to the motherboard with four Torx screws, which once removed can be easily fitted with M4 washers. Rebuild, tighten by hand a fair amount, and this should be enough to prevent any unwanted bending in the processor and ILM.

The four Torx screws are located around the edge of the socket and should be fairly accessible. (image credits: future)

From Igor’s lab results, it appears that 1mm washers are best suited for the task, with the biggest drop in chip temperature (up to 5.76 °C) during Prime95 testing once installed with an Intel Core i9 12900K .

That’s a serious shortcoming, and it doesn’t require more than Intel’s top chip. The Core i9 ran the hottest of all its contemporary competition at a peak of 84 degrees Celsius during our benchmarking, so anything that can be done to bring down its temperature is greatly appreciated.

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(image credit: msi)

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The effectiveness of the mod may vary from motherboard to motherboard and socket to socket, although the ILM configuration should be set to the same specification in 12th generation compatible motherboards. Likewise, we have no data on the long-term effects of the modification, so obviously apply at your own risk. Personally, I can’t get a 1mm washer to fit evenly on all four corners, which over time has a major adverse effect on the system, anyway.

Testing in Igor’s lab certainly found a steady decrease in temperature as a result of the mod, however, proving its immediate value. Congratulations on the search.

With future LGA 1700 boards there may be further optimization of motherboards by their actual manufacturers to reduce this mod altogether, which may turn out to be the best result of this finding overall.

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