Cooling will be one of the most important factors on Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPU platform besides performance and power consumption. Each cooler manufacturer is doing their best to have the best support for the next-generation CPUs by releasing brand new cooling lineups or providing free LGA 1700 socket upgrade kits but older coolers might have some trouble when paired with the 12th Gen lineup.
Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs & Older CPU Coolers Might Not Be The Best Pair, Only New Coolers Reportedly Offer The Best Thermal Performance
To make their existing coolers compatible with Intel’s Alder Lake lineup, many cooling brands have released LGA 1700 upgrade kits which feature mounting hardware for the new socket. But the Intel Alder Lake platform isn’t just featuring a brand new mounting design but the CPU dimensions itself have changed too.
As published in detail by Igor’s Lab, the LGA 1700 (V0) socket not only has an asymmetrical design but also comes with a lower Z-stack height. This means that proper mounting pressure is needed to make full contact with the Intel Alder Lake IHS. Certain cooler manufacturers have already been using larger cold plates for Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs to make proper contact with the IHS but these are mostly higher-end and new cooling designs. Those who are still running older AIOs with round cold plates could have trouble maintaining the required pressure distribution which could lead to inadequate cooling performance.
Our sources have provided us with a few pictures of how some older AIO coolers stack up with new designs. You can see that Corsair’s H115 and Cooler Master’s ML series designs don’t spread the thermal paste evenly across the cold plate with the new LGA 1700 mounting kits. This may result in inferior performance versus newer designs that will offer the best support for Intel’s 12th Gen CPU lineup. There’s a reason why almost all motherboard manufacturers except ASUS have drilled LGA 1700 mounting holes in their 600-series boards while ASUS has given the option to mount the old LGA 1200 mounting brackets too. The LGA 1200 and older CPU cooler combo, once again, would be troublesome in terms of cooling performance on the newer chips.
Cooling will play a major role in determining the performance of Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs, especially the unlocked lineup, which as per the leaked benchmarks, runs really hot. Users will have to utilize the best of the best cooling hardware to maintain an adequate temperature & more so if they are planning on overclocking the chips. This is certainly a topic that needs to be investigated further & we hope Intel provides a detailed rundown of this to the consumer base once the CPUs launch on the 4th of November.