Alder Lake won’t support today’s CPU coolers – This new socket needs new mounts

Alder Lake won't support today's CPU coolers - This new socket needs new mounts

Alder Lake won’t support today’s CPU coolers – This new socket needs new mounts

Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake processors will be a gamechanger. Alder Lake will feature a new socket, two new CPU architectures and support for next-generation DDR5 memory modules. Alder Lake will be the first desktop processor to utilise the company’s hybrid core architecture, bringing together high-performance Golden Cove cores and high-efficiency Gracemont cores. 

Alder Lake will utilise an LGA-1700 socket design, a socket that is much larger than Intel’s recent mainstream socket designs. This design change will make Intel’s new CPUs larger and more rectangular, creating the need for new CPU cooler mounts. 

Your current CPU cooler doesn’t support Alder Lake

Alder Lake’s new LGA-1700 socket has a new cooler mounting pattern, requiring heatsink manufacturers to create a new mounting system for Alder Lake. On top of that, Alder Lake has a lowered Z-height, a change that will require CPU coolers to be mounted lower than before. 

Heatsink manufacturers will need to radically redesign some of their current product offerings for Alder Lake. Between Intel’s larger, more rectangular processor design, lowered Z-height, and new mounting hole pattern, a lot needs to be chanced to deliver proper Alder Lake support.

At a minimum, heatsink manufacturers will need to update their cooler mounting systems for Alder Lake. Some manufacturers may create free mounting kit upgrades for their products, but many consumers will need to buy a new heatsink for Alder Lake. 

With LGA 1200 mounting system uses the same mounting hole pattern as all of their mainstream LGA sockets since at least Sandy Bridge, giving Intel’s current design a longstanding legacy. This will make Intel’s moves with Alder Lake unexpected for many, though such a shift is not exactly unwarranted after a decade of support for Intel’s current mounting pattern. A change needed to happen eventually, so why not now?  

  

Alder Lake won't support today's CPU coolers - This new socket needs new mounts

(Image from Igor’s Lab)

A lowered Z-height is good news for PC builders

Intel lowering its CPU/socket Z-height with Alder Lake is great news for PC builders. This change guarantees that Intel’s future processors will be thinner than their predecessors, and that means that the IHS of their future processors will be thinner. 

Lowering the thickness of their processors lowers the amount of thermal resistance between Intel’s CPU silicon and the user’s heatsink. This allows heat to be moved more efficiently away from the user’s processor, lowering load temperatures while reducing the need for delidding or IHS thinning. In short, this design change should make Intel’s future processors easier to cool, and that is great news for PC enthusiasts and overclockers. 

  
Alder Lake won't support today's CPU coolers - This new socket needs new mounts(Image from Videocardz) 

While Intel’s move to a new mounting system will be inconvenient, it is hard to claim that this move is unnecessary. Today’s mounting system has been supported for over a decade, and Alder Lake’s larger form factor has forced Intel to change things up. 

You can join the discussion on Intel’s Alder lake CPUs requiring new CPU cooler mounts on the OC3D Forums.