This small metal bracket can lower the temperature of the Core i9-12900K by 10 degrees.

Summary: When Intel introduced Alder Lake last year, some users quickly noticed a bug: the built-in New Socket Loading Mechanism (ILM) only pushes the CPU from two small protrusions, causing it to bend in such a way that the CPU separates from the cooler and raises its temperature.

January Buildzoid out Really hardcore overclocking came up with a simple solution: adding thin washers to the screws between the motherboard and the ILM, which reduce the pressure exerted by the ILM to a point where the IHS does not flex.

Igor’s laboratory experienced it then and found that it offers a temperature drop of about 5°C from 12900K. This has become the de facto solution for overclockers who didn’t want to shut down their CPUs (a popular option since the 12900K), but since it also reduces socket load it can cause a bit of a problem.

Thermal Grizzly currently manufactures more brilliant solution in collaboration with the legendary overclocker Der8auer. This is a contact frame that replaces the standard ILM and provides even pressure on all four sides of the processor. It can also deflect the voltage in the IHS towards the edges, improving contact in the center between the die, the IHS and the cooler.

Stock ILM

Der8auer made video about the frame prior to its release, which explains in more detail how it works. In its testing with the lapped EKWB Magnitude water block, temperatures improved by 7°C at best and by 3-5°C at most, depending on the processor used.

It turns out that the usefulness of a contact frame depends on the CPU and cooler, depending on how flat they are initially. Some CPU coolers made for Alder Lake come with a slight flex from the factory to balance out the IHS flex, and a recent review by Igor’s Lab found that they don’t benefit from a pin frame.

AT testing them Igor’s lab found that with three different models of CPU coolers, the frame provided a 10°C improvement in temperature for one, 6° for another, and no effect on the third. However, the best two temperatures, roughly 60°C, were with the frame.

Contact frame Thermal Grizzly via Der8auer

Igor’s lab also tested another solution, Alphacool Apex rear panel. It supports the socket from below and makes it more rigid, but is not as effective as a contact frame: in testing it showed an improvement of only 5°C. It is also only compatible with Alphacool hardware.

However, the frame is not necessarily the best product. Both Der8auer and Igor’s Lab warn that it can put too much pressure on the processor in the socket, resulting in a bad connection to the motherboard, which can often lead to memory instability. The solution to this problem is to reseat the memory and relieve the pressure by loosening the screws, but this is tedious.

The contact frame also costs around €40 ($43), which is a lot for a small aluminum bracket. Alphacool Apex costs about $15. If you find your 12700K or 12900K cooks nonetheless, choosing one or the other — or even trying the $5 puck trick — might be worth it.

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