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New Intel Alder Lake accessory fixes bending, but there’s risk

Thermalright, a Taiwanese company focused on computer cooling solutions, has just come up with a fix for issues prevalent in Intel Alder Lake processors: Bending and warping.

The problem can potentially be remedied by using Thermalright’s new bending corrector frame. However, there is no telling what using it might do to your warranty, so it might be a risky thing to do.

Thermalright's anti-bending frame for the Intel Alder Lake CPU.

Although Intel Alder Lake processors have generally been well-received, with many of them making it onto our list of the best processors, they can suffer from a problem that could potentially affect thermals. Users have reported that the integrated heat spreader (IHS) on their CPU bends or warps over time. This is caused by the pressure that the latching system on the LGA1700 socket applies to the chip.

It sounds scarier than it really is, or so it seems so far, but the more the IHS bends out of shape, the likelier it is that your processor’s cooling efficiency will drop. This is because of the gap that will be created between the cooler and the CPU itself. Although the temperatures shouldn’t rise high enough to truly damage the chip, they may contribute to wear and tear over time.

Thermalright’s anti-bending frame seems like a very simple solution to the warping issue on Intel CPUs. Dubbed the Bending Corrector Frame for Alder Lake processors, it comes in red and silver and was made specifically for the LGA1700 socket. It was made out of aluminum and it houses your chip, maintaining a snug fit to the motherboard. This should be enough to fix the bending issue.

Intel acknowledged the problem in a statement made to Tom’s Hardware earlier this month. Although the company is aware of the issue, it doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with it, as it all falls within the specifications of the CPU.

“We have not received reports of 12th Gen Intel Core processors running outside of specifications due to changes to the IHS. Our internal data show that the IHS on 12th Gen desktop processors may have slight deflection after installation in the socket. Such minor deflection is expected and does not cause the processor to run outside of specifications,” said Intel in its statement.

Thermalright's accessory for the LGA1700 socket.

Be that as it may, as 12th-gen Intel processors are some of the favorites with gamers and other users who want to squeeze the best performance possible out of their chip, many enthusiasts decided to try to fix the issue themselves. Fixes included custom motherboard mods or anti-bending frames.

However, Intel does not approve of this, as shown by the rest of its statement: “We strongly recommend against any modifications to the socket or independent loading mechanism. Such modifications would result in the processor being run outside of specifications and may void any product warranties.”

Although Intel doesn’t seem to want its customers to try to remedy the bending problem, several third-party companies are working on solutions similar to what Thermalright is already offering at the very cheap price of just $6.

Unfortunately, there is no telling whether using this accessory from Thermalright (first spotted by Cowcotland) would void the warranty, but all signs point to yes. The mod is also only available in China as of now, so people in other countries have to resort to homemade methods, or simply respect Intel’s choice and not risk their warranty by modding the chip.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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