We haven’t seen much of Intel Alder Lake so far, despite being set for release in a matter of weeks. One thing we do know is that like the majority of Intel’s last few chip family releases, the desktop contingent of these 12th-gen processors will need a brand-new motherboard socket: LGA 1700.
VideoCardz recently posted an apparent picture of LGA 1700, showing it could be a fair bit taller than the LGA 1200 socket used by Intel 10th gen and 11th gen chip. A stretched-out CPU wouldn’t be new ground for Intel – remember Skylake X and Kaby Lake X? – but even if you think that photo is an elaborate mockup, we know for sure that current coolers won’t fit the LGA 1700 socket. This might understandably cause concern that upgrading your processor would require both a new mobo and a new cooler, but Arctic have announced that several of their chip-chillers will get new LGA 1700 mounting hardware for free.
Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II Series, Freezer 50 and Freezer 34 eSports series are all upgradable with the LGA 1700 kit, so if you own one, you’ll be able to apply to receive the requisite bits and bobs free of charge. From mid-October, possibly hinting at an Alder Lake release date, the LGA 1700 upgrade will also be available from Arctic’s online store for €5.99 (about £5 / $7).
There’s already a form that owners of the supported coolers can use to claim their free upgrade, though in addition to requiring proof of purchase for the cooler itself, the form also wants proof of purchase for an LGA 1700 chip or motherboard. Maybe just bookmark it for now.
Arctic isn’t the first CPU cooler manufacturer to promise anti-obsolescence upgrades ahead of the Alder Lake launch. Last month Noctua did the same for a range of its coolers, as well as offering a paid-for option for those who lack proof of purchase or just don’t want to wait around for a successful application. Both Noctua and Arctic have also committed to adding LGA 1700 mounting hardware to both upcoming coolers and their existing product lines. Well done, both.
Hopefully, Alder Lake will produce the kinds of performance gains in games that will make it worthwhile to upgrade in the first place. Intel’s 12th gen architecture uses a ‘hybrid’ design containing both big, performance-focused cores and small, power-efficient cores that Intel has said could make it easier to allocate the workload. For instance, the big cores might handling gaming duties while the small cores take care of running Discord or recording software.
Improvements to IPC (instructions per clock, essentially how many tasks a CPU can complete in every cycle) could also force your way to higher frame rates, in theory. We'll see if any Alder Lake chips can hang with the best CPUs for gaming, probably in the next month or two.