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Intel Meteor Lake Leak Indicates Current Gen Coolers Will Be Compatible

Meteor Lake held by exec
(Image credit: Intel)

Chinese tech site Benchlife.info claims that Intel's LGA1700 socket will be succeeded by LGA1851, and that the new socket will sport the same physical dimensions – 37.5 x 45mm. The upshot of this is that, if correct, any coolers in use with a current 12th gen Intel Core processor system should be usable in a new system based around an Intel Meteor Lake (14th gen) or Arrow Lake (15th gen) CPU. But of course, take this information with a hefty pinch of salt, as so far there are no other sources sharing the same or similar information.

Intel Alder Lake processors were introduced alongside the LGA1700 socket and Intel 600-series motherboards. LGA1700 CPUs had a rectangular, rather than square, package for the first time in many generations, so they kicked up more issues with older cooler compatibility than we had grown accustomed to. 

Raptor Lake (13th gen) is expected later this year and Intel will provide a new enhanced 700-series chipset, but it is confirmed that the same LGA1700 socket will be used. There should be no issues with coolers that work on Alder Lake. According to the info, owners of 600-series chipset motherboards should also be able to save a bit of money by keeping their old platform and swapping in a 13th gen Intel Core processor.

In Benchlife's diagram with purported information about the Intel Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake processors and LGA1851 socket, the XXXX in the socket name represents the number of CPU-to-socket contact pins. Thus the newer generation sockets/CPUs will feature 1851 pins, if the source is accurate. Interestingly, the chip die is said to be the same size, with the same pin pitch, so seemingly Intel has inserted the extra 151 pins in the 'courtyard' area, which is the central gap in the land grid array.

We have previously reported that Meteor Lake introduces some big changes for Intel desktop CPUs. As well as debuting on the Intel 4 process, it will be the first desktop chip to move from monolithic to flexible tiled architecture. This move is enabled by technologies like EMIB and Foveros 3D. The mix of tiles in the Meteor Lake SoC will include a GPU fabricated by TSMC on its N3 process.

Probably the last interesting nugget from the leaked information concerns the LGA1851 chip size. Yes, it is purportedly the same length and width as LGA1700 chips like the Alder Lake CPUs we are now familiar with. But the new 14th and 15th gen parts are a tiny bit thicker, according to this leak. This might be something to do with the physical tile construction of the newer processors, or Intel has decided to strengthen the chip package. 

Alder Lake already caused a storm due to cooler pressure and some reports of subsequent bowing of the chips, resulting in sub-optimal cooler performance. This has resulted in a cottage industry for nylon washers and CPU contact frames. Perhaps Intel and its motherboard partners will take this opportunity to finesse the integrated loading mechanism (ILM) and how it works with the current crop of coolers by the time LGA1851, Meteor Lake, and 800-series chipsets arrive.

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.