Intel’s next-gen desktop processors, Arrow Lake, will be compatible with current-gen CPU coolers, according to new information.
Tom’s Hardware picked up on this one with the observation that Azza has recently launched a couple of new liquid coolers (the Cube 240 and 360) which state that they support the LGA1851 socket. This is the socket that’ll be used for future Arrow Lake processors and motherboards (set to debut next year).
As these coolers are compatible with current LGA1700 sockets (used with Alder Lake and Raptor Lake, as well as Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs), this tells us that current cooling solutions will be okay to transfer over to a new Arrow Lake PC next year.
Azza is not the first cooler maker to confirm this, either, as Noctua has done so via product specs in the past, too.
What this means is the LGA1851 socket is the same size (45 x 37.55mm) as LGA1700, and leaked design schematics have made this clear in the past – and because they are both the same dimensions, obviously existing coolers made for this size will fit Arrow Lake PCs, too.
Analysis: Cool customers
So, any cooling solution you have for a PC using the current LGA1700 socket (Alder Lake onwards) will fit an Arrow Lake processor, meaning you can save money by not buying a new one, assuming you’re happy with your current cooler and it’s in good enough condition.
However, it’s a touch more complicated than whether a cooler fits or not. As Tom’s further points out, there is one notable change with LGA1851, at least going by reports earlier this year: in terms of the rating for maximum dynamic pressure, the socket for Arrow Lake has nearly doubled this number.
Even if that leaked info is correct, though – and we don’t know it is – this doesn’t mean that your CPU cooler will require more mounting pressure (and therefore a new mounting kit). Rather, it’s just that it can take more pressure.
As Azza’s (or Noctua’s) new LGA1851 compatible coolers don’t mention coming with a separate mounting kit for Arrow Lake motherboards (to exert more pressure, if it was required), we can assume that you’ll be fine using your existing cooler with an LGA1851 motherboard.
Still, another consideration is how much power Arrow Lake will guzzle in comparison to Raptor Lake Refresh (or whatever CPU your current cooler is paired with). If it’s more power-hungry, that could be problematic with cheaper (air) cooling solutions, but then you’d be ill-advised to use such a part with a powerful Arrow Lake processor anyway.
Besides, Intel is really doubling down on its talk of power efficiency of late, so we wouldn’t expect Arrow Lake to be less efficient than current-gen Raptor Lake Refresh silicon.
Granted, ramping up efficiency is much more about laptop chips for Team Blue (for obvious reasons like battery life), but it should also apply to desktops as well, as Intel has taken flak for some time now over how hard it’s pushing power usage to get more performance out of its candidates for the best desktop CPUs.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).