Upgrade Your CPU Cooling with Affordable Contact Frames

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Upgrade Your CPU Cooling with Affordable Contact Frames

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Comparison of Contact Frames
  • Pressure testing and Thermal Testing
  • Installation Process
  • Back Side of the Frames
  • Value and Recommendations
  • Conclusion

Contact Frames: A Comparison and Review

In today's article, we will be exploring different contact frames for CPUs and their effectiveness compared to the stock Intel ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism). These contact frames, also known as contact plates, are designed to improve the thermal performance of CPUs by providing better contact between the CPU's heat spreader and the cooler. We will compare three different contact frames: the Binyo/Sure Contact Frame, the Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame, and the Thermalright Contact Frame. Each frame offers unique features and advantages over the stock Intel ILM. In this article, we will uncover their differences and analyze their performance in pressure testing and thermal testing. We will also provide installation instructions and discuss the value and recommendations for each contact frame. So let's dive into the details and find out which contact frame is the best choice for your CPU cooling needs.

Comparison of Contact Frames

Before we delve into the details of each contact frame, let's take a moment to understand their importance in CPU cooling. The stock Intel ILM has been the norm for many years, but as technology evolved, enthusiasts and overclockers started looking for better cooling solutions. This led to the development of aftermarket contact frames that offer improved thermal conductivity and better heat dissipation. The Binyo/Sure, Thermal Grizzly, and Thermalright contact frames are among the popular choices in the market. Although they may vary in design and features, their main goal is to provide a more efficient and effective cooling solution.

Binyo/Sure Contact Frame

The Binyo/Sure Contact Frame, also available on Walmart's website, is an affordable option for those looking to upgrade from the stock Intel ILM. Priced between eight and fourteen dollars, this contact frame offers a significant improvement in thermal performance. However, it is worth noting that the Binyo and Sure contact frames are essentially the same product, despite being marketed under different brands. Despite the lack of clear instructions, this contact frame provides a simple installation process and comes with a torx key for removing the screws of the Intel ILM.

Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame

The Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame is a high-quality option known for its advanced features and exceptional performance. With a price of four dollars and thirty-five cents, this contact frame offers great value for money. It comes with artistic Flair, featuring different colors and a distinct logo. The Thermal Grizzly frame ensures a snug fit on the CPU, thanks to its precise alignment grooves and well-defined markings. Moreover, this contact frame is manufactured with high-end materials, such as 7075 aluminum, and is designed for extreme overclocking. While the Thermal Grizzly frame may require some expertise to fully utilize its potential, it offers unparalleled thermal performance.

Thermalright Contact Frame

The Thermalright Contact Frame is another reliable option that guarantees improved thermal performance compared to the stock Intel ILM. Priced at eight dollars, this contact frame offers a solid balance between affordability and quality. It features a simple and straightforward design, with clear labeling and minimal branding. The Thermalright frame comes with pre-installed, non-conductive pads that provide a stable surface for even pressure distribution. The absence of additional instructions makes the installation process hassle-free. With its proven track Record and years of experience in the industry, Thermalright is a trusted brand for those seeking a reliable contact frame solution.

Pressure Testing and Thermal Testing

Now that we have examined the different contact frames, let's move on to pressure testing and thermal testing. These tests help us analyze the performance of each contact frame and compare their effectiveness in providing optimal heat dissipation for CPUs.

Pressure Testing Analysis

Pressure testing involves measuring the pressure distribution between the CPU's heat spreader and the cooler. We conducted this test using specially treated chemically reactive film and a NIST-traceable scanner. The results were obtained for five different Alder Lake CPUs, but we will focus on three CPUs for comparison. The stock Intel ILM showed uneven pressure distribution, with inadequate pressure in the central and bottom edge areas of the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader). The Binyo/Sure Contact Frame demonstrated better contact in the bottom area but still fell short in the center. Similarly, the Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame exhibited sporadic pressure distribution, while the Thermalright Contact Frame showcased nearly perfect coverage. Overall, the contact frames improved pressure distribution compared to the stock Intel ILM.

Thermal Testing Analysis

In our thermal testing, we aimed to determine the temperature performance of each contact frame under a high heat load. Using a 12,900 KS CPU and a Gigabyte Z690 AORUS MASTER motherboard, we controlled all variables to ensure accurate and representative results. The tests revealed that all contact frames significantly outperformed the stock Intel ILM in terms of average load and maximum core temperatures. The Binyo/Sure Contact Frame and the Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame exhibited similar performance, with an average load temperature around 50 degrees Celsius. However, the Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame maintained a slight temperature advantage of 1.4 degrees Celsius over the Binyo/Sure Contact Frame. The Thermalright Contact Frame provided the best thermal performance, registering an average load temperature of 49.1 degrees Celsius, surpassing both the Binyo/Sure and Thermal Grizzly frames. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of contact frames in enhancing CPU cooling.

Installation Process

Now that we have discussed the performance of each contact frame, let's move on to the installation process. It is crucial to ensure proper installation to achieve optimal thermal performance.

  1. Begin by installing the cooler backplate onto the motherboard. This step will securely hold the ILM backplate in place during the installation process.
  2. Remove the stock Intel ILM from the CPU socket and insert the CPU.
  3. Align the contact frame correctly with the CPU. The frame should only fit in one orientation, and the triangle mark on the frame should align with the corresponding mark on the CPU.
  4. Insert the screws provided with the contact frame into their respective holes.
  5. Carefully tighten the screws in a counterclockwise motion until you feel and hear a click indicating engagement with the threading.
  6. Gradually tighten each screw in small increments, applying around 180 degrees of rotation.
  7. Continue tightening each screw until you encounter resistance. At this point, give each screw an additional 5 to 10 degrees of rotation to snugly secure them.
  8. Avoid over-tightening the screws, as it may damage the motherboard and is unnecessary for achieving proper CPU contact.

Back Side of the Frames

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the contact frames, it is essential to examine the back side as well. While the top side of the frames is responsible for effectively distributing pressure, the back side plays a crucial role in determining stability and ease of installation.

The Binyo/Sure Contact Frame features adhesive-backed plastic washers, which need to be adhered onto the frame before installation. This method may seem slightly cumbersome compared to the pre-installed non-conductive surface of the Thermalright Contact Frame. The Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame, on the other HAND, remains a hovered design, with no additional pads or buffers on the back.

It is worth noting that the back side of the contact frame does not directly impact thermal performance but contributes to ease of installation and long-term durability.

Value and Recommendations

Considering the performance, features, and pricing of the different contact frames, we can provide some valuable recommendations.

The Binyo/Sure and Thermal Grizzly Contact Frames offer great value for money, with prices ranging from eight to fourteen dollars. The Binyo/Sure Contact Frame, available on Walmart's website, provides an affordable solution for improving thermal performance. However, it lacks clear instructions, so users may need to rely on their own knowledge and expertise.

The Thermal Grizzly Contact Frame, though slightly more expensive, offers exceptional performance and features. It caters to extreme overclockers and provides advanced thermal conductivity for high-frequency memory overclocking. This contact frame is recommended for enthusiasts who require top-of-the-line performance.

If budget constraints are a concern, the Thermalright Contact Frame is a reliable and cost-effective option at just eight dollars. With its proven track record and straightforward installation process, it offers a balance between affordability and performance.


In conclusion, contact frames prove to be a significant improvement over the stock Intel ILM in terms of thermal performance. The Binyo/Sure, Thermal Grizzly, and Thermalright Contact Frames offer unique advantages for users with varying needs and budgets. Whether you prioritize affordability, extreme overclocking capabilities, or a balance between performance and cost, there is a contact frame suitable for you. Upgrade your CPU cooling system with these contact frames and experience enhanced thermal performance for your PC.

Thank you for reading this in-depth comparison and review of contact frames. If you have any further questions or require additional guidance, please refer to the FAQ section below or visit our website for more resources.

(Note: The trademarks Mentioned in this article are the property of their respective owners and do not imply endorsement or affiliation.)


Q: Are contact frames compatible with all CPU sockets? A: Contact frames are designed specifically for certain CPU sockets. It is essential to check the compatibility of the contact frame with your CPU socket before making a purchase.

Q: Can contact frames void the CPU warranty? A: As long as the installation process is carried out correctly and does not cause any physical damage to the CPU, using a contact frame should not void the warranty. However, it is always recommended to consult the CPU manufacturer's warranty guidelines for more information.

Q: Can contact frames improve CPU overclocking capabilities? A: Contact frames can aid in improving CPU overclocking capabilities by providing better thermal conductivity and heat dissipation. However, the extent to which they can enhance overclocking depends on various factors, including CPU architecture, cooling solution, and user expertise.

Q: How often should contact frames be replaced? A: Contact frames do not require frequent replacement unless they are physically damaged or show signs of wear and tear. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the contact frame, along with proper installation, should ensure its long-term usability.

Q: Are contact frames difficult to install for beginners? A: The installation process of contact frames can vary depending on the brand and design. While some contact frames may require more technical knowledge and expertise, others offer a straightforward installation process suitable for beginners. It is advisable to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure proper installation.

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