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August 24, 2004

How not to Install CPU Coolers

Maybe there are things about custom computer hardware that everyone knows except me. In this case it is about installing custom CPU coolers in this dual Opteron box. If I would have been sensible from the beginning it probably would have taken an hour or so. I obviously wasn't sensible and wanted to do it as smart as possible without disturbing the machine as is.

Given that probably everybody knows these facts, these are here as a note to myself:

  • When installing massive CPU coolers do not think that you can get away with it by mounting them with the motherboard remaining inside its case. Inside the case you have no view of what you are doing, you cannot apply pressure in sensible manner, and after an hour or so you have to give up and take the board out of the machine anyway.
  • When installing custom CPU coolers do not think you can get away with leaving the AMD back plate in place if the cooler manufacturer provides a different one. Yes it is pain to pry the back plates of the board, but it is a much bigger pain to have to do after custom retention module breaks loose from from the AMD back plate once you put pressure on it while mounting the cooling unit.

Below two images from the Hyper 6 Coolers after installation. They are HUGE.

Posted by Werner Vogels at August 24, 2004 01:15 PM


I had a similar problem with my Opteron. I just could not remove the plate from my SK8N motherboard, so I left it there and I don't think my Zalman heatsink is on tight enough. At least it hasn't broken off. (It also annoys me that the Opteron doesn't support dynamic voltage scaling, but that's another matter.)

Posted by: Wes Felter on August 25, 2004 02:43 PM

I actually thought that removing the back plates was very scary. They were really glued on tight.I didn't have any good tools to help with that and was afraid I would damage the board. The stupid part was that I was the one that had glued them on their in the first place.

I have a Zallman cooler ready for my my box with the fx processor, but I am dreading to start on that. I'll need to work up some courage.

Posted by: Werner on August 25, 2004 03:57 PM