Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aftermarket Cooler

Along with my new MSI 460 graphics card, I ordered a Zalman CNPS 9900 MAX. This is the first aftermarket cooler I had ever had to install, so I didn't realize what a task it would be. Before I started, I had to remove my entire motherboard from my computer. Always make sure that when you do this you are in a static free area, that you are grounded (no I don't mean by your parents), and that you have disconnected the power supply from the computer. The coller comes with different nuts and bolts which fit into it. It looked simple at first, but then I found that the directions were not so straight forward.

When I went to install it, the first thing I had to do was attach two brackets on either side of the cooler so that I would be able to mount it. This proved probably to be the easiest part of the operation. All they needed to do was to snap into place. Next, I had to setup the mounting bracket. This was possible the most difficult part of the entire setup. The directions were not clear at all on how you are suppose to setup one of the pieces. I had to go online and watch a flash video from Zalman's website on how to setup this part of the cooler. It was only a little bit helpful. Confusion aside, I manage to get the bracket setup the correctly. Finally, all I had to do was apply the thermal paste. I decided to use Arctic Silver instead of what came with the cooler since I know Arctic Silver works very well. I used the "line method" when applying. By "line method" I mean I pulled the Arctic Silver in a straight line about 3/4" long. I may have made a mistake here because when I started to use the Arctic Silver, excess liquid came out first before the paste did. I don't think it did damage to my CPU, but I definitely know for next time to wipe a little onto a paper towel first to get it started. After applying the paste, I put the cooler on top and pressed down slightly so as to spread the paste. I followed that by aligning it with the bracket and attaching the screws.

After all that work, I put my motherboard back into the computer, reattached everything, and booted up. I had made sure to test my temperatures prior to removing the stock cooler, and those temperatures ranged between 39-42 degrees Celsius. After the new cooler was installed, the temperatures ranged between 28-32 degrees Celsius on idle. A significant drop. However, one of my Cores seems to still be at 39 constantly and I can't figure out why. Hopefully there is nothing wrong.


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