heatsinks, retention clips, bolt thrus, push pins and thermal pastes!

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19/01/2010 by The Sorcerer


HEATSINKS!!! One of the best stuff made ever for pcs. They come in various shapes and sizes with 1,2 or even 3-4 fans now. Anything between 4-6 heatpipes which are copper to nickel-plated copper with a fantastic heatsink and a solid performer.

Well, the kits are as important as the heatsink itself. We are getting heatsinks with 12omm mounts, flat/near flat copper/nickel-plated IHS and 4 heatpipes with lot of heatfins  for a very long time ever since amd socket 939 ruled the world. But everytime intel or amd release a new socket, they usually come with different mounts, except in the case of am2, am2+ and am3. Some people sell them off and buy another heatsink with the preferred kits, some will see if they can buy an add-on kit o even cross match with other company’s kit!

Which one I would prefer, the second and third scenario but things pushed me to consider option one when I had to let go for thermaltake big typhoon. I taken the biostar 790gxbe and the TTBT to Harshal’s place that day if something can be done. It was obvious that a new kit needed to be acquired or made. Thermaltake didn’t make any kits for am2+ so one had to be made. Harshal has this thick steel (and really heavy) backplate for ln2 benching with multiple mounting holes and ample places to make more mounting holes. He said that making the backplate itself would cost me 1k- atleast! Iwanted to use TTBT, but spending that much money for the backplate alone was just out of the question. Bikey said he will try to find a kit, but he would most probably take his own sweet time to get one.

Harshal and I sat down to see other coolers- scythe, thermalright and noctua- no CM wasn’t included :P. Harshal said that noctua is somewhat in par with other coolers, but when it comes to socket kits, noctua is the one to look at. I laid down the following options:

scythe mugen 2

Thermalright 120extreme/90i

Noctua u12pse2

True120e/90i ultima was out of the question because they seem to corrode, although Harshal has a true120e which is in might good condition, most likely storing in a really dry place. I ignored cm series hsf since he did say they are crappy for the price, so I’ve taken his word for it. I will have to make efforts to ask why, although I prefer finding it out the old-fashioned way.

So my opinions about the noctua u12pse-2 other than what reviewers already said? Well I wish they came with their own metal backplates for AMD. Is it a con? Dont know. Theres no use for a thermal paste for me as I already have (and use) an mx-2 and I think people usually do have their own thermal pastes? Fans are way more silent than the case fans from lian li.

What about the kits? Well so far you get 3 types, rentention (like amd’s stock cooler and sunbeam core contact freezer), bolt thrus (IMO, best out of the lot especially for big heatsinks, provided you fix them properly and use proper stuff to fix them or end up like this) and push pins (like in intel’s stock heatsink.

Order of preference? Bolt thrus>>>>retention>>push pins.

I prefer bolt thrus not just for heavy heatsinks, but any. Although for companies its cheaper to make retention and push pins, primary reason to get an aftermarket cooler is for overclocking. No matter what people say, for stock clocks, stock heatsinks are more than enough. They are also good enough to give a +0.50 ghz max bump as well, depending on the processor. Maybe max change the thermal paste to a better one, but that’s more than enough. If it still overheats, its obvious that it’s either the airflow of the case, bad psu, cluttered cables, etc. that is at fault- or else worse case scenario- a heriditary problem of the processor like the good old hotplates called the p4 pentium prescott.There have also some scientists ((sarcasm)) who claim that putting a better heatsink for stock settings enhances the processor’s life. If you read such bullshit, ignore the crap and cover your nose.

Thermal pastes. Pretty important stuff. I call it thermal poop >_>”

Jokes apart, they are important- for stock and overclocking. Intel and AMD stock thermalpastes are good enough for stocks but you’re a lot better off replacing with a better thermal paste (How to do so? Follow the guide here). Be carful with AMD stock thermal pastes. The only problem they have is when you remove the heatsink. They become as hard as a glue so to remove them, you pop out the side panel, loosen the rentention clips, run a cpu intensive software- like OCCT or prime for about 5 minutes, shut down ASAP and remove the heatsink immidiately. The last thing you should ever do is trying to loosen the  heatsink by showing your strength. Remember, the socket lever secures the processor pins firmly, and jerking it out will force the processor to come with the heatsink (it will come out) and possibly bent/destroy 1/2/few pins- and there goes a perfectly good processor to waste. You can try loosing it using telekenisis or pyrokenisis (sarcasm) but some things are best followed the way its supposed to be done, this is one of them.

Between thermal pastes- tuniq tx-2, artic mx-2, mx3, artic silver 5, noctua’s paste, which of it is you are better off? MX3 and if that is not available, mx2 and if that is not available-as5 (AS5 is conductive btw but if you properly put the thermal paste, it’s all good). Shripad made a fantastic post over here and he has tested it himself. When I got my friend’s phenom x4 940be for a week, I used the noctua and I applied the pea method and the same quantity that I usually apply for mx2. It didn’t work, the temps were like more than 5 degrees on load (stock). I decided not to put more than the usual size of thermal poop, rather after couple of days’ time, I have put the mx2 (confession: I put a little more than usually what I put for my processor as it is a dual core). The temps crashed down to 5-7 degrees on load- fantastic. If people are wondering- why not see the temps on idle- well load counts. What’s the point in getting a thermal paste which does decent on idle but does shit on load- right?

Speaking of processor pins, Bikey once made a point where he was curious/confused- why and how do people end up damaging the processor pins? Whoops :P. It does happen at times- sometimes by mistaken or out of ignorance. In any case, I do prefer AMD’s way of doing things compared to intel in terms of socket pins . AMD has pins on the processor and holes to connect them on the motherboard. Put them in and secure the lever- viola!! Intel- the pins are on the board and the processor has little dotted points and have contact with the pins. When you put heatsinks over them, there is some pressure more built up before them, even if you have secured them with the support plate on the motherboard.

For intel users, they can follow an excellent guide by pcstats over here. Truth be told, many hold the processor itself as a piece of rock. Remember the “some things are best being done” talk we had? Here is another one. How to hold the AMD processor- don’t touch the IHS and the pins. Again- the talk!

Update (23-01-10):

True120e- user from Noida. Really nasty corrosion. I did have a word with bikey to ask about screws and made a lot of sense about it.  We did talk that thermalright cogage might have this issue, but then again they must have put up protective coat on the copper heatpips that could slow down the process. Then again, this will not affect the performance as such.

What about black? Well thanks to the brave men and women who bought this heatsink (with respects, seriously, no sarcasm intended) who have bought true120e to see if it has the same problem as true120e non painted.  Some living near salty water area did report a greenish corrosion built-up on the heatsink as well. Out of all the cases, performance remained unaffective.

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