Heat sink & Fan

Here lies what many refer to as the dreaded Heatsink installation. Generally speaking, most CPU failures are usually caused by an error on the part of the builder. Extra time and patience are required for this to go as smoothly as possible, so use care when performing this part of the installation. Again, take your time - it is not a race.

At this point I wish to refer you to the AMD Processor Guide* for proper installation procedures concerning the mounting of the Heatsink.

The reason for this is it's my feeling that an illustrated guide far surpasses one of words. Please follow the supplied link above for this detailed Heatsink installation information. It is an excellent guide. You may also want to review much of the information listed here.

*Adobe Acrobat required.

I have received some excellent movies from AMD, I am very excited to be able to present them to you.  please follow the links below-

(windows media or real player required)

section 2 Heatsink selection

section 3 Heatsink installation

section 4 Heatsink removal

section 5 thermal pad or paste?

Copyright 2003

For those who wish to ignore the AMD recommendation and use a thermal compound and H.S.F other than the AMD recommendation.

A few words about thermal compounds:

Compounds, such as Arctic Silver, Shin Etsue, and the "white paste" for example supplied with many H.S.F assemblies, are not AMD recommended for long term use and can possibly void your CPU warranty - use these compounds at your own risk !

When applying this type of thermal compound, use only enough to cover the "die" area of the CPU. Using any more will not help the CPU become any cooler and will often cause problems instead. As well, the "L" bridges located on the top of the CPU must be free and clear of all debris and thermal compound. The die area is the center hub or squarish protrusion in the center of the CPU. The reason for a thermal compound, and it's importance, is to supply a proper connection between the Heatsink and the CPU die. This is also what your Heatsink will make contact with - it allows the heat to be transmitted to the Heatsink by thermal conduction; the Heatsink is then cooled by your cooling fan using convection.

To apply the thermal compound correctly, depending on the brand, apply just enough to cover the CPU die area approximately 1/32" to no more than 1/16" thickness- (see the above AMD video, follow the recommendations of the thermal paste manufacture) apply thermal compound in no other areas. A test fitting of the HSF to the CPU die contact is highly advisable, once performed, clean the CPU die area and the Heatsink and re-apply. The reason for this is to verify a good connection between the HSF and the CPU die area. To clean these areas, you may use a Q-Tip or other lint free cloth and isopropyl alcohol. Let dry before continuing, then re-install your thermal compound and HSF assembly.

Because of the wide variety of HSF assemblies available, it is impossible to cover them all within this tutorial (nor is it within the scope of this guide). However, be absolutely sure that the contact area between the HSF and CPU is a mirror image of the CPU die area - test fitting with a small amount of thermal paste as previously mentioned then viewing the bottom of your HSF assembly will help to assure this.

The presently preferred HSF uses pure copper, copper removes heat at a greater rate than the more common aluminum HSF. To continue, the preferred HSF has three slots for each side of the retention clip or depending on the HSF, bolts on. Various CPU cooling fans are available. If fan noise is of concern pay close attention of the decibel (dB) rating of your fan of choice. The higher this number, generally the louder the fan noise will be. I personally feel the cooling fan of choice should have a minimum of 35 CFM of air flow. Generally speaking, more air flow offers better cooling, but greater air flow is usually achieved at the cost of there being more fan noise.

Also, not all aftermarket HSF assemblies will fit the A7N8X. For example, the ThermalRight SLK-900 will not fit without modification, research this before your purchase. Finally, it is imperative that your CPU cooling fan be facing the correct direction - air should be "pushed" into the Heatsink, not "pulled" through it.

My preferred HSF at the moment, and this is not a spiff for any manufacture, is one of two brand choices or four different models - the ThermalRight SK-7 or SLK-800A, or the ThermalTake Volcano 7 or 7+. Both brands offer excellent cooling and are low cost. They are fairly easy to install, and both mentioned brands will fit without modification.