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Home > Central Processing Units > Overclocking > Installing A Heatsink and Fan in 486 and Pentium Based PC
 
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This section will guide you through the process of installing a CPU fan and heatsink component onto a Pentium based central processing unit.
 
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Installing A Heatsink and Fan in 486 and Pentium Based PC
Installing A Processor Fan


This section will guide you through the process of installing a CPU fan and heatsink component onto a Pentium based central processing unit.

Tools Required For The Job

The following materials are required for the installation:

pccard2.gif The processor fan and heatsink component.
pccard2.gif Any manuals that accompanied your CPU.
pccard2.gif Thermal paste / thermal compound.

Preparing For The Installation
1. Shutdown Windows, turn off your computer, unplug the power connector (normally a thick black cable leading to the PSU connector on the back of the computer), and unplug all other connectors including mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Disconnect all other cables connecting into the back and front the PC via USB or other interface.
Removing The Casing
2. Pull off the back and side panels of the case by removing the screws from the the back and side of the chassis. There are normally four screws that need removal on most newly designed cases (two on the left back side, and two on the right back side of the chassis). Older cases might also have screws that secure the top of the unit to the chassis, so you will need to take a look and remove those screws accordingly if they appear to be an obstacle.
3. Once you have successfully removed the back panel of the chassis, and top of the chassis (if neccessary), place both panels and screws in a safe place as you will need to re-attach these items once you've finished the installation.
Find The Location Of The Central Processing Unit On The Motherboard
4. Next, you will need to open the system case and find where the processor is located.  If any cables are blocking your access to the CPU, disconnect them and make a note of which ones were disconnected. Drawing a simple diagram will save you time in the long run when you go to reattach the cables.

Installing a CPU - Image 01
Figure 1.1 - The CPU Socket 478 On A Typical Pentium IV Based Motherboard
How To Insert The Central Processing Unit (CPU)
5. On most motherboards the CPU socket can be easily identified as having numerous holes where the pins on the CPU should line up accordingly.

Installing a CPU - Image 01
Figure 1.2 - The CPU Socket On A Typical Motherboard

The number of holes varies based on the processor being installed, but there's always a brass stick on located beside the CPU socket. Gently grasp a hold of this lever and pull it out and then up 90 degrees.

You can identify the way in which the processor should be inserted by eyeing the triangle shape of holes near the top right hand corner of the CPU socket.

Installing a CPU - Image 01
Figure 1.3 - Finding The Triangle Matched Pattern On The CPU Socket

Applying Thermal Paste To The CPU Socket
  Before attaching the CPU heatsink onto the socket you will want to apply thermal paste / thermal compound to the bottom of the CPU fan device. Thermal paste is a type of heat transferring agent that serves to fill in the microscopic gaps that naturally occur when two flat metal surfaces—such as your CPU and cooler—are pressed against one another. These air-filled gaps hinder the rate at which the cooler is able to absorb heat from the CPU, and filling them with thermal material greatly increases performance.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.4 - Applying Thermal Compound To The Top Of A CPU

There are several different types of thermal material, including ceramic- and metal-based pastes and solid, waxy thermal pads. Some coolers come with pre-applied pads, but most don’t, and we recommend using a paste. Our two favorites are Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Silver Ceramique.


If you’re using a CPU, cooler, or both that’s already seen a tour of duty, then they’re likely to have some gunky thermal paste residue. Don’t be tempted to just reuse this old paste, as it dries out over time, and you won’t get a clean connection between your CPU and cooler.



So the first order of business is to clean off the old thermal material. Here in the lab we use a two-stage cleanser called ArctiClean, although high-percentage rubbing alcohol will do the job just fine. Just apply a drop or two to the old material and let it sit for a minute while the cleaner breaks up the grease in the thermal paste. Then, wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth. A coffee filter makes a terrific, cheap lint-free cloth. Repeat the process until both the CPU and cooler are totally clean, and then move on.

Looking around the internet, you’ll find a lot of different philosophies about how to apply thermal paste. Some people say you should apply it in a dot, some a line, some two lines, some an “X,” and so on. Truth is, all you’re trying to do when applying thermal paste is to get a paper-thin layer of the stuff over as much of your CPU as possible. For that, a dot is pretty much perfect, since a dot will squish into a circle, which will hopefully reach to all 4 edges of the CPU.

Here’s what I recommend:

First, insert the CPU into its socket on your motherboard.

Next, squeeze out a dot of thermal paste directly onto the center of your CPU. Your dot should be about the size of a BB (as in, what BB guns shoot), or a little smaller than a pea. Next, take your cooler and press it straight down onto the CPU so that the thermal paste spreads evenly in all directions. If you feel comfortable doing it, you can use a very very slight rubbing motion as you press down on the cooler to help spread the paste better.
Attach The CPU and Heatsink Mechanism On To The CPU Socket
6. Position the CPU fan on the processor itself making sure the four corners are aligned with the processor.  If your fan requires you to simply clip it to the processor, make sure it is aligned properly to the processor.

A boxed Pentium 4 processor includes a high quality unattached fan heatsink specifically designed to provide sufficient cooling to the Pentium 4 processor when used in a suitable chassis environment.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.5 - Attaching the CPU Fan And Heatsink Assembly Onto The Top Of The CPU

The fan heatsink and clip assembly (A) comprises:
  • B: Clip frame
  • C: Clip levers
  • D: Clip frame corners
  • E: Clip frame latch
  • F: Retention mechanism hook.
and attaches to the motherboard-mounted retention mechanism (G).



Normally, there will be thermal interface material attached to the bottom of the processor’s fan heatsink. Take care not to damage this. Alternatively, use the enclosed syringe to apply all of the thermal interface material provided to the IHS surface of the processor.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.6 -The Heatsink Assembly

Align the heatsink and clip assembly with the retention mechanism (the fan heatsink is symmetrical) and place it on the processor. Allow the heatsink base to compress (without rotating or twisting) the thermal interface material over the surface of the processor’s integrated heat spreader.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.7 -The CPU Fan And Heatsink Assembly Properly Aligned

With the clip levers in the upward position, push down on all four clip frame corners to secure the clip frame latches to the retention mechanism hooks, making sure the processor fan cable is free from any obstruction and is not trapped under clip frame.

It is important to not allow the heatsink to rotate or twist on the processor’s integrated heat spreader. Securing the fan heatsink while closing the clip levers will ensure the thermal interface material is not damaged and the processor will operate correctly.



Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.8 -Locking In The Heastsink Assembly

Close the clips levers in opposing directions, one at a time. The levers require some force to be completely closed.

First, close clip lever 1 while holding the topside of the fan heatsink with your hand.



Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.9 -Locking In The Heastsink Assembly - Part 1

Then, close clip lever 2 while holding the topside of the fan heatsink with your other hand.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.10 -Locking In The Heastsink Assembly - Part 2

Once the clip levers are closed, verify that the heatsink is securely retained and that the clip frame latches are properly engaged with the retention mechanism hooks.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.11 - Connecting The CPU Fan Power Cable

Finally, connect the processor fan cable to the motherboard fan power header. Consult the motherboard manual to determine the correct fan header to use.

When installed, the fan heatsink and clip assembly may cause the motherboard to slightly bend or flex. This is nothing to be concerned about, and provides the proper mechanical support for the processor (with attached fan heatsink and clip assembly) and helps prevent against damage during system shipment.

Applying thermal compound to the top of the CPU helps break down the amount of heat generated by the CPU
Figure 1.12 -The CPU and Fan Heatsink Assembly On A Socket 478 Motherboard

Final Thoughts
7. Ideally, you’re now finished. You simply lock your cooler down (using whatever mechanism yours comes with) and then move on. However, if you’re afraid the thermal paste didn’t get spread properly, you can give it a quick look by lifting the cooler back up, twisting slightly to break the vacuum seal that may have formed. If you’ve got too much paste on the CPU, you can wipe up the excess from around the edges, and if you’ve got too little, you can add some more. Of course, if you somehow totally screwed it up, you can always clean everything up and try again.
8. Note that we don’t recommend doing this more than once—every time you lift up the cooler, you risk adding more air bubbles into the thermal paste, which will lower you coolers efficiency. Don’t let yourself get too worried about that, though—unless you’re doing some real overclocking, it isn’t going to make or break your system.
9. Follow the instructions that came with your new CPU processor and follow them exactly as written so that you don't make a mistake and damage the CPU or heatsink/fan apparatus.
10. Usually installing the actual CPU fan and heatsink is an easy process. Often, you will have to align clips on the CPU heatsink and fan to the fasteners/clips on the motherboard.

You will know you have a solid connection to both devices when a click is heard and you cannot move the cpu/heatsink device at all.
11. Power up your system, and your new fan should be working properly.  The overall temperature of your system and processor should decrease.
 
 
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