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Poorly designed Zalman heatsink shorts my motherboard?

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February 18, 2010 11:48:40 AM

My girlfriend's PC had an insanely loud stock CPU fan on her old p4 2.8ghz. So I bought a Zalman heatsink+fan (CNPS7700) and installed it on her mobo. The installation was ridiculously difficult and the product just did not sit well on the CPU due to design flaws. The screws that screwed it into the bracket seemed like they were too long and touched the mobo (they aren't supposed to).

Well after the heatsink install, the computer power LED displayed blinking red, and the computer shut off instantly. BUT, there was still the boot up picture on the monitor, it would just cut out everytime I tried to power it on. I tried powering it up 3 more times, nothing. I then looked inside the computer to see the HSF had dislodged off the CPU.

Worried, I properly installed it yet again, and this time when I powered it on, I get a green light from the power LED. However, now there is no picture on the monitor, no signal sent to the monitor, the computer won't post at all.

I tried to reproduce the red light scenario by unscrewing the HSF from the cpu brackets and letting it just sit on top and I can't get it to do that again. Also, I've noticed that one green light is on on the mobo, and another is on at the back of the power supply.

My question is, what have I done, what needs to be replaced or troubleshooted? It's honestly Zalman's poor design that caused this, and I'm never buying their products again, but that doesn't really matter.

It is possible that a foreign piece of metal that held the HSF into place touched the mobo while it was on. Would this permanently damage / short the mobo? I've tried resetting the CMOS.
a c 235 V Motherboard
February 18, 2010 11:09:32 PM

I presume that you installed it on a socket LGA775? Installing it on a socket 478 definitely isn't difficult. Did the screws just touch the mobo or did they put enough pressure on it to cause damage?
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February 19, 2010 7:27:18 PM

GhislainG said:
I presume that you installed it on a socket LGA775? Installing it on a socket 478 definitely isn't difficult. Did the screws just touch the mobo or did they put enough pressure on it to cause damage?

I installed it on socket 478. The screws touched, one of the screws caused a visible mark exposing gold on the mobo.

So we can pretty much assume that I damaged my mobo?
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a c 235 V Motherboard
February 19, 2010 7:59:36 PM

I don't understand. If I remember correctly, on a socket 478 you insert 2 metal pieces in the Intel retainer and then screw the Zalman HSF with 2 thumb screws that definitely aren't long enough to damage anything.

Inspect the motherboard very closely with a magnifier glass, but if it exposed the gold, you probably applied a lot of pressure. I still can't figure out how you installed it because the new kits that I can see at Zalman (including instructions) don't seem to include the hardware required to mount them on a socket 478 motherboard. If you look at the kit at http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=113&type=expert&pi..., does yours include all parts, including the 2 metal brackets in a bag (the ones required for a P4)?
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February 19, 2010 8:40:17 PM

yup it was for a p4. my kit lacked instructions but i read online to use the two metal rails with the screws. the problem was the rails wouldn't stay on the OEM bracket, so the HSF fell off the mobo. then i installed the rails the other way and it barely stayed up again even with the screws nearly touching the motherboard.

i inspected the mobo and it's definitely exposed gold. i'm guessing i damaged something. i ordered a new mobo just now for $50. total waste of money
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