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Large CPU cooler = motherboard damage?/What cpu cooler is best for me?

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January 19, 2012 1:14:47 AM

Would large coolers, such as the Noctua DH-14, Thermalright Silver Arrow or Phanteks PH-TC14PE, mounted on my motherboard potentially damage it? I am worried as they look so big and I don't have spare cash to replace the motherboard if it does break... As a result, I was looking at the corsair H80 as an alternative, simply because of how the majority of the weight is secured to the chassis...

Of course, I'm not even sure I need that much cooling power... A lot of the cpu cooler reviews seem to say that these things are the best, but I don't know if I need to spend that much for what i need!

I would just like a cpu cooler that:
1) Allows me a reasonable safety margin to overclock my 2500k to ~4.5GHz, even when it is warm in the room
2) Is reasonably quiet

I would really appreciate any opinions as this dilemma has been bugging me for ages!

My build so far (In case any of it is relevant!):
Motherboard: AsRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
Case: Zalman Z9 Plus
Processor: Intel i5-2500k
Memory: 8GB Corsair Vengeance
PSU: Antec TruePower New 650W
Graphics: MSI HD6950 2GB



a b V Motherboard
January 19, 2012 1:27:45 AM

Either of these look fine:

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+ $44.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: I've never heard of large aftermarket coolers breaking the motherboard. Maybe it has happened somewhere before, but I doubt you will have to worry much about it. Having said that, the CM Hyper 212's above seem to be a more reasonable size and will hopefully alleviate concerns you have about potential motherboard damage.
a c 227 à CPUs
a c 195 V Motherboard
a c 105 K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 1:36:36 AM

The big air coolers come with backplates that prevent motherboard damage. It is kind of strange mounting one for the first time though!

Either of the above listed coolers should be good for a 4.5Ghz overclock. The Evo is a bit better.
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January 19, 2012 7:54:11 AM

I have got the 212 EVO and I'm happy with it but it is a little bit noisy, if you want one that's more quiet, I recommend the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B or the Scythe Mugen 3.

You shouldn't worry at all that the motherboard breaks, it might be little bit hard to put it on, so I recommend putting on the cooler before you put the motherboard in the case.
January 19, 2012 9:16:47 PM

Thanks for the replies guys, especially for reassuring me about big heatsinks!

I've since been searching for the best quiet cpu cooler I can find, and I think i've narrowed it down to Thermalright's HR-02 Macho or Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B/3 (whats the difference between these?)

Any opinions on which cooler is better? Or do you have any other suggestions?
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
January 19, 2012 9:58:23 PM

A cooler breaking a mobo is very rare, but in those instances it has happened its usually due to the PC in question being moved/dropped or knocked over.
It never happens from just sitting there, they test them well to make sure that can't happen.
a c 227 à CPUs
a c 195 V Motherboard
a c 105 K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 11:07:04 PM

Medicteddy said:
Thanks for the replies guys, especially for reassuring me about big heatsinks!

I've since been searching for the best quiet cpu cooler I can find, and I think i've narrowed it down to Thermalright's HR-02 Macho or Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B/3 (whats the difference between these?)

Any opinions on which cooler is better? Or do you have any other suggestions?



I am not familiar with the Thermalright Macho

The Scythe Mugen 2 Rev B was replaced by the Scythe Mugen 3. It performs nearly the same in the benchmarks I have seen. I have the Mugen 2 and am very happy with it. It's huge but it's almost silent too. It beats the Hyper 212+ by 5-7C in most tests and was only $10 more. The Evo is a better cooler than the 212+ so the Mugen probably only beats it by a couple of degrees.

The one thing you may have to worry about is that Corsair Vengance RAM has tall heat spreaders on it causing the huge Mugen to block RAM slots. My GSkill Ripjaws X has slightly lower heat spreaders and just fits under the Mugen. If you already have the Corsair RAM you may want to consider the smaller Hyper 212+ or Evo.
January 20, 2012 6:49:31 AM

anort3 said:
The one thing you may have to worry about is that Corsair Vengance RAM has tall heat spreaders on it causing the huge Mugen to block RAM slots. My GSkill Ripjaws X has slightly lower heat spreaders and just fits under the Mugen. If you already have the Corsair RAM you may want to consider the smaller Hyper 212+ or Evo.

Unless he has the low profile (LP) version.
January 20, 2012 8:12:58 AM

I haven't bought the RAM yet... but I was planning on installing the RAM in the furthest slots anyway! Nonetheless, it is really good to know that I could still fit in memory underneath that heatsink if i needed to!

Also, how quiet is the mugen? I've heard good things about it, but i would really appreciate a personal opinion!
January 20, 2012 8:15:27 AM

Sorry, I meant how loud does it get under load? And also, does that loudness really matter considering my graphics card will probably be loud too?
January 20, 2012 9:38:10 AM

The Mugen is...well...you can barely hear it when you're even sitting next to it, even under load.

About the RAM, it won't fit even if you put it in the two farthest slots, you must take the Low Profile version.
January 20, 2012 1:40:15 PM

Get low profile rams if you're planning to use big air coolers, besides, those heatsinks don't do much. I regret mine with big heatsinks.

Silver arrow is huge (and I mean HUGE) and I would reconsider if you're really planning to use 8GB Corsair Vengeance.

What are you planning to OC to? You may not need to waste money depending on how far you want to take it.

January 20, 2012 2:51:19 PM

Do RAM heatsinks help much at all then? Having read some other forums, the G-Skillz Ripjawz memory modules seem like a good alternative as they can fit under the HR-02 Macho! Also, that silver arrow is a BEAST! Surprised you could fit any RAM underneath it O.o

I'm planning on overclocking to around 4.5 GHz as that seems to be a safe overclock as far I can find out from forums... Having said that though, I'm coming from using a 2.2GHz core 2 duo, so even the stock speed is going to be much faster...!

People who posted earlier mentioned credible smaller heatsinks like the Hyper 212 Evo, but I was worried about their performance under load when ambient temperature is higher, such as in the summer, which led me to research better, albeit larger, heatsinks...

Basically I want to be able to overclock to a high speed without risking potentially damaging heatsink temperatures!

P.S. Thank you guys for helping me out so far!


a c 227 à CPUs
a c 195 V Motherboard
a c 105 K Overclocking
January 20, 2012 4:36:31 PM

The Hyper 212 is fine for 4.5Ghz. You will not have RAM clearance issues with it either. If you do go with a larger cooler like the Mugen get low profile Corsair or the GSkill Ripjaws X to make sure it fits.

Sandy Bridge chips are really at their best at 4.5Ghz. Going over that really does not increase real world performance unless you are running like a 3 x GTX 580 setup. You do not want to go over 1.4v with a Sandy chip either and personally I am happy with mine at 1.32v. When you start approaching 1.4v and over you start to see the chips degrading due to a process called electromigration. This will decrease the lifespan of the chip.
January 21, 2012 8:39:25 AM

Was about to settle for a CM hyper 212+ due to RAM clearance issues but some more recent reviews that compared it to the thermalright true spirit 120 showed that the latter was better in almost every aspect, and is not too big as well! Furthermore, the true spirit is cheaper in the UK (as far as I can find), and thus the choice was made very easily!


Thanks for all the advice guys! It really helps getting all this useful information from people who know what they are talking about! :D 
a c 120 à CPUs
a c 117 V Motherboard
a c 183 K Overclocking
January 21, 2012 12:41:44 PM

Good choice mate!
Thermalright fans are also quieter then most.
!