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Tower coolers and potential motherboard distortion?

Last response: in Systems
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January 30, 2010 5:29:54 PM

Here’s my problem. I take an i7 920 and I stick it in the GA X58A U3DR motherboard and strap a Noctua NH –U 12P SE2 cooler onto it (Or any reasonably large tower cooler). OK, fine. No problem. Stick it into a HAF 922 or Antec 900, what’s the problem? Good ventilation and cooling.

Then I talked to a friend of mine and he came up with this quite disturbing hypothetical scenario. When I turn that motherboard vertical and mount it into a case, if the motherboard isn’t supported in some way at the back, around the CPU and cooler’s back plate, the amount that the cooler hangs out by, and it’s weight is going to be putting some significant pressure on the motherboard all around where the back plate is strapped. This pressure isn’t great but over time it mounts up. Add to that the very, very gentle vibration from the fan and the uneven pressure on the motherboard increases – which over a time frame of two years say, could cause damage to the motherboard, and I’d imagine will definitely effect the seating of the cooler on the CPU.

OK. it's hypothetical. I'm not an engineer but even if it's hypothetical, I'd like to find a solution - something to guard against it when I build my new pc.
The solution my friend suggests is to put some kind of support between the case and the mother board around the back plate area.

Well, here’s the problem, the HAF 922 has a giant hole right behind the CPU. I don’t know the technical term for them, but I’ll call them seating screw supports – they’re those little hexagonal metal pillar sort of things that screw into the back of the case behind the mother board, giving it a little extra support, when it’s screwed down. I’ve seen them on server cases. The case I built my last rig in (six years ago :ange:  ) had a ton of them…well, that hole in the HAF 922 isn’t going to allow for any of them.

My friend and I have pored over photos of the ANTEC 900. We could see the holes that the motherboard bolts into, but no sign of any other drill holes nothing that one could place a seating screw into.

So advise me, those of you who’ve built an i7 920 rig with an air cooler, what case did you use? Has anybody found one that’ll solve this hypothetical problem and still provide huge volumes of QUIET air cooling???

Let me add, I'm building something to last at least four years, which is why I'm worrying about it.

January 31, 2010 12:07:43 PM

Normally when the HSF is very large there will be a backplate that you have to install onto the back of the motherboard. This backplate design is engineered so that your mother board will not be bending, breaking, warping or whatever. If you installed the HSF properly there shouldn't be any problems.
a b V Motherboard
January 31, 2010 1:42:17 PM

There have been a few reports of warping due to taller hsf's. The TRUE Copper had tons of people running around mad worried about it. After looking into it concerning a Megahalems the only thing I could find were people that over-torqued the mounts while installing them and warped the boards that way.

If you're really concerned about it, it wouldn't be difficult to create a harness that attached to the top of the case and supported any excess weight of the hsf. A shoestring comes to mind immediately, though I'm sure you could figure out something a little more eloquent.
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