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AMD Phenom II 965 Running Hot

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July 11, 2010 1:25:52 AM

About 6 months ago I installed an AMD Phenom II 965 C3 revision (125W) processor. It's was idling at around 45-47C in a room with an ambient temp of 29-32 C.

I use this HSF: CoolerMaster Hyper N520,
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=1623&product_id=2879

and Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound.

A few days ago I decided to re-seat the HSF, so I took it out, cleaned both it and the CPU with Isopropyl Alcohol and lint free cloth and used the 'rice-grain' method with the AS5 to put it back on.

I cleared any and all dust and booted it back up, only to find that it now idles between 48-50 C and goes up to 55-57 under load. I know these quad-cores are pretty beefy, but I would really like to get the idle temps down into the 30s. Any advice offered is greatly appreciated and if you need any additional info, let me know.
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July 11, 2010 1:39:00 AM

If your room temp is 29-32C you cannot get it to idle at or below 29-32C, it will likely idle atleast 6C above your room temperature even on a really good cooler.
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July 11, 2010 1:43:59 AM

hunter315 said:
If your room temp is 29-32C you cannot get it to idle at or below 29-32C, it will likely idle atleast 6C above your room temperature even on a really good cooler.


Isn't idling at 50 C too high regardless of my ambient temp? Even if my ambient temp is 30 C, I would want it to idle at at least 36-40 C...
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July 11, 2010 1:53:27 AM

Yes it is, i would suggest redoing your heatsink, try using slightly more thermal paste this time.
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July 11, 2010 1:57:23 AM

hunter315 said:
Yes it is, i would suggest redoing your heatsink, try using slightly more thermal paste this time.

Okay, should I spread it with my finger (in a plastic bag) or just put a pea sized drop in the middle?
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July 11, 2010 2:02:48 AM

go for a pea sized drop in the middle
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July 11, 2010 2:28:12 AM

hunter315 said:
go for a pea sized drop in the middle

Do I need to wait for the thermal paste to set before I put it back in?
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July 11, 2010 7:08:48 PM

vanbuskirks said:
Do I need to wait for the thermal paste to set before I put it back in?


Arctic siler V can take up to a week to cure. This includes a burn in period and periods of up and down time. I would shut it off overnight. After the 1st week, you will probably see about a 3-5 C drop from the break in period.
At this point I would be looking at your case cooling. Those temps as you have surmised are quite a bit higher than normal for that CPU and heatsink. Could you please list you case and fans? Even a detailed list of all the components would be good to have.
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July 11, 2010 7:23:54 PM

buzznut said:
Arctic siler V can take up to a week to cure. This includes a burn in period and periods of up and down time. I would shut it off overnight. After the 1st week, you will probably see about a 3-5 C drop from the break in period.
At this point I would be looking at your case cooling. Those temps as you have surmised are quite a bit higher than normal for that CPU and heatsink. Could you please list you case and fans? Even a detailed list of all the components would be good to have.


I have a CoolerMaster cm690 case with:

4 120mm intake fans: 1 low front, 1 bottom, 2 side panel.

3 120 exaust fans: 1 high rear, 2 top.

All fans are regular coolermaster 120mm fans. (Not Positive of RPMs)

The HSF fans (2 80mm fans that come with the N520) are oriented to pull in from the front of the case and push out the back.

For other parts:

PSU: Thermaltake 775 W Toughpower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153127

Mobo: Gigabyte 790FXTA - UD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128415

Ram: Cosair DDR3 2x2gb sticks. (Not sure of speed)

GPUs: 2 Radeon 4870 512gb.

Soundcard: Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty

HDDs: 1 300gb WD Velociraptor
1 Seagate 500gb 7200rpm Storage drive

Optical Drives: 2 IDE generic drives (pulled from an old dell)

Any other info that you need, let me know.
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July 11, 2010 9:46:32 PM

what was your idle temp before you re-seated it? pyscho is right if the temps shot up after you re-seated it. If they stayed the same, then play around with your fans, especially the side ones. they could be screwing with airflow.

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July 11, 2010 9:48:44 PM

ct1615 said:
what was your idle temp before you re-seated it? pyscho is right if the temps shot up after you re-seated it. If they stayed the same, then play around with your fans, especially the side ones. they could be screwing with airflow.


The idle temp before reseating was about 3-4 C less than current. That was after 6 months of initialling installing it, so my guess is the difference accounts for the thermal paste 'settling'.

In reference to the airflow situation: I was frustrated with the temps I was getting so I took off my side panel and put a twenty inch industrial fan right up to the case. My GPU, HDD, and NB temps dropped each at least 10 C, if not more, but my CPU temp only dropped about 2 C, so I don't think it has to do with the airflow of the case, and instead the problem is in the seating.
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a c 105 à CPUs
July 11, 2010 10:00:42 PM

adding extra fans can screw with airflow also. 3-4c is not a major difference.
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July 11, 2010 10:02:05 PM

Any recommendations then?
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July 11, 2010 10:06:39 PM

vanbuskirks said:
Any recommendations then?


don't worry about it and let the AS5 settle.
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July 11, 2010 10:18:58 PM

The temperature difference between the old and new installation are most likely the AS5 not at full potential yet so I think the problem must be the cooler was installed badly both times or is not working as it should.
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July 11, 2010 10:21:17 PM

simon12 said:
The temperature difference between the old and new installation are most likely the AS5 not at full potential yet so I think the problem must be the cooler was installed badly both times or is not working as it should.


How would I be able to distinguish between the reasons? Is there a HSF installation guide that any of you would recommend? Any tips or common problems regarding installation would be helpful as well. Thanks everyone for the help so far.
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July 11, 2010 11:09:57 PM

Search youtube for installation guides. If you still have the stock cooler try that for comparison.
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July 12, 2010 7:52:26 PM

simon12 said:
Search youtube for installation guides. If you still have the stock cooler try that for comparison.


I've been looking around and it seems like I'm doing everything right. Except for maybe two things, not enough/ too much thermal paste or, the HSF is not pushing down hard enough onto the CPU. Could either of these account for the difference I'm seeing?
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July 12, 2010 8:52:53 PM

It seems you are applying the right amount of thermal paste, too much would be noticeable when you pull off the heatsink as there will be alot pushed out to the sides and you would have quite a mess to clean up.
If it is not seated properly, there will not be a good contact between the surfaces and so heat dissipation will not be good.
I like the idea if you have the stock cooler try that for comparison. If it is significantly cooler than for some reason you aren't getting a good seat on the CPU.
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July 12, 2010 8:56:36 PM

buzznut said:
It seems you are applying the right amount of thermal paste, too much would be noticeable when you pull off the heatsink as there will be alot pushed out to the sides and you would have quite a mess to clean up.
If it is not seated properly, there will not be a good contact between the surfaces and so heat dissipation will not be good.
I like the idea if you have the stock cooler try that for comparison. If it is significantly cooler than for some reason you aren't getting a good seat on the CPU.


Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I do not have the stock HSF anymore, like an idiot I did away with it. I do have an old Zalman CNPS 9500 that I could maybe rig to test, but that requires buying an AM3 mounting bracket and a special hook, which could be awhile. Any other way of verifying I'm getting a good seating?
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July 12, 2010 9:03:30 PM

Well, the HSF should be solid and not move freely. Although my HS moves, most of them will not unless you apply enough force.
Also, if you apply the single drop of TIM, mounting and locking down your heatsink should spread the paste out evenly across the CPU heat shield. If it is not spreading out that way, you aren't getting a good seat.
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July 12, 2010 9:05:09 PM

Aside from the mounting bracket, you could look into a neighborhood PC shop and buy a standard am2 heatsink for around $20.
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July 12, 2010 9:06:21 PM

Just to get an idea how bad the temps are run prime 95 for 15-20 mins to see what your maximum load temps are. Also try installing a program that tells you the RPM of the fan to see if its spinning right.
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July 12, 2010 9:16:36 PM

simon12 said:
Just to get an idea how bad the temps are run prime 95 for 15-20 mins to see what your maximum load temps are. Also try installing a program that tells you the RPM of the fan to see if its spinning right.


I'm afraid that it might go over the recommended 62 C max pretty quick if I run prime 95, should I go ahead and do it anyway?

@buzznut: I actually just found my old stock hsf, I thought I had thrown it out, but I guess I didn't. I still need the mounting bracket though.

Thanks for the help guys
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July 12, 2010 9:29:27 PM

just keep an eye on it and stop it if it goes too high and make a note of how long it took to get that high
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July 12, 2010 9:38:32 PM

simon12 said:
just keep an eye on it and stop it if it goes too high and make a note of how long it took to get that high


So, it idles around 50 C and I ran Prime95 and it took about 30 seconds for it to shoot up to 62 C and beyond. So that must mean something is pretty wrong here...
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July 13, 2010 6:06:53 AM

Yes it doesn't look good. 1 other thing to check is the voltage but even if it was set very high I can't see it making this much difference. You could run speedfan or similar to check the fan is spinning as it should otherwise all I can suggest is try reinstalling the cooler again and if it makes no difference it must not be working as it should and you need anotherone.
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July 18, 2010 5:37:49 PM

vanbuskirks said:
So, it idles around 50 C and I ran Prime95 and it took about 30 seconds for it to shoot up to 62 C and beyond. So that must mean something is pretty wrong here...



Hi Van, did you resolve your pb yet?
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July 19, 2010 7:33:16 AM

Hey, No I haven't solved it yet. I still need to try putting on the Stock HSF to see if that lowers temps. I will post here ASAP when I do that, probably tomorrow.
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July 19, 2010 10:28:01 AM

vanbuskirks said:
Hey, No I haven't solved it yet. I still need to try putting on the Stock HSF to see if that lowers temps. I will post here ASAP when I do that, probably tomorrow.

OK. I'll be around.
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July 19, 2010 3:21:57 PM

vanbuskirks said:
Isn't idling at 50 C too high regardless of my ambient temp? Even if my ambient temp is 30 C, I would want it to idle at at least 36-40 C...


That is affirmative, and you definitely have a problem, my ambient is a controlled 23c and my idle is 29c, and I'm running a 965 with a 1.45v Vcore.

You've gotten some good advice so far and I'm going to input my 2 cents here to try and additionally assist you, I in no means am not discounting any advice you've gotten, so here goes.

First off, the Cooler Master Heatsink you're running, is not performing for you, so I would suggest going to an HDT [Heatpipe Direct Touch] style such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212+, it comes with a second set of fan clips so you can add a second fan if you want.

As far as applying Artic Silver 5 is concerned, the least you use for full coverage the better, remember you get the maximum cooling performance from the least amount of TIM [Thermal Interface Material] you can possibly get away with.

Check the Heat Sink / Heat Spreader footprint and see exactly whats going on, if its squishing out past the edges its too much, adjust accordingly, you're only filling the microfine surface imperfections, if you use too much it will act as an insulator instead of a conductor of the heat.

Taking the side cover off and using a fan to blow into the case, improves your performance, and proves your case airflow is screwed up somewhere, Cooler Master stock 120mm fans such as the ones that come in the 4 pack, and come stock on some of the Cooler Master cases, are quiet, low output fans.

All my 120mm case fans are 78cfm fans, 2 on the lower input and 1 rear exhaust, I additionally have 2 140mm blowholes and 1 side 140mm intake, my Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is sporting 2 120mm 110cfm fans in a push/pull configuration and a 120mm intake booster fan mounted on a Zalman fan bracket, between the lower intake fans and the hyper 212+ intake.

All wiring has been routed and cleared from the airflow path and even though my 2 260GTX in SLI are venting inside the case, my CPU idle temp is still 29c.
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July 19, 2010 4:35:06 PM

4Ryan6 said:
That is affirmative, and you definitely have a problem, my ambient is a controlled 23c and my idle is 29c, and I'm running a 965 with a 1.45v Vcore.

You've gotten some good advice so far and I'm going to input my 2 cents here to try and additionally assist you, I in no means am not discounting any advice you've gotten, so here goes.

First off, the Cooler Master Heatsink you're running, is not performing for you, so I would suggest going to an HDT [Heatpipe Direct Touch] style such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212+, it comes with a second set of fan clips so you can add a second fan if you want.

As far as applying Artic Silver 5 is concerned, the least you use for full coverage the better, remember you get the maximum cooling performance from the least amount of TIM [Thermal Interface Material] you can possibly get away with.

Check the Heat Sink / Heat Spreader footprint and see exactly whats going on, if its squishing out past the edges its too much, adjust accordingly, you're only filling the microfine surface imperfections, if you use too much it will act as an insulator instead of a conductor of the heat.

Taking the side cover off and using a fan to blow into the case, improves your performance, and proves your case airflow is screwed up somewhere, Cooler Master stock 120mm fans such as the ones that come in the 4 pack, and come stock on some of the Cooler Master cases, are quiet, low output fans.

All my 120mm case fans are 78cfm fans, 2 on the lower input and 1 rear exhaust, I additionally have 2 140mm blowholes and 1 side 140mm intake, my Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is sporting 2 120mm 110cfm fans in a push/pull configuration and a 120mm intake booster fan mounted on a Zalman fan bracket, between the lower intake fans and the hyper 212+ intake.

All wiring has been routed and cleared from the airflow path and even though my 2 260GTX in SLI are venting inside the case, my CPU idle temp is still 29c.


Thanks for a great post, I'm tight for money now, but I've heard the 212 is a great HSF, so when I have the cash I may go for that. Again, I appreciate the help.
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July 19, 2010 8:53:14 PM

vanbuskirks said:
Thanks for a great post, I'm tight for money now, but I've heard the 212 is a great HSF, so when I have the cash I may go for that. Again, I appreciate the help.

Ryan makes an excellent point, airflow can be critical when dealing with heat inside the case.

One thing about airflow is it can be counter-intuitive. One might think the more fans the bettter, that is not the case in many situations.
Also one might think that having an equal number of CFM's in the intake and exhaust would be the most efficient-also not true. Heat can build in pockets in an equal pressure scenario.
Having a negative pressure or positive pressure system will actually increase airflow throughout the case. I have moved fans around in my case to create a best case scenario where my temps are the best I can achieve. Its a PITA, but well worth it in my opinion.

Before ordering new fans, you may wish to try some things out while monitoring temps. Remove a fan to see the results, even better just shut fans off one at a time, close the case, and check your temps.

Also, I don't know if you can change the direction of exhaust on your heatsink, but that can have a difference as well. My TRU was pointed toward my 250mm blowhole as I thought that would dissipate heat the most efficiently. I bought a mounting kit for 5 dollars and pointed it toward the 120mm exhaust in back and dropped my CPU temps by 3 C.

Also the TRU now blocks the side mount intake 120mm. I decided to mount an 80mm fan in that spot just for looks since I use all blue light fans. Amazingly I dropped all my temps again, another 3C!

I still think there may be something wrong with your heatsink, and I like the recommendation for the Hyper 212+.
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July 19, 2010 11:54:21 PM

Thanks for the advice, I've been adding a couple fans, to no real avail, but I did have a recent success:

I went into the bios and disabled the feature that scaled fan speed to CPU temp so now all fans tied into the mother board (I have fans running simply off molex power as well) are running at max RPMs. Surprisingly, this dropped my temps by around 4 C to 39-41 C (ambient 28-30 C).

Keep in mind that this HSF install is still under the 200 hour break in period, could this mean that my HSF install is okay? Thanks again for all the help everyone, I really do appreciate it.

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July 20, 2010 12:36:39 AM

Well, that sounds like a rather warm room. Are those CPU temps or core temps? I suppose you could wait and see how it pans out.

Is that idle temps at 3.4 Ghz?
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July 20, 2010 12:41:59 AM

buzznut said:
Well, that sounds like a rather warm room. Are those CPU temps or core temps? I suppose you could wait and see how it pans out.

Is that idle temps at 3.2 Ghz?



It's summer here, so yeah, it has been a bit warm. I'm not sure how I would distinguish between core and CPU temps, but CPUID is reading this:

Core #0-4 = 39-41 C.

TMPIN0 = 52 C

TMPIN1 = 37 C

TMPIN2 = 41 C

SpeedFan agrees:

Temp 1 = 52 C

Core = 39-41

I am running the Phenom 965, which is set to 3.4 Ghz stock, but I have it throttle down based on load. Should I turn that feature off so I can get a better reading?

**EDIT: I turned off the feature to scale down CPU usage based on load and the temps shot back up 45-50 from just web-surfing.
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July 20, 2010 2:06:33 AM

I would turn off cool and quiet or what have you.
Temp 1 = video card for speed fan

40C for core at 3.4Ghz doesn't sound bad, but throttled down not ideal. The point of having the aftermarket cooler is so you can attempt overclocking, otherwise the retail heatsink should be fine.
The reason I ask about that is that usually CPU ambient temp reported by the BIOS is on average 10C less than the core temp.

My PH II 940 idles at 32-33C and goes just over 40C loaded. However that isn't nearly as important as my core temps when fuilly loaded. At 3.6 Ghz and standard voltage(1.35V) all four cores at 100% yields right around 50C core. This is good because my CPU is rated by AMD at a max Thernmal temp of 62C.

So regardless of how the temps look at idle, you really wanna make sure you are within specs as far as core temp under load conditions.

I imagine the 92mm fans need to run at higher rpms to keep up with coolers that have larger 120mm fans. An avg medium speed for 120mm is about 1600 rpm. I see 92mm running about 2500, 80mm about 3000-3500.

I say let it set for a few days. If you can get the cores down to 40C idle and 50C load, you will be ok. However that doesn't address any overclocking that you may have been hoping for.

If it were me, I would go to all the trouble of re-installing the OG heatsink. There should be a significant difference in favor of the Hyper n520.
If not I would take the heatsink back, it isn't common but you may have a HSF that is just not right whether its too concave or is not seating right, etc. You might just have a lemon.
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July 20, 2010 2:09:49 AM

BTW, have you given the TIM any significant down time? Periods of offline will help the TIM to cure.

Another thought just occurred to me, what mobo are you running?
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July 20, 2010 2:21:13 AM

@buzznut

Thanks again for a great reply.

I've been turning the comp off at night and just went away for 5 days, it being off the whole time. Before I left I had been running it 16 hours a day.

This is my mobo: Gigabyte 790FX - UD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128415


I'm not sure if you read my EDIT on my last post, but I turned off cool and quiet and my temps went back up to 45-52 C depending on ambient and low-impact (web-browsing, WinAMP) activity.

My plan at this point is to wait a couple days to see if the temps go down. I would like to install the OG heatsink, but there a few things standing in my way:

1) I have the bracket and backplate, but somehow managed to misplace the screws and have not received a good answer from any local computer store on what I should specifically use and I don't want to just use whatever fits.

2) If the OG heatsink makes no difference, I would like to put my Hyper 512 back in, but since it requires screwing into the back of the motherboard, I need an extra set of hands to hold stuff, but my friend that usually helps is out of town for a bit.

So, that's where I am now. Any worries about frying the CPU even if I never go over the 62 C max?
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July 20, 2010 3:59:39 AM

I don't know if it helps, but i'm running a 1055T at stock speeds with the stock cooler. My ambient temperature is 27~30C. Idle, the CPU runs at around 38C, at load it runs at 48C. Cool n Quiet is active, Turbo boost is active.

You should be getting much better temps with an aftermarket heatsink.
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July 20, 2010 4:25:23 AM

Nope, under 62C is fine.
Well, it looks like you've done the best you can with this heatsink. The 790FX is a solid board and built for overclocking so there shouldn't be any issues there as a source of overheating.
I still think you may just have a bad HSF. I am sure you are feeling how this freaking thing is eating up all your time.

You know by now that you shouldn't just toss things when you think you are done with them. S&$%* happens. I keep a tool kit with various PC screws. Some folks like to take an old (or new) tackle box with all those little compartments and keep things tidy. Ya never know...

Forget the retail HS, cut your losses. return the HS and get a new one, or even better pick a diff model such as the Hyper 212+. You could find a cheap am2 HSF locally to get you by until then, but it doesn't sound like you're having much luck there.
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July 20, 2010 4:38:12 AM

Lower the voltage to 1.25.
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July 20, 2010 8:55:33 AM

^ +1

It should be fine at a lower temp.
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August 7, 2010 4:24:20 AM

Time to bump this thread, even though it's been awhile. So I bought a Hyper 212 plus and installed it. Right now my temps are about 4-5 C cooler with the new HSF. However, after I installed it and checked to make sure it was on tight, I discovered I could twist the HSF about 10 degrees in each direction fairly easily. Did I miss something up? The 4 screws are as tight as possible, but I did not tighten the middle screw on the base of the HSF. Any help?
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August 7, 2010 5:54:56 PM

Sorry for the double post, but Bump.
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August 7, 2010 7:09:25 PM

I am not familiar with the mounting for that heatsink, I've never owned one. However my Thermalright Ultra 120 can spin at least 45 degrees once mounted, and it was designed to do so. The cooling is unaffected. According to Anandtech, it was also designed to be convex, which goes against conventional wisdom that increased area of contact should dissipate greater heat. It was definitely disconcerting at first, but after researching I found that it was more along the lines of a "feature."

I'm guessing 4-5 C was not your goal, but it is doable. I would try to adjust that middle screw you spoke of, it sounds like it may be difficult to get to now however. On my heatsink, there is a lever underneath which when moved into position "locks" the heatsink down a bit and it doesn't spin as easily.
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