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Case And Cooler Installation

System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $2000 Performance PC
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We started with Antec’s venerable Nine Hundred, a part that was recently updated to include front-panel USB 3.0 via an internal motherboard header. Always a favorite of Newegg customers, this updated version was recently included in our Customer Choice PC.

Zalman’s CNPS12X typically uses an included multi-fit AMD/Intel support plate and screws to hold the cooler against the CPU. Four T-nuts slide into holes that match the mounting locations on the motherboard, while four slip-on collars hold the T-nuts in position.

A quartet of self-adhesive washers protect the surface of the motherboard from being gouged by metal mounting hardware. ASRock’s Z77 Extreme6 has dual-position mounting holes, where those circled in white offer the best alignment.

Four standoffs hold the support plate against the back of the motherboard in this LGA 1155 installation. A different set of standoffs would have employed the integrated support plate of an LGA 2011 installation.

Cross brackets are attached to the top of these standoffs using an included set of thumb screws.

The CNPS12X then uses a cross bracket and socket-head screws to hold the base of its sink against the CPU. An included ball-end Allen wrench eases access to these screws.

Note that the base of the sink clears our chosen RAM by just over 1/8”. Memory this size can be carefully manipulated into the other slots without removing the sink, though patience and a steady hand are required.

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