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Hardware Installation

System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $2,000 Performance PC
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With no complicated liquid-cooling installation, today’s assembly takes a page directly from our how-to guide. The CPU cooler was the only part to require additional installation steps.

Notice that the Megahalems' installation kit contains no less than three crossbars and, oddly enough, a set of small rubber O-rings.

The socket support plate is drilled for LGA 775, LGA 1156, and LGA 1366 coolers, with three sets of holes that overlap. Corresponding nuts must be pushed into the correct hole position as shown, with the outermost position aligning to LGA 1366 motherboards. O-rings hold the nuts in place while the support plate is positioned on the back of the motherboard.

The mounting kit uses four custom studs that are threaded on both ends and knurled in the middle. These are screwed into the support plate’s nuts by first inserting them through the motherboard’s mounting holes. The knurled center of each stud comes with a plastic washer installed on one side, which is the side that faces the motherboard.

The two matching crossbars are then installed over the protruding stud ends. Four nuts hold these bars in place, as shown above.

We applied a small amount of thermal paste as outlined in our how-to guide, set the CPU cooler over the CPU, and used the third crossbar to hold it in place. Two spring-loaded mounting screws assure that the perfect amount of pressure forces the CPU cooler against the CPU.

This is how our platform looks with the oversized, experimental fan attached using modified clips. The normal fan and clips were installed after our overclocking experiment was complete.

Our case came with a three-pin power LED connector, but our motherboard uses the modern two-pin variety. We moved the black wire to the center position as shown above, then cut away the remaining plastic. An alternative method would have been to split the connector down its originally empty center, an option that would have allowed installation on both modern- and ancient-standard motherboards.

The only difficulty we found installing hardware into Antec’s mid-sized Three Hundred Illusion case was that it has few places to hide cables, though the space that exists behind the hard drive cage is fairly large.

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