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CPU Cooler Installation: Thermalright AXP-100

Lian Li PC-Q30 Case Review: A Mini-ITX Chassis With Flair
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Thermalright AXP-100 is no stranger, seeing that the German team reviewed it recently, and our very own Thomas Soderstrom just evaluated its big brother, the AXP-200 (which, by the way, is also mini-ITX-compatible). Kai’s review motivated me to change things up a bit and forgo the Prolimatech or SilverStone top-flow cooler I might have chosen otherwise. Of course, I didn't make the jump blindly. The Thermalright unit first had to prove its performance to me on an open test bench before I installed it into Lian Li's chassis.

Let’s jump right into the detailed CPU cooler installation guide with pictures.

There was one big obstacle that kept me from using the cooler I originally planned on installing, and I'll tell that story. Starting at the beginning...

A picture of the AMD system shows very clearly why it’s important to have a push-through spacer in the middle and four round spacers on the back plate's screws. We didn't have any trouble on our Intel-based system, but the double-sided nature of Zotac's Socket FM2-based motherboard prevented us from using another heat sink's back plate that depended on a rubber bit to keep it from touching the platform's PCB.

Without that separation between the back plate and board, it's easy to destroy surface-mount components. Just look at the picture below. You can almost hear the capacitors getting crushed. If you want to pick your own cooler for this build, you need to very deliberately avoid this problem. Your best bet is likely using a heat sink with separate back plates for AMD and Intel processor interfaces.

Installing the back plate is easy, so long as you're careful about screwing on the knurled nuts in the right direction. The glued-on plastic ring needs to face the motherboard.

Putting on the retention frame is a bit more difficult. First, loosely thread two screws on one side. Then set the frame in place. Next, loosely thread the other two screws on the opposite side. And finally, tighten everything up so that it's secure.

I already talked about the thermal paste; next, you'll be putting it on and removing the plastic foil cover from the bottom of Thermalright's AXP-100 CPU cooler.

If you're having trouble getting the AXP-100 installed on the retention frame, use some thin double-sided tape to hold the bridge before getting started. This makes it a lot easier to set the CPU cooler in its place, and it also keeps the bridge from sliding out of alignment when you’re fastening the screws.

The last step for anyone using a 120 mm fan is to screw on its retention frame. Thermalright’s solution works very well and really deserves some praise.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    gofasterstripes , November 19, 2013 12:20 AM
    Lian Li proving, again, that they're a little less sane than everyone else...

    I kinda like it, nice concept. There's too many boring PC cases!
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    afrobacon , November 18, 2013 10:54 PM
    It's hideous.
  • 13 Hide
    gofasterstripes , November 19, 2013 12:20 AM
    Lian Li proving, again, that they're a little less sane than everyone else...

    I kinda like it, nice concept. There's too many boring PC cases!
  • 8 Hide
    jimthenagual , November 19, 2013 12:23 AM
    Doesn't quite do it for me. Good for them for trying something new, but it's not something I'd buy.
  • -3 Hide
    monsta , November 19, 2013 12:49 AM
    Yuck....
  • -3 Hide
    bemused_fred , November 19, 2013 2:20 AM
    Ugh. How incredibly gauche.
  • 4 Hide
    jimthenagual , November 19, 2013 2:23 AM
    It makes me want to play donkey kong on the screen.
  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , November 19, 2013 4:21 AM
    I like it. Then again, everything is better than a laptop.
  • -4 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , November 19, 2013 4:36 AM
    Ugly with a capital UG !!
  • 4 Hide
    vertexx , November 19, 2013 5:45 AM
    Does that thing dispense Bitcoins? It looks like it should be dispensing something....
  • 4 Hide
    rolli59 , November 19, 2013 6:24 AM
    Definitely a matter of taste.
  • -2 Hide
    edmoncu , November 19, 2013 7:39 AM
    UGLY! I don't understand the 'uniqueness' of this being a thing of beauty. it's a total opposite! Being different is not just about being different!
  • 2 Hide
    clonazepam , November 19, 2013 9:03 AM
    So a designer at Lian Li was sitting around feeling all nostalgic about his Macintosh (1984-1993), and was looking at all the interesting slideshows of said computers that had been turned into fish bowls, or just a hideout for cute cats. Then the idea for this came to him/her.

    It's not something I'd do for myself. I can see how plenty of people would appreciate the design. I know my 8 yr old daughter would absolutely love that fan. Get some software to turn your monitor into a strobe light, and you have a party in the making! lol

    Igor's awesome. Good job. Could a 140mm fan be rigged up to that CPU(APU) cooler?
  • 1 Hide
    warezme , November 19, 2013 9:22 AM
    Tell your grandpa, it's a new fangled microfiche, he'll get it.
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 19, 2013 9:26 AM
    It looks like an airport or store kiosk.
  • -1 Hide
    ta152h , November 19, 2013 10:11 AM
    Whoever thought this was an attractive case should not be allowed to do any decorations in the house.

    It's ugly as Hell. Different is easy. Different and attractive is difficult. This is different, sure, because no one else wanted to build something so ugly.

    Their train is different and pretty. They normally miss, that's for sure, but every now and then they get it right. I have the train,and love it. This ugly thing? I'd sledgehammer it. It would look better that way.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 19, 2013 10:23 AM
    Quote:
    So a designer at Lian Li was sitting around feeling all nostalgic about his Macintosh (1984-1993), and was looking at all the interesting slideshows of said computers that had been turned into fish bowls, or just a hideout for cute cats. Then the idea for this came to him/her.

    It's not something I'd do for myself. I can see how plenty of people would appreciate the design. I know my 8 yr old daughter would absolutely love that fan. Get some software to turn your monitor into a strobe light, and you have a party in the making! lol

    Igor's awesome. Good job. Could a 140mm fan be rigged up to that CPU(APU) cooler?


    Actually I'm thinking more some designer at Lian Li travels a lot and was thinking "Hmm...... how can I get my PC to have the feel of that machine at the airport that prints out your boarding pass?" :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , November 19, 2013 10:58 AM
    Lots of negative posts but I think its pretty cool. A case like this, demands a stylish cooler and gpu, if you add one. I have been itching to do a small form factor..
  • -1 Hide
    nekromobo , November 19, 2013 11:54 AM
    Any suggestions whats the cooler of choice to replace that case-fan? Something like Noctua NF-A15 ? For that absolutly silent service.. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , November 19, 2013 2:17 PM
    I don't mind the look of this. The cooling solution doesn't make much sense to me, though. The exhaust fan is effectively under the board. That means the flow has to go past the edges, but not across. That seems really inefficient, and possibly eddy inducing right above the board. And I'd forget trying anything but a blower-fan GPU in that case ( though that should work quite well considering the fan intake is right up against the case vent. The passive cooled card's fins are right next to the vent too, but they're not inline with how the air wants to flow.

    It just seems clumsy from a thermal/airflow perspective.
  • 0 Hide
    DanglingPointer , November 19, 2013 3:53 PM
    Get the most powerful Kaveri and pair it with a 7850 next year! Or whatever the most powerful GCN card that can fit!

    Mantle enabled games that are multi-gcn-gpu aware will be able to take advantage of assymetric AFR (assymetric crossfire rendering)!!!! Then you'll be able to play BF4 on high quality on 1080p!

    But that's only if Mantle lives up to the hype! It is still all theory on slides from AMD and DICE.
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