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CPU Cooler: Assembly And Installation

Silent, But Deadly: Build Your Own Gaming-Ready 0 dB PC
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CPU Cooler Assembly

If you're looking to recreate this build, we strongly recommend reading the section on AMD-specific parts in SilverStone's manual very carefully! The backplate has an Intel side and an AMD side. First, the four preinstalled plastic Intel spacers need to be taken off. This isn’t mentioned in the manual. Then, an AMD cap needs to be added in the middle. Finally, four pieces of tape for electrical isolation have to be attached to the side facing the motherboard. Seriously.

The four installation pins that get pushed through the backplate are flattened to keep them from spinning when they’re screwed in from the other side.

The whole contraption is screwed together with thumb screws. Be careful that the installation frame sits very securely; after all, this cooler weighs more than two pounds.

The Right Thermal Paste: Cooler Master X1

Cooler Master’s X1 thermal paste is a really good product, but there are a few things to note about its application. The X1's 9.5 W/mK is at the very top end of current thermal pastes’ conductivity, which is ideal for passive cooling. Apply it as a small blob, rather than using the bundled putty knife. This isn’t the thickest solution on the market, but it’s not as viscous as Arctic’s MX-2 either. After a processor-friendly two-hour burn-in period, performance is measurably better than with normal pastes.

In a passive build, every degree of effectiveness counts. The best choice is really your only choice. We didn’t mess with any liquid metal thermal pastes, though, because you only get one try for correct cooler positioning. SilverStone's Heligon HE02 is large and not that easy to handle, so it might take two or three attempts until the cooler sits just right.

The picture shows the orientation we chose for the cooler, with the longer side over our memory modules (naturally, that means you have to install RAM before the heat sink). This allows the air to pass through the cooler from the bottom to the top, leaving some space between the Heligon and the back wall of the case, which could be used for something like an ultra-silent fan.

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