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System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: A Balanced High-End Build

Installing Thermaltake's NiC-L32 CPU Cooler

Thermaltake’s NiC-L32 CPU cooler uses two large mounting rings in a sandwich design. It's easiest to install with the motherboard removed from the case.

Foam is supposed to prevent short-circuits on the base plate, but the legs of some capacitors appear to poke all the way through. Just to prove that they could be shortened without special tools, I trimmed the longer leads with a pair of fingernail clippers.

The screws seen in the above photo engage top-side standoffs in the photo below. Each standoff has a foam ring on one side to protect the surface of the motherboard. Screws then attach the top-side mounting ring to the standoffs.

A large dab of paste in the middle makes a large circle about the size of the CPU heat speader. I like to add a smear next to each corner to maximize contact area.

Also notice the orientation of the top mounting ring. The two threaded nubs act as spacers to prevent over-tightening of the next piece in the installation puzzle.

The NiC-L32’s heat sink is secured with a cross-brace, which uses two shoulder screws to connect to the previously-described top ring. A diagram is provided in the cooler’s installation instructions.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.