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Pipe Dreams: Six P35-DDR3 Motherboards Compared

Heaping Pile Of Heat Pipes

Looking at several P35 Express motherboards, you'd think Intel had a heat problem, but that is simply not the case. Instead, the "overkill" chipset cooling solutions offered with most enthusiast boards are designed mainly for looks.

Asus surrounds the CPU socket on four sides with pipes that stand 1.4" above the board's surface.

Larger sinks do cool better, but how much cooling do we really need? The second layer of heat pipes found on the largest chipset coolers likely do little in the way of performance, but will certainly get in the way of mounting a variety of large CPU coolers.

Gigabyte takes chipset cooling to the next height.

The best excuse for creating such monstrosities is catering to those who wish to water-cool their CPU, thus eliminating the CPU fan draft often needed to make small passive coolers adequate. But what about the majority of buyers who use CPU air coolers?

MSI's Circu-Pipe cools a blank space on the board but skips the fourth VRM phase.

There is no doubt that the large sinks found on many of these boards offer far better chipset cooling than most buyers need, but are without the problems associated with small cooling fans that plug quickly with dust and become noisy as they wear out. But for users of "big air" CPU cooling, these impressive designs may simply be too much of a good thing.

Not just pipes: Gigabyte's Crazy Cool removes motherboard hotspots while complicating the installation of CPU cooler support plates.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Dont get any biostar mobo, they all have capacitor problems in my experience.
  • Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R support up to 4GB DDR3 memory. However, could 8GBs 2x4GB DDR3 modules be used as long as it is within the top 1333 limit on the board?