Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Cooling Processors quietly

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Conchis
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Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by Conchis » Mon May 05, 2014 1:04 pm

So I'm thinking about putting together a silent-ish system in a Fractal Define R4 case, and am eyeing the new Noctua DH-NH15 cooler (assuming it will become readily available soon). One thing that is giving me pause is that it weighs 1320 grams, close to 100 grams more than its predecessor the DH-NH14, which is pretty huge to begin with. At a certain point a heavy CPU cooler is going to start putting undue physical stress and torque on the motherboard, right? Apart from installing the thing properly, is there anything one can do to mitigate against this? Are there some motherboards that are stronger than others? Would a size other than ATX work better? Do systems with these coolers installed need to be treated with kid gloves when being moved around? What if you had to drive a thousand miles with it in the back seat? There've got to be custom builders who ship systems with these gigantic coolers - what do they do?

quest_for_silence
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon May 05, 2014 1:26 pm

Conchis wrote:Apart from installing the thing properly, is there anything one can do to mitigate against this?

About nothing.

Conchis wrote:Would a size other than ATX work better?

The smaller, the stiffer.

Conchis wrote:Do systems with these coolers installed need to be treated with kid gloves when being moved around?

Prolly.

Conchis wrote:There've got to be custom builders who ship systems with these gigantic coolers - what do they do?

Foam and carboard.

lodestar
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by lodestar » Mon May 05, 2014 1:52 pm

Conchis wrote:Apart from installing the thing properly, is there anything one can do to mitigate against this?
Scythe used to have a potential solution for this, the Ninja Wire SCYNW-1000. This was a one metre (39 inch) long steel cable which could secure a cooler weighing up to 2Kg (4.4lbs). It was intended for use with heavy graphics cards as well. As it is discontinued it might be hard to source now, particularly in North America. However this Canadian source still seems to have some.

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CA_Steve
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by CA_Steve » Mon May 05, 2014 4:41 pm

You could just secure it with a couple of cable ties to an appropriate point on the case to nullify the torque. Or, build a stand underneath it to prop it up.

lodestar
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by lodestar » Mon May 05, 2014 6:41 pm

CA_Steve wrote:...Or, build a stand underneath it to prop it up.
Yes that sounds like a better idea. It also seems familiar... this is exactly what Silverstone provided with the Temjin TJ08-E case, as this image from the SPCR review shows:

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However the practical issue is that such stands only really work if there is no obstruction between the stand and the CPU cooler, and this will not be the case if there is a discrete graphics card or other cards present.

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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by Vicotnik » Mon May 05, 2014 11:51 pm

In the TJ08-E the motherboard is mounted upside down, so there's no cards in between. I like this solution. :) In a normal case wire from the top is probably better.

Conchis
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by Conchis » Tue May 06, 2014 4:07 am

quest_for_silence wrote:
Conchis wrote:Would a size other than ATX work better?

The smaller, the stiffer.
Do you think it would be a reasonable choice to use a Micro Atx motherboard for precisely this reason even if using a larger case such as the Define R4? For my purposes, Micro ATX would be fine as I'm likely never gonna use more than one graphics card, but it seems weird to put one in a full size ATX case.

lodestar
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by lodestar » Tue May 06, 2014 6:08 am

Taking the current 1150 boards as an example some boards are potentially going to be stiffer than others regardless of size. For example the Asus Z87 Pro has two metal backplates adjacent to the CPU backplate on the reverse of the motherboard which are connected (screwed) to substantial VRM heatsinks. This is illustrated by the image below taken from the PC Perspective review of this motherboard. Incidentally in this image the right hand side would be the top when the board is fitted in a case. To the top of the image there is a row of solder points for the RAM slots. Only one is showing, there are four of these quite closely spaced. Whether fitted with two or four memory modules these are going to add to the stiffness of the board and again they are close to the CPU socket and backplate. Note also the two motherboard mounting points shown in the image, both close to the CPU socket, and to the RAM slots and VRM heatsink mountings.

So all in all with this particular board I would not have thought that even fitting a 1.3Kg (2.9lb) Noctua NH-D15 (with its additional backplate) should cause any concern about possible motherboard flexing. They may be other boards with similar features.

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tsmvengy
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by tsmvengy » Tue May 06, 2014 7:45 am

CA_Steve wrote:You could just secure it with a couple of cable ties to an appropriate point on the case to nullify the torque. Or, build a stand underneath it to prop it up.
Agree with this - just use a cable tie or some wire or something and attach it to a support above the cooler.

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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by xan_user » Tue May 06, 2014 9:31 am

Image

$0.79

or

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$2.98

CA_Steve
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by CA_Steve » Tue May 06, 2014 12:41 pm

A couple of cable ties = pennies :D

LongJan
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by LongJan » Tue May 06, 2014 2:25 pm

CA_Steve wrote: You could just secure it with a couple of cable ties to an appropriate point on the case to nullify the torque.
I did that once then I had to transport the computer in the back seat (not thousand miles but still).
It survied. Maybe it had done so even without the cable ties. As lodestar points out, the memory slots should add some stiffnes -never thought about that.
Conchis wrote: Do you think it would be a reasonable choice to use a Micro Atx motherboard for precisely this reason even if using a larger case such as the Define R4? For my purposes, Micro ATX would be fine as I'm likely never gonna use more than one graphics card, but it seems weird to put one in a full size ATX case.
I don't think it matter much. It looks like motherboard mounting points are as close (or even closer?) to the CPU socket on ATX as mATX.

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cyberspyder
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by cyberspyder » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:00 pm

Here's what I do for every one of my builds:

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lodestar
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by lodestar » Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:02 am

Whatever practical effect that wire is giving cable straps would do just as well, and by concentrating the pressure on a wider softer surface are probably less likely to cause damage to the case and/or cooler anyway. Scythe produced a Ninja Wire specifically for this job, with hooks for the cooler and adjusters to alter the cable length. But it is/was quite expensive and had the same disadvantage.

doveman
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by doveman » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:16 am

You could use a horizontal case like the Coolermaster HAF XB EVO, which I bought partly to avoid this problem of having heavy heatsinks and graphic cards hanging off my motherboard
http://www.coolermaster.com/case/lan-bo ... af-xb-evo/

useful_idiot
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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by useful_idiot » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:39 am

doveman wrote:You could use a horizontal case like the Coolermaster HAF XB EVO, which I bought partly to avoid this problem of having heavy heatsinks and graphic cards hanging off my motherboard
http://www.coolermaster.com/case/lan-bo ... af-xb-evo/
I also have this case and its solved all my case frustrations. For a full sized atx case this thing is the way to go for us tinkerers. I dont see whats so great about the R4 after using the HAF. Not only is it well built and well designed but since its short and stocky it makes a great footrest as well, this is the case that just keeps on giving! :)

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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by bonestonne » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:56 pm

I have a dual socket motherboard (LGA2011) with two Xigmatek Dark Knight II coolers on it. Since I have the square mounting, the heatsinks literally bolt to the socket (not through the motherboard).

I don't make a point of moving my system around much, but when I have to, I have to. I haven't noticed any problems yet. What probably helps is the complete lack of clearance between the side panel and the tips of the heatpipes (the clearance is about 1-2mm).

I used a Scythe Ninja for a long time as well, and never noticed an issue moving that system around.

There were a number of drop tests for heavy CPU coolers even using push pins. The coolers are very well secured, and even after several years, I've never noticed an issue with any of my motherboards. Even GPUs flex much more noticeably, but no issues there either.

For system builders that ship computers around, the systems will typically have a piece of foam that the buyer will need to remove before use. The foam gets cut around the CPU cooler and placed into the computer, and will prevent movement. For the couple of machines I've had to ship around, I don't use tower coolers period. I go with a small, bolt through cooler that will not move and will not have issues. Puget systems will do this for SPCR Edition builds.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1322-page3.html

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Re: Mitigating against dangers of huge CPU coolers

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:35 pm

I believe Puget also uses expanding foam for shipping.

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