Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Heatsink

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The most critical aspect of installation is that the heatsink be securely mounted. A firm mating results in good contact between the heatsink's base and the CPU heatspreader and more efficient heat conduction. Ideally it should also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces of hardware as possible.

Installation begins with preparation of the backplate. Long bolts are inserted in the appropriate holes and nuts are used to secure them. Washers are used to prevent electrical shorts.

The bolts are inserted through the motherboard mounting holes and a second set of washers and nuts are secured on the other side. It's a bit tedious having to thread 8 nuts on such long bolts.

A crossbar with a pair of spring-loaded screws has to be added to the mounting frame to keep it in place. This seems like an extra step passed on the the user. It would be better installed it at the factory.

The heatsink is placed on the processor with the ends of the bolts poking through the holes of the mounting frame. Four more spring-loaded screws are utilized to finish the mount. Note that the Polaris is oriented on AMD motherboards with the fan blowing in the preferred direction, toward the back panel case exhaust vent/fan.

The fan clips are interesting in that they hold onto the area around the fan's mounting holes rather than the holes themselves. As we mentioned previously, the Polaris 120 sits a little bit low. On our LGA1366 test board, there was 45 mm under the bottom fin, and 37 mm of clearance beneath the (centered) fan.

We spread thermal compound along the four gaps between the heatpipes to ensure sufficient coverage. The resulting footprint revealed that the pressure holding the heatsink down was adequate, though bit weaker at the edges. Also little contact was made between the CPU and the outer heatpipes.

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