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BASE & INSTALLATION
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.
The 9900DF employs the same mounting system as its predecessor, the MAX.
For Intel systems, a lug nut is inserted into each corner of the backplate
through the appropriate hole depending on the socket. A plastic brace
goes over it to lock in place for mounting.
Bolts are then used to secure the lug nuts to the clips but because the
heatsink hangs over them, it's hard to get to. To make it easier, Zalman
uses bolts with shallow hexagonal threads and includes an Allen wrench
in the package. It's a real pain as the wrench is impeded by board components
like the VRM heatsink, while the long end can only engage the screw head
at an angle. Also note how the mounting clips bend downward, putting most
of the pressure around the perimeter rather than the center of the CPU.
Typically we tightening the bolts down as much as possible to give every
heatsink the best possible chance but we ended up wearing down the hex
head threads easily. We then had to find a different Allen wrench to remove
them which proved to be a major task as the thread size is very small.
Oddly, we didn't run into this problem with the CNPS9900 MAX despite it
having the exact same system. After re-examining the whole mounting system
and process, both Mike Chin and I concluded that stripping the head threads
of these tiny bolts is more normal than not; we were just lucky that it
didn't happen with the CNPS9900 MAX... unless those bolts had better threaded
One nice thing about the 9900DF is it doesn't take up that much room.
There is about 40 mm of clearance below the bottom fin but the body is
fairly narrow so it didn't interfering with anything.
An adapter is included to run both fans off a single motherboard fan header
but the larger center fan is a 4-pin PWM model while the front fan is
an old school 3-pin. Using PWM control, the 3-pin fan runs at full speed.
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