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The Silent Tower was mounted on my standard P4 heatsink test motherboard. Assembly was
fiddly and not straight forward.
- A steel "H"
bracket, a rubber pad and an antistatic plastic sheet all mount on the
underside of the board with four long studs. These are all fastened from the top
side of the board using four nuts and a set of fiber washers.
- Next the HSF is
placed on top of the CPU and the top "H" bracket is slipped into position
over the four protruding studs and into the slot on top of the base of the heatsink.
- Then the whole thing is clamped together by tightening four little nuts down
onto the protruding studs.
This sounds fairly easy but in practice it's not.
The biggest problem is that there's no way to tell when you've tightened the
top clamping bracket enough. The mounting studs are fully threaded so there's no way to tell how much tension
is "too much". It doesn't help that the top "H" bracket
flexes as you tighten up the nuts. This adds a mushy feel to the whole operation
making it quite difficult to tell how tight things really are.
is that the entire heatsink itself can slide from side to side while tightening
up the nuts due to the design of the clamping bracket. Even with the board out in the open, it's difficult to
access to the tiny nuts on the side nearest the northbridge heatsink. Thermaltake did not supply a wrench to make this easier. I used a set
of needle-nosed pliers, which worked, but not easily.
When I had it tightened up as much as I thought was "enough",
I noticed that I could still slide the heatsink from side to side. After I got
the system running, I experimented with tension. Tightening the
nuts down so much that the heatsink wouldn't move didn't make any difference in CPU temperature. With this much tension, the top bracket became quite
noticeably bent, which didn't make me feel comfortable.
Mounting hardware. Note the clamp underneath the board to distribute
All the above applies to mounting a P4 CPU with a large integrated heatspreader
on top of it. If I was mounting this on an AMD CPU with a bare core, I'd be
extremely concerned about chipping the core. It's too hard to tell if you're applying
pressure evenly across the CPU and when to stop applying pressure.
The weight of the very
tall heatsink will apply a lot of cantilever force to the CPU core when the motherboard
is mounted in the typical upright position. I didn't see a problem with the test
setup, but the P4 (and the Athlon 64) has the sturdy heatspreader to distribute the clamping
force, something that a bare core CPU like the AMD XP doesn't have.
My heatsink reviews are conducted with the reference motherboard sitting
flat on a piece of antistatic foam. For this review I also tested the heatsink
with the board mounted in a vertical position to see if there was any difference
in cooling ability: There wasn't.
Mounted. Note the clearance in the "keep out" area and the overall
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