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HEATSINKS AND COOLING
Cooling for the i915Ga-HFS is provided by two smallish aluminum
heatsinks: One for the northbridge and one for the CPU. AOpen has been faulted
in the past for the noise of their heatsink fans and the lack of a standard
mounting system for the CPU heatsink. Unfortunately, the nonstandard mounting
system is back, but the heatsink appears to be identical to the revised (and
much quieter) heatsink that shipped with later versions of the i915GMm-HFS.
Two smallish fans make for double the potential noise levels.
The new northbridge fan introduces yet another source of noise
into the system. Neither the fan nor the heatsink itself is very large, but
it's probably big enough to cool the basic northbridge. Whether or not it can
do it quietly remains to be seen.
The fins on the northbridge heatsink are quite rudimentary.
The CPU heatsink is a simple all-aluminum design, but it is tall enough that
it should handle any of the 27W Pentium M chips out there. The fins are not
especially tight, which bodes well for low airflow performance.
The fan snaps off easily.
The base of the heatsink is just barely wide enough to cover the
CPU socket, which is rotated 45° relative to the rest of the motherboard.
Because the socket is not quite square, the CPU is not quite centered under
the heatsink. Extra care should be taken during installation to ensure that
the base of the heatsink lies flush against the CPU die.
The slightly oblong shape of the CPU socket positions the CPU slightly off-center
relative to the base of the heatsink.
Fortunately, there is a square pad on the base of the heatsink
that is designed to rest evenly on the surface of the processor PCB and equalize
the pressure from all sides.
The mounting system is a simple backplate and four spring-loaded
screws. The correct tension (or what we assume is the correct tension) is obtained
by gradually tightening all of the screws together until none of them will turn
any more. Overtightening, as we learned from experience, can lead to stripping
the nut in the backplate, making for a very difficult to remove heatsink (pliers
The mounting system.
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