I'm looking for a cheap-ish (<£25) top-down heatsink for an AM3 system I'm building for my brother. I've currently got a Minja on it http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/7936/fanziptie1.jpg
but as you can see, the fan blocks the two nearest RAM slots and I'd rather they were left clear in case he ever needs to use them, as he's not very technical and I wouldn't like to ask him to cut the fan zipties and then try and re-fit the fan himself (he lives hundreds of miles away so it's not practical for me to pop round and do stuff like that for him!) It would be almost impossible trying to fit new zipties with the board in the case (Aerocool VS-4 http://www.dinoxpc.com/blog/wp-content/ ... C06352.JPG
) anyway as there's barely any room between the top of the case and the heatsink and I certainly couldn't expect him to disconnect everything, remove the board, etc.
Of course, fans do die and need replacing anyway, so even if he never needs to use those two RAM slots, he may well need to change the fan at some point.
The current board is a Biostar TA790GXBE http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/int ... p?S_ID=419
but that seems to have died on me so I'm going to replace it with a DDR3 board. I think the spacing between the CPU socket and the RAM slots is pretty much universal on AM3/AM3+ boards, so I don't expect the new board to be any better in that respect.
I've got a Thermalright SI-128 on my Gigabyte board but even with that the heatpipes block the two nearest RAM slots, although that's less of a concern than the ease of changing the fan, so the SI-128 would help with that. I know I couldn't orientate it with the heatpipes towards the back of the case as they clashed with the rear exhaust fan then and there probably isn't room in the case to have the heatpipes above the board as shown here http://www.silentpcreview.com/article719-page4.html
and even with the heatpipes pointing down they may well clash with the Northbridge heatsink (I'm not even sure if it's possible to orientate it in either of those directions on AM3/AM3+ sockets anyway).
So, apart from the likelihood of it still blocking two of the RAM slots, I could use the SI-128 I've got and get something else for my Gigabyte system (although obviously if I can find a reasonably priced SI-128 that would be easier than removing the one I've got) but perhaps there's some widely available top-down coolers that would be more suitable (i.e wouldn't block any RAM slots). The system only has a non-overclocked Athlon II X4 640, so it doesn't have to be an outstanding cooler but it needs to be able to cool very quietly (obviously moving from the Minja's 80mm fan to a 120mm or 140mm should help a lot, but that's not guaranteed if the cooler's lousy and the fan has to run at full speed ).