extrobe

Struggling with Heatsink Installation

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Need a bit of help...

 

Installing a heatsink for my 2011v3 Xeon E5 into my Asus X99-WS board.

 

The heatsink is is a Silverstone SST-AR01 , which I bought because OCUK specifically lists socket 2011v3 as being compatible (whereas the Evo 212 had conflicting information)

 

It comes with two sets of standoffs - one set for when you use the rear bracket, and one (smaller) set specifically for screwing into the existing lga2011 screw holes.

 

Only the smaller ones fit, so there doesn't seem to be any room for confusion there.

 

I then install the mounting brackets across the standoffs. Again, these only go on one way, and I screw them down with the thumb screws.

 

I then pop on the heatsink, and thread the cross-bar through and onto the mounting brackets.

There are then two nuts for screwing the cross bar onto the brackets. And this is where I have a problem.

There's about 4mm of additional clearance between the mounting bracket and the cross-bar.

 

Is this right? Should it not be fairly flush?

 

The other standoffs are taller, but won't thread into the screw-holes.

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Edited by extrobe

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Looks to me like that clearance is what gives you the adjustable clamping force. The tighter you screw it, the harder it squeezes down to the CPU. Are you sure it's seated completely flat? It looks a little offset or angled in your photo. Make sure it's not interfering with any of the motherboard components or CPU socket pieces. 

 

BTW, once you clamp it down, don't pick it back up. It appears that you removed it after spreading your HS compound, which leaves gaps in the compound the next time you clamp it down, as it pulls loose unevenly. Ideally you should have the correct amount of compound dead center in a ball that spreads evenly just to the edge as you clamp down. That way there are no bubbles or gaps. The less compound the better, ideally you want mirror smooth faces on both HS and CPU, so just a tiny amount of compound squeezes evenly across the face.

 

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I'm not exactly sure I am understanding the issue completely, but would suggest clearance between the crossbars is nothing to worry about, as long as the heat plate is in full and firm contact with your CPU.  If you know the heat plate is touching, and you apply a bit of torque to ensure a solid contact to the CPU, then everything should be stable and useful.  If there's any wiggle room between CPU and heat plate, then something is definitely amiss.

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Thanks both. I tightened the nuts down to finger tight - the heatsink doesn't budge.

 

ran the motherboard without any other components except ram for about 15 mins and temps etc seemed stable.

 

Perhaps you're right, and this is the intended setup - just seemed to be an awful lot of space in there.

 

And thanks for the tips jonathanm - first time I've ever had to remove a HS after initial setting - harder than you'd think to remove haha! (Ended up twisting & pulling)

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4 minutes ago, extrobe said:

first time I've ever had to remove a HS after initial setting - harder than you'd think to remove haha! (Ended up twisting & pulling)

Ideally you should clean off all the compound and do a new dot. That force to remove is caused by air pressure at 14.7 PSI, because you are breaking the vacuum seal created by the evenly spread compound. I'll bet the force to pull it loose the second time with the same compound will be less, because there will be voids and air bubbles instead of an even layer.

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2 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

Ideally you should clean off all the compound and do a new dot. That force to remove is caused by air pressure at 14.7 PSI, because you are breaking the vacuum seal created by the evenly spread compound. I'll bet the force to pull it loose the second time with the same compound will be less, because there will be voids and air bubbles instead of an even layer.

 

Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow when I build the rest of the system, thanks for the heads-up

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38 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

That force to remove is caused by air pressure at 14.7 PSI

Or if you're in the UK.  101.3 kPA which is the SI unit.  ;-)

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Ideally you should clean off all the compound and do a new dot. That force to remove is caused by air pressure at 14.7 PSI, because you are breaking the vacuum seal created by the evenly spread compound. I'll bet the force to pull it loose the second time with the same compound will be less, because there will be voids and air bubbles instead of an even layer.

Whilst you're right about the air bubbles, hasn't there been pretty extensive testing across various YouTubers that conclusively shows performance difference to be miniscule at best?
Obviously if you're taking a heatsink off and the paste is dry, you should replace it, but if you're just reseating during the initial build, it's really not a big deal and won't impact temperatures significantly.

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3 minutes ago, B1scu1T said:


Whilst you're right about the air bubbles, hasn't there been pretty extensive testing across various YouTubers that conclusively shows performance difference to be miniscule at best?
Obviously if you're taking a heatsink off and the paste is dry, you should replace it, but if you're just reseating during the initial build, it's really not a big deal and won't impact temperatures significantly.

Probably very little difference in the short term, but if you are setting up a server for the long term, why not do it to the best of your ability? Attention to detail in all matters of a server build can be the difference between setup that is stable for years and a machine you are constantly chasing down issues.

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Temperatures are one of the easiest things to hunt down due to the number of probes installed in modern platforms and fairly solid universal support in software, so I doubt this would form any kind of niggling long term issue.
I know where you're coming from and I don't even entirely disagree, but it's more from a "perfection" point of view rather than one of actual results based testing. The air bubble thing actually being a problem is one of those builder myths that prevails.
I remember when the standard practice was to use a card to spread heatpaste out (some pastes were included with one and paper instructions showing the process) and spend fortunes on fancy paste to gain 2°c improvement. Systems I have built in the last 5 years (maybe 7 iirc), I have been a bit more relaxed and so far none of them have had any issues.

I probably come across like I'm trying to get your back up, I'm really not, I just don't think the application of heatpaste is quite as important as the computer community makes it out to be. As long as there is enough, and it's of acceptable quality, don't worry about it.

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3 minutes ago, B1scu1T said:

I remember when the standard practice was to use a card to spread heatpaste out (some pastes were included with one and paper instructions showing the process) and spend fortunes on fancy paste to gain 2°c improvement.

OT, but that standard practice of spreading out the paste was always an error.  The ideal heatsink compound is no heatsink compound, as nothing is going to give better thermal conductivity than the heatsink and the chip in direct physical contact with each other.  The compound is only needed because no milling process is perfectly accurate, and the compound is used to fill those miniscule gaps in what appears to be a perfectly flat surface.  Any excess used creating a covering winds up actually being a thermal insulator.  Its the main reason why using a 3rd party paste vs the stock paste included on Intel / AMD heatsinks gives an automatic thermal reduction -> you're using far, far less paste than what the mfg is utilizing (so as to make life easier for the end user).

 

But what the high-end pastes also have is a better lifespan.  Once the paste solidifies (and they all will do that eventually) its basically having zero positive effect (ever clean off a paste a couple of years old and its a solid / powder?)

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2 minutes ago, Squid said:

Once the paste solidifies (and they all will do that eventually) its basically having zero positive effect (ever clean off a paste a couple of years old and its a solid / powder?)

Air bubbles and high spots exacerbate this effect. The thinner and more even the application, the longer it will be effective.

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OT, but that standard practice of spreading out the paste was always an error.  The ideal heatsink compound is no heatsink compound, as nothing is going to give better thermal conductivity than the heatsink and the chip in direct physical contact with each other.  The compound is only needed because no milling process is perfectly accurate, and the compound is used to fill those miniscule gaps in what appears to be a perfectly flat surface.  Any excess used creating a covering winds up actually being a thermal insulator.  Its the main reason why using a 3rd party paste vs the stock paste included on Intel / AMD heatsinks gives an automatic thermal reduction -> you're using far, far less paste than what the mfg is utilizing (so as to make life easier for the end user).
 
But what the high-end pastes also have is a better lifespan.  Once the paste solidifies (and they all will do that eventually) its basically having zero positive effect (ever clean off a paste a couple of years old and its a solid / powder?)

I understand the scientific reason for using it and how much you should use as a best practice.
I've read everything there​ is the read and tried everything there is to try, it's not my first rodeo.
The point is that these are just hypothesis that everyone constantly repeats until someone actually tests and proves it, including the idea that trapped small air pockets will decrease the performance. I don't dispute the hypothesis, it's solid, but the testing doesn't line up with it.
The reality in a conclusion is generally along the lines of... "Don't worry about it so much"





I mean there are countless videos and articles for it.

My advise for anyone: Use a small blob or line, don't be too precious about it and don't worry if you have a bit too much. When mounting, don't worry if you have to reseat it.
Once it's on and running, you should check the temps from time to make sure everything is still working ok, especially if it's a 24/7 box, change the paste every ~3 years as a preventative measure.

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4 hours ago, B1scu1T said:

change the paste every ~3 years as a preventative measure.

Or do it right the first time. (I'll shut up now)

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7 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

Or do it right the first time. (I'll shut up now)

 

Haha, id still change it :P

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After 9 - 11 years of running the same system I usually upgrade to something newer.  Never had any thermal interface material (silicone paste or otherwise) let me down over long periods, because I never remove the heatsinks after first installation.  So I guess what I'm sayin' is, I wouldn't bother with a 3 year repaste regimen because it's not as good a use of my time as, say, trying some trendy new beer ;)

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