Lets Build – CPU Cooler And Thermal Paste

I was rather fearful of putting the thermal paste onto the CPU – something I had not done before, along with seating a CPU too. Before, I have installed an after market cooler – but it had a square of thermal paste already applied.

CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo

Whats in the box?

  • Hyper 212 Evo Cooler
  • CoolerMaster thermal paste – important!
  • Backplate (to hold cooler to motherboard better)
  • X clamp – to hold cooler down onto the board
  • 4 nuts and bolts to bolt the X clamp and backplate to the board
  • An adapter for the bolts for a normal cross headed screwdriver
  • Instructions – very useful!
  • Brackets and rubber vibration-dampeners for adding another 120mm fan to the other side

The instructions are good, and guide you through the installation process well. First you have to attach that backplate to the back of the board, whilst holding the screws in from the other side, holding the backplate in position, and balancing the £120 board upright on its end. Could really do with 2 pairs of hands for this – so get help. I managed to do it on my own, just. So you bolt on the backplate (tightening the screws “diagonally at the same time”) and then later the X clamp (not sure of its proper name) will screw into the other side of these nuts. [Around this point the instructions get you to remove the fan - you will see why later!]. With the backplate in place, I had to look at putting the thermal paste on – I had read up on many websites to try and find the best way to do it, and had settled on one straight vertical line (where the arrow on the corner of the processor is at the bottom left). When putting on thermal paste, you really do not want air bubbles, so letting the cooler spread the paste when it sits on it, should be a good way as the paste oozes into all the spaces. Why vertical? Well the guide I had showed many different ways for different processors – and it is to do with the way in which the cores are placed inside the CPU. So I drew one straight line in thermal paste (I feel as though I used a little too much) and took a photo straight after.

After this, I then pulled off the protective plastic on the bottom of the cooler,  and placed the cooler ontop of the CPU and paste. I then wriggled on what I call the “X clamp”, making sure to get it on the right way – the instructions were a little confusing at this point, you have to notice how it’s legs are angled. After getting the middle pin aligned with the centre hole, I proceeded to screw in “diagonally at the same time” each of the 4 corner screws. It is not an easy feat, you have to push down on each screw to get it to bite into the spacers that I screwed on earlier. These were tightened as much as they could be, and it was a scary experience as the screws crunched down into the supports, pulling the cooler down onto the precious processor. I did not see any excess thermal paste, but if I built again, I think I would (try and) use less.

It would not have been possible to tighten these screws with the fan on, so this is why they told you to take it off first. The fan is very easy to take off and put back on – just plastic clips on each side hold it in place. There was an abundance of cable to power the CPU fan, and most of mine is just stored beneath the fan, as the CPU_FAN header is located close by.