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Hardware Technology

The Sound of Silence

This is a tale about hardware and how I ventured to open my desktop PC to install a new cooler fan. On a hot summer day working from home my attention was deflected to the noisy cooler fan of my computer. The blades were spinning wildly, in part due to the high ambient temperatures.

I’ve heard once that building up your own desktop PC is a great satisfaction. After doing a quick search on MercadoLibre, I’ve found out that most of the cooler fans available were compatible with my hardware setup.

CPU and Sockets

Intel and AMD, the biggest CPU manufacturers, plan their releases according to socket types. A socket is a place where the CPU attaches to the motherboard. These are always different between manufacturers and the CPU model generation the user has.

I own a good old AMD FX-8300 (codename Vishera) released in 2011 that is attached to a motherboard ASUS M5A97 EVO R2.0 with an AM3+ socket.

Cooler Master and Thermaltake are one of the most popular brands in the world of cooler fans and thermal isolation products. Most of the items of their product catalog are easily adaptable for the current CPU sockets available in the market.

Installing the cooler fan

After reading a lot of positive reviews I decided to get the Cooler Master Hyper H411R for its perfect price/performance balance.

The box came with a lot of items and a brief user manual rich in graphics. Among the stuff, there were parts for both Intel and AMD sockets. Once the parts were assembled to fit the AM3+ socket, I removed the old cooler fan and cleaned the CPU with alcohol and toilet paper in order to remove the old thermal compound.

AMD FX-8300 codename vishera
Toilet paper and alcohol were enough to remove the old thermal paste.

Once the CPU was shiny again, I had to change the backplane that is mounted to the rear side of the motherboard. This was the hardest part as it had to be done very carefully. I removed the graphics card and disconnected some of the cables to work more comfortably. Once the screws were removed, I tilted the mother and replaced the old backplane for the new one.

After screwing the board back to the case, I added the thermal compound (included in the box) to the top of the CPU with an X shape. I chose the X shape but there are many others like in the video below.

Video showing four different ways on how to apply the thermal paste.

After that, the cooler sink had to be firmly screwed using the pin holes of the backplate. In this procedure I had to use a little bit of extra force, being careful with the slippery surface of the CPU because of the thermal paste added previously. Once all the items were reassembled to the motherboard, I connected the PC to the power source and voila! The blades started to spin with a super bright white led.

The new Cooler Master Hyper H411R spinning quietly.

Conclusion

The PC is super silent now, even at high workloads. The temperature of the CPU is also significantly lower, at around 43ºC. With the older cooler, temperatures could easily surpass the 60ºC.

Core Temp screenshot
Temperature readings from the portable app Core Temp.

To sum up, I agree that doing this by myself was a great satisfaction, specially because I’m not an expert at building PCs. At first, dealing with expensive hardware components sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you want to get into the world of building PCs, I highly recommend you to check out the YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips. This channel is plenty of tutorials and funny videos about the world of PC hardware.

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