So you want to learn how to properly install a CPU cooler huh. Well assuming you never in your entire life build or upgraded a computer, here's a some few pointers from yours truly. Now in this quick tutorial I'm going to use a stock AMD CPU cooler as an example, the series of steps is the same and still applies to all CPU coolers. Let us begin, shall we?
Aftermarket CPU coolers consist of a heat sink and fan, there are four mount screws on each side, so it's not required that you need an over abundance of tools. You just have to have the right set of tools. One to be exact, proverbially a flat or Phillips head is needed. If there just so happen to be any brackets that may have came with the cooler, put that off to the side for now, we'll talk about what to do with that later on in this tutorial.
Carefully take the CPU cooler out of the box and place it on top of the table. Here's a brief reminder, you want to have a nice clean work space. Situate all tools or any screws in a organize fashion so that the installation process is made easy. If you have a plastic Dixie cup, place any loose screws into that cup . You need a clean work space and clear mind when upgrading or building a computer.
Once out the box, the CPU cooler is ready to be installed on the processor. Importantly, some CPU coolers may come with pre-applied Thermal paste already attached to the bottom of the heat sink, most don't. In any case, make sure you purchase a tube Thermal paste which you can get from any respective vendors. It's very important that you not remove the thermal paste, leave it as is. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally removed the paste from the heat sink. Another reminder, there should be a thin layered plastic seal over the paste, when you're ready to place the cooler over the processor, remove the plastic seal.
Now let's begin the installation process. Take the CPU cooler and place it directly over the processor, but before you do that, assuming that you purchased your tube of Thermal paste, squeeze a pea size amount directly on the middle of the processor, then carefully place the CPU cooler directly the processor. Thermal paste ensures proper heat transfer. Keep in mind, Intel and AMD have different CPU sockets, the installation process maybe a bit different mainly because AMD CPU sockets may need brackets to hold the cooler in place. The brackets itself goes on the other side of the motherboard, the bottom part of the CPU socket.
Once you place the CPU cooler on the processor, push down until you hear a click, then screw all four mount screws in place. Screw the screws from the opposite sides of each other until it locks in place. The installation process is now complete, just make sure the CPU cooler is locked in place, give it a gentle nudge, this ensures the cooler is secured in place.
Now we're complete, but wait, what did we forget? We have to power up the cooler as it needs a separate power source to get the fan up and running. That cable you see dangling from the CPU cooler is an actual power cable you connect that to a four pin CPU fan header that's on the motherboard, its usually situated right next to your CPU socket or not far from it. Connect the cable to the header, once done you may power up the PC. Make sure you see the fan actually spin. There are all sorts of CPU temperature monitoring applications you can download right off the Internet if you want check and see if your CPU cooler is operable. One app I always use is CPU Core Temp, its fairly easy to use, just download the app from its homepage: WARNING!!!!! be very careful and try not to install any bundled software that maybe attached to this app.
This tutorial is now over...
One quick note, over time dust can accumulate over top your heat sink and fan, which then can cause the processor to overheat, impeding the overall performance of your computer. Just simply blow the dust off your heat sink and fan using a can of dust blower. This will alleviate any dust build up and thwart any issues that might arise. Add this to your monthly PC maintenance task list.