This is a basic guide to cooling both your CPU and case in general.
Let's start with the CPU. First thing that will be needed is a good to great heatsink/fan combo. This is for air cooling only. Water cooling is another whole subject.
The main thing you want to look for is a copper body with thin fins or at the very least a copper plug/base into good quality aluminum with thin fins or pins. Then you want to get one with a fan that has a good air flow(CFM) to noise ratio. Quiet is nice, but will it cool? Cooling is excellent, but who wants a hairdryer running next to them while on the computer?
There are many excellent HS/F combos available. My personal favorite at the moment is the Kamakaze 2
. It has an adjustable speed fan so that you can decide on your personal level of cooling vs. noise.
The best HS/F on the market is the Swiftech
brand of heatsinks. These heatsinks have the best combination of copper to aluminum going and has the numbers to prove it. Although a bit on the pricey side, it does the job better than anything else. You can use whatever fan you want with these bad boys.
Once you have decided on a HS/F, the next thing to get is Arctic Silver 5
thermal paste. At the moment, this is the undisputed champion of thermal pastes! For maximum cooling, there is nothing better.
Now that you have the HS/F and the AS5, let's put it on the mobo. First, place the mobo on a flat non-metallic surface so that you have plenty of room. Be sure to have read the instructions on the HS/F so that you are familiar with how it is mounted. Clean the bottom of the HS/F with 90% or better isopropyl alcohol to remove any debris. This is also the best thing to use to remove the thermal pad if your HS/F came with one. You will not be needing it. Once the HS/F is cleaned, apply a small amount of AS5 on the bottom of the HS/F in the area where the CPU core will be touching it. With your finger in a clean plastic bag or latex glove, rub the AS5 into the HS/F. This will fill in all of the micro valleys that are present no matter how smooth the surface.
Put the HS/F aside and now let's work on the CPU core. Putting a half a BB sized amount of AS5 on one corner of the CPU core, use a flat edged instrument to smooth it over the rest of the core. I use a plastic flexible ruler and it works great! You want the layer to be about paper thin. Too much will have a reverse effect and will cause higher temps. Once finished with the CPU, go ahead and put it in it's socket.
Now attach the HS/F as described in the manual making sure not to twist it once it makes contact with the CPU core as this will undo your good work on the core. After it is attached, plug in the fan into the appropriate fan header for your mobo and then replace the mobo in the case. Boot the computer to make sure that the fan is working.
On to the case. Case fans come in a variety of sizes and which ones you use will depend on your case. Try to get ball bearing fans if at all possible as they will last longer and oil can be used to increase bearing life and also to reduce noise. 3in1 oil or sewing machine oil is best, though I have heard of people using 10W30. (Good Grief!)
makes a great variable speed case fan that comes in 80, 90 and 120MM. Once you have gotten at least two case fans, you will need to put them in the case so that the fan in the lower front of the case is blowing cool air into
the case and the one in the upper back of the case right below the power supply (depending on your case) is blowing hot air out
of the case. This creates good air flow through the case helping the HS/F do it's job more effectively. More case fans does NOT mean more cooling! You can easily end up with too much turbulence inside the case causing air flow to be ineffective.
By using variable speed fans, you can monitor your case and CPU temps and find the "sweet spot" for your system. Speaking of monitoring, I recommend using Motherboard Monitor 5 (MBM5) to check your case and CPU temps along with monitoring your voltages. This is a great program that works on 90% of all motherboards out there, and it's free! Edit: The Motherboard Monitor web site is permanently down. I suggest that you download the last version from Major Geeks
. You can also download Speedfan, which is a comparable program at Major Geeks
After you have put all this cooling together, you need to watch the temps over the next few days to make sure it is all working properly. Remember that AS5 takes 48 to 72 hours of CPU time to cure, so if your temps don't go down immediately, don't panic. If, after a few days, it still isn't going down, then you need to see if everything is in working order. You may have to remove and reapply the AS5 if it isn't done right the first time. With AMD systems, you are looking for idle temps below 45Â°C and full load temps below 55Â°C. These are scaled high as T-Birds run very hot. Durons run second hottest and XP's run the coolest. Remember, the more you overclock and up the core voltage, the hotter it will run, so keep that in mind when monitoring the temps. For Pentium systems, use the above temps minus about 5Â°C as they run cooler.
Again, this is just a basic guide and there are many choices and variables to consider. Be sure to post any questions or comments you have in the forums and we'll be happy to respond to them.
In the mean time, keep it cool!