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Anyone having experience with adding a couple of washers to the NH-D14 for improved pressure? And how risky could it be?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I lapped my cpu and this NH-D14 cooler earlier (because I wanted to try it out) and I think I am fairly happy with the lapping result, but although the cooler was lapped flat I know that the flat surface is no longer perfectly parallell to the cooler itself, so I wonder if maybe a couple of washers could give me some options for being more precise with adding pressure.

I imagine that real washers (round perforated metal) would be preferable, but I guess I could try something else if I were in a hurry.

Having said this, I imagine that there might perhaps be a concern of applying too much pressure if fiddling with the mounting, perhaps risking damaging the cpu somehow.

I wonder if anyone has tried adding a couple of washers to their cooler for improving pressure and if so what they think of it all.

Btw, I searched for "washer" on this forum section but found no results, so I made this thread.

Edit: I think the only place to put the washers, would be between the head and the spring, or just below the spring. But this way, it would be impossible to add a washer with a simple hole in it, so some kind of "open" washer would do.

Hm, I guess it would be possible to just take off that metal thingy that keeps the screw and the spring from falling off the cooler, for adding a simple flat washer, but I am not sure if that metal thingy could easily be fitted back on.

Edit2: I just found a couple of washers for some ikea furniture, will try it out later. They have a thickness of exactly 1mm by the looks of it.

Edit3: From what I recall after inspecting the lapped cpu and cooler surface, I am guessing now that I lapped away a total of 0.5 mm, leaving 0.5 mm of uhm pressure potential with my 1mm washer. I imagine that the two oval bracket parts used for fastening it all to the mainboard, that those will perhaps make sure that too much pressure will deform the plastic tubes and not necessarily denting the motherboard or damaging the cpu, because of the oval shape probably leading the force off the axis with regard to the screws with the plastic cylinders on either side. I think this will work nicely, but then again, I am no scientist.
Edited by Decoman - 5/6/12 at 7:51am
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, heh I added the two Ikea washers (perfect fit) but I can't say I see an improvement beyond one core being 1 deg cooler under prime, compared to the same run earlier today. For all I know it could be even one degree hotter if the weather is more chilly this late today.

I did apply the paste differently, smearing the noctua paste and very carefully scraping most off with a plastic card. The last time I put down a single short stripe. *shrugs*

It is a little difficult in understanding what exactly goes on with the screws as they get tightened, but if assuming that I should be able to add more pressure and assuming that would automatically lower temps, I am thinking two possibilities: either the two screws just feels as if they are tightened but are perhaps slowed down by the combination of the washer and the spring that collapses, or that the two screws went down as far as they could, leaving the washer for some added pressure, though not something that made any difference to my 4GHz prime run.
Edited by Decoman - 5/6/12 at 9:51am
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
aytsph.jpg

This is a photo showing the cooler removed BEFORE my fifth and last lapping of the cpu and the cooler. Before the last attempt, I never bothered going for the mirror like smoothness.

It seems as if perhaps the two parts are no making good enough contact still.

Any opinions?

I laid down two sheets of glass on top of each other the last time, and I can't imaigne I can get it any flatter other than MAYBE consider not placing the glass down on my kitchen bench.

Perhaps I should take off the cooler AGAIN just to inspect how the paste has flowed? I find it difficult in evaluating the looks of the paste when the cooler has been removed, because I am not sure what the unevenness indicates.

Below is a complementary photo of the cooler:
qohx91.jpg

The cooler was removed after first wiggling the cooler back and forth in a circular like motion (just a little).

Q: Could it be that the seating brackets for the noctua nh-d14 cooler just does not allow improved pressure? Could that explain why the paste look the way it does?

My last seating has one 1mm washer on each screw, between the head and the spring. It is so hard to see and I can't be bothered to removed the entire motherboard to look closer. tongue.gif

As I screwed on the cooler the last time, with both screws in place though not fully tightened, I learned that you can wiggle the cooler so that it align more properly with the processor, so I did that.

I smudged the remaining paste on the cooler with my fingertip seen on the right side on the photo, as I mistankely thought that the flatness of it indicated it had dried up or something biggrin.gif.

Now that I think of it, I might have had difficulties scewing on the screws for the reseating shown with the photos. I noticed that sometimes, I misaligned and the screw surprisingly miss the bolt beneath. I learned to aim better on the very last reseating. So I guess that the stripe of paste that I put down, did not really ensure that the paste was squeezed down evenly, because of the misalignment of the screws, probably making me apply uneven pressure dring the realignment for the screws (I guess the cooler might have been elevated up abit in the process).
Edited by Decoman - 5/12/12 at 6:34am
post #4 of 12
Being under springs, the washers would not change the pressure. Only compressing the springs more or getting stiffer springs would increase the pressure. The idea with springs is to apply pressure so the heatsink sits flat on the processor and too much force is not applied.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
What you are saying does not make any good sense in this case, which might indicate that you are not familiar with the cooler in question. It is obvious that placing a washer above or below the spring has the same effect, because it will make the spring coil together the same way. I did not intend to be rude, but it is all to obvious that what you wrote is not true.

As for the placement of washers, I think I noticed today some alternate location to place them. There are additional four screws that holds the cooler together with some intermediary brackets on each side, but the screws are really short and perhaps only one thin washer could possibly fit without changing the screws for longer ones. It is also generally cramped there so some filing of the washers would probably be necessary to make them fit in such a case.
Edited by Decoman - 5/12/12 at 2:23pm
post #6 of 12
Above a minimum pressure, increased pressure in and of itself does NOT promote better heat transfer.

Perfectly flat, smooth surfaces with full contact of the heat spreader is the best you can get. The photos show too much TIM and less than 100% contact with the heat spreader. You want ~.003" of TIM max so that when the HSF is installed the entire surface of the HSF touches the heat spreader other than a low spot or scratch in the surfaces which is the only place the TIM should not be so thin that you can see through it. IME between what you have and the best practical situation you might be talking a couple degrees C.
post #7 of 12
Mounting pressure does improve thermal performance with the vast majority of TIMs as bond-line thickness is directly related to how much pressure you can apply and you have more metal on metal contact with higher pressures.

Anyway, there is another potential place for washers: at the four screw holes between the retention mechanism that the spring loaded screws are attached to and the heatsink base. That said, unless you've removed a lot of material during your lapping, you probably don't need more than the 1mm washers you already have to achieve good pressure.

Also, what TIM are you using?
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I will take it off again tomorrow to have a look at the amount of thermal paste and so that I don't annoy the neighbours with noise this late at night. smile.gif I'll make sure to take another set of photos before applying the TIM again. I think I will try a droplet this time, though I guess a stripe is recommended for these i7 cpu's. I did put down a short stripe, but I guess it might have been too much.

Hrm, if I had to relap it *sigh* I guess I could try laying down the glass on the stone slab in the window in my kitchen, I imagine that solid, barely painted stone slab should be more flat than the kitchen bench.
Edited by Decoman - 5/12/12 at 3:22pm
post #9 of 12

Don't imagine anything with a stone slab. Not even glass. Use a razor blade and a steel ruler. You want flat? Make it exactly so.

 

Make sure you clean that surface really well. Oh. You knew that?

 

Best way to spread the TIM is with a center glop, twist the heatsink a few degrees, and let it spread. You seem to be doing that.

 

I found that when I added washers to a Megahalems it got me no extra cooling. Your 1mm washers add back any material you ground away, so you have already done all you can in that regard.

 

So it all comes back to making your cpu surface really flat. Your heatsink surface looks fine.

 

Good pictures, BTW.

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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I did not like the idea of walking too far to the pharmacy to ask for a razor blade (heh, its a pharmacy right next to an emergency ward unit, open 24 hours a day, far off my place) so I thought I would check out the razor blades in the one-time-use-plastic-razor. Unfortunately those two blades were not that good, or, rather they did not appear as straight as I would have wished.

2zduf0l.jpg

So I walked to the first pharmacy and they had zero razor blades. Oh hey I live in a capital city, but no razor blade to be had. I walked to this other sunday-open pharmacy but they also had zero razor blades for sale. Then someone gave me a tip of asking at a barber shop, and luckily I found one open and I finally got my razor blade. This razor blade actually looked more straight when I watched how much light that was passing under the edge.

Having taken off the cooler earlier today, it was clear that there had probably been too much paste again.
2daxhqb.jpg

2vnqp90.jpg

pnfph.jpg

357rsih.jpg

The images above were probably some photos taken towards the end, because I was quite happy when I finished and I believe they ended up a little flatter with the razor test.

The image below show the paste I put on at the end. Heh, it was my second attempt at applying paste because I did not manage to successfully attach the two screws properly the first time, so the cooler jumped back up a bit and got detached.

14ag7t2.jpg

I have yet to test with prime95 today (I have to get something to eat now), but the minimal temps are at the moment equal for all but one core, with the second core being about four degrees higher according to Real Temp. So it all seems like an improvement.
Edited by Decoman - 5/13/12 at 10:45am
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