Hi, Woop. Thanks for your excellent illustrated post on how to reseat the N/B S/B heat pipe system on the A8N32 board. I'll answer a question you had in that post: how do you replace, if need be, the plastic push-pins that originally secure the heat pipe assembly? It was a question I was forced to answer, after ruining one of the pins while I was removing it from the motherboard.
The answer is, save the springs from the pushpins, and use them with a nylon screw, washer, and bolts assembly, instead. Sorry I don't have pictures. At the electronics store I bought (1) 25-pack of each of these items:
4-40 x1" Round slotted Screw - Nylon (use 3/4" length if you can find it)
4-40 Hex Nut - Nylon
#4 .062" thk Flat Washer - Nylon
I assembled this way:
1) Slip a washer on the screw, all the way up to the screw head.
2) Follow it with a hex nut, tightened up under the washer.
3) Slip the spring up the screw, to the underside of the hex nut.
4) Do all six screw/washer/nut/spring assemblies, then:
5) If you had to use 1" screws, cut off cleanly, with sharp snips, the last quarter-inch of the screw length.
I applied the assemblies this way:
1) after your Arctic Silver is applied (note that there is a thermal pad for the longest part of the heat pipe assembly, and just leave that unchanged as the cooling conduit since it covers a half dozen tiny components that might not be of all equal height) carefully set the heat pipe assemply down on the board right over the screw holes assigned to it.
2) put a screw assembly through the top-most hole of the longest finned radiator (nearest the top of the motherboard) and tilt your board toward upright while you hold that heat pipe assembly firmly against the board.
3) press the screw assembly far enough through the motherboard hole assigned to it that you can thread a hex nut onto it from the backside of the mother board. Just put hex nut on a few turns, not very far up the screw. Don't tighten it.
4)Still maintaining a firm pressure with your hand on the heat pipe assembly to keep it in place (so you don't smear thermal grease around needlessly) put a screw assembly into the top-most hole of the center heat sink, and secure it from the back just like you did the first screw assembly. Don't tighten it.
5) Take a breath here and relax: the heat pipe assembly should remain stably affixed right now. Note that the lowest heat sink, the one with no screws attached, is probably suspended above its point of contact rather than resting against it. That's fine, may be even preferable at this point.
6) put a screw assembly into one of the holes of the lowest heat sink, and secure it just like the two assemblies you did earlier. Don't tighten it.
7) put in the remaining three screw assemblies, not tightened.
8) now, carefully tighten the screw assemblies for each of the three heatsinks, one heatsink at a time. Tighten them evenly for each heatsink, and not too much: you can overtighten and flex the motherboard, at least if you overtighten the uppermost, longest heatsink. I tighten the screws so that there was still about half the compression range left in the springs; I tightened so that on the backside of the motherboard the nylon screw protruded about 1/16" beyond the hex nut.
9) Note the uppermost heatsink, the long one that fits over several components: this heatsink I tightened a little more than the others, just a touch, thinking in terms of the thermal pad on it having as firm a connection as possible without stressing the motherboard, to the components beneath it, so that all components regardless of their slight differences in elevation whould have a nice flat contact with the thermal pad.
1) I believe that replacing the original push-pins is actually an improvement rather than a remedy. I was able to tighten down to my specs, rather than be limited to the original push-pins one tension-setting. I tightened a little more, I believe, and to good effect, particularly on that uppermost, longest, heatsink. Also, I am now in a position to adjust the tensioning at any time, by way of the screws, or to easily remove and reseat the heat pipe assembly at my pleasure.
2) Applying this screw-assembly tactic to the aluminum heatsink at the upper edge of the board:
I was so satisfied with the success of the screw assemblies on the heatpipe system that I applied a modified version of it to this heatsink. If you do what I did to this heatsink, you will also get an easy-to-see view of how overtightening lessens the effectiveness of the assembly:
A) using the same screws/washers/hex nuts (that's why you get a 25-pack of each) I slid a washer up the screw, followed by a hex nut. I discarded the spring, for this assembly. I left the thermal pad in place, since it covers several components that might be of slightly varying elevations.
B) Slide the screw/washer/hex nut assembly through the heatsink hole and the motherboard hole and slide a washer on fom the back-sdie of the motherboard, folled by a hex nut. Don't tighten.
C) Same process with the other hole and assembly.
D) Tighten evenly and watch from the edge of the motherboard. If you tighten too much the board will begin to flex under the heat sink, and actually move away from the heatsink at the heatsink's center: the components there will no longer be in contact with the thermal pad. So, tighten enough to get a firm even contact without flexing the board.
E) clip-off the excess screw body that protrudes beyond the hex nut on the backside of the motherboard.
Well, I hope this helps you all, and gives you yet one more fun thing you can do to modify your motherboard and improve its cooling. I apologize for the lack of pictures, but the process is pretty simple, and Woop's pictures provide on his post are quite helpful. Thanks again, Woop. Happy upgrading, everyone.