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First, prep the massive Thermalright Ultra-120 by inserting the correct LGA1366 bracket in the base of the heatsink. The arms of this X-shaped bracket can be adjusted to match the backing plate that will go on the underside of the mobo. Now add a large-BB-size gob of thermal paste to the CPU’s center (image A). We prefer Dow Corning’s TC-5600 paste, as it’s been known to give us about a five degree Celsius shift from the stock paste. You can be ultra careful and spread the paste evenly all over the CPU surface using a plastic bag, but we’ve been hearing from PC builders that the lazy-man’s large-BB-size gob in the middle of the proc may actually yield better results with Core i7, where flex in the socket design can produce a gap in the center, which is thus filled by the gob.
Now, flip the mobo tray on its side and place the cooler’s backing plate on the back of the motherboard (image B). With one hand holding the backing plate in place, flip the tray back down so it’s hanging partially off the table, allowing you to continue to hold the backing plate in place. It’s tricky, but you must now place the heatsink with the X-shaped bracket in place (image C). Take one of the spring screws and hand-tightenit, connecting the bracket to the backing plate. Once you have one screw in, you can let go of the backing plate, as the single screw will hold it mostly in place. Now install the other three screws by hand. Once they’re in, use a screwdriver to tighten the screws until each bottoms out (image D).
We sandwiched two fans on our Thermalright. Install each by simply sliding the fingers of the fan bracket along the same axis as the heatsink blades (image E). Make sure both fans are blowing air in the same direction. Now plug in both fans. Note: Many high-end fans use only three-pin connectors for power. These are compatible with the four-pin PWM connectors except that one pin is not used (image F).
Core i7 features a tri-channel memory mode that requires the RAM to be installed in three individual memory channels. For this mobo, it’s the orange slots (image A). Unlike with previous Intel or AMD CPUs, you want to populate the set of slots farthest from the CPU. Fail to do this and the PC may not boot. Before you install the RAM, spread the arms of the memory slots. Now, line up the notch in the RAM with the notch in the slot. Carefully insert the RAM directly into each slot and put slight pressure on the outer ends until it locks into place (image B). If it isn’t locking into place, you may have it in backwards. Recheck the notch so that it matches and slide the RAM in again. Do this for all three pieces of RAM. When you’re done, snap closed the unused arms for the empty slots.