Turn the Screws


I have a Thermaltake DuOrb CPU cooler and when I installed it, I tightened the screws until I felt some tension, but I’m not sure that was the right thing to do. I have a Q6600 CPU and the temp was 34-36 C at 2.4GHz (stock). I overclocked my CPU to 2.8GHz and the temp went up to 38-42 C (idle). If I overclock to 3.0GHz the CPU gets too hot—55-65 C idle. Is there a proper way to tighten a CPU cooler for optimal performance?

—Sam Torres

A properly mounted CPU cooler can mean the difference between a cool, fast machine and an overheating, crashing mess. CPU coolers require as much contact with the CPU as possible for maximum heat transference. That’s why you should always use thermal grease (or paste) between the CPU and cooler—it fills in the little bumps and valleys on the surface of the CPU and heatsink to ensure maximum heat transference.

You should follow the instructions in the DuOrb’s installation manual, tightening the screws as much as the manufacturer recommends to ensure a snug fit. We always tighten screws using a crisscrossing pattern, similar to how you tighten the lug nuts on a car’s wheel. Start with one corner, then tighten the opposite corner a bit. Then tighten the other two corners a bit, and then go back to the first corner and repeat the pattern again.

Your high temps—which aren’t actually that high for an overclocked Q6600—could be related to poor contact between the CPU and heatsink (not tight enough or just off kilter), an improper amount of thermal paste (too much or too little), or too much core voltage for your overclock. And remember, not every CPU overclocks perfectly; it’s possible you have a Q6600 that just doesn’t like to clock up without the heat.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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