Longtime reader and fellow Cajun Clickers Computer Club member DJ wrote to ask:
Terry, I’m looking at some Core i5 coolers. One that I’m considering the Thermaltake Silent cooler that you put into your last 3 builds because it’s small and light.
Quite a few people complained about the sturdiness of its attachment to the motherboard via the plastic push pins, and some broke the pins during installation.
Obviously you haven’t had that problem as you’ve used it in 3 computers. I’d like to have your opinion on what they are talking about. Was it easy to attach and does it feel sturdy?
I don’t move my computer around a lot, but surely don’t want to feel uneasy about the cooler attachment since they are so monstrous now. : )
I’m not sure that I’d call the Thermaltake Silent 1156 CPU Cooler
small or light — it was quite impressive when I opened the box. But, it works well and I’m happy with it.
When you’re assembling the cooler to the CPU, pay attention. The pins have 2 ends. At the end that goes into the motherboard holes (for the attachment), think of an arrow point 3-d, split in half, with a push-splitter between the two halves.
When you push the pushpin, pushes through the motherboard AND it spreads the two pieces with the arrowhead lips so they grip the bottom of the motherboard.
If you don’t get it through the hole, that pin won’t hold, obviously.
BUT, this is where the complainers have their issues -— the “push” end of the pin is basically triangularly shaped. It has an arrow embossed on it to show you how to TWIST the push end to UNLOCK the pushpin.
If you try to pull the pin out without twisting to unlock, you could break the pin.
If you push the pin when it’s not lined up right, you can hang one “arrowhead” on the top of the motherboard — continuing to push bends the arrowhead. I did this a couple times, but it will unbend, too. Just unlock the other pins to remove the cooler, unlock that pin, and squeeze the arrowhead back together.
I did that a couple times. No biggy, but scary at the time. Remember that this whole thing is around $25, though, so it’s not a big loss if you nuked it.
The pins are the same as used in the Intel stock coolers. My 3 stock coolers are sitting on my office desk as paperweights.
Is the cooler securely locked into place? Yes, as far as I can tell. I haven’t had any issues when I moved the computers.
DJ wrote back with some followup questions about the push pins:
Several smaller coolers are using the plastic push pins, that’s why I’m confused about why I see more reviewers on this particular model (Thermaltake Silent) complaining about this system.
I did see where one manufacturer wrote and said something to the effect of there being only one manufacturer of the push pin design and they’re all using the same thing.
Another question. Do you feel that these units that stand up with fans blowing sideways are more effective than the traditional stock fan that sits flat on top?
Regarding the push pins, the Intel stock CPU coolers that came with my retail Core i5 CPU’s also use the same push pins. Why? Don’t know, but probably someone (Intel?) patented them.
The Thermaltake Silent 1156 CPU Cooler works fine for me. Better? No way to know. I have not experimented, nor am I overclocking. They’re pretty quiet, though, with the 90mm fan.
DJ wrote back to say:
Thanks a bunch, Terry. That answered my questions. Yes, I know that the cooler is not small, but this particular one is smaller and lighter than many of the upright coolers out there. I’m probably going to be shocked for a while when I look in my case and see that thing standing up in there. I’ve never had one that stands up before. I’m running the stock Intel fan on my P4 3.0 GHz and it’s decent as long as I keep it super clean, but all reviews show that the stock heatsink on the i5 is terrible. I won’t be overclocking either, but I do some very graphic intensive projects using PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro a lot, and I deal with very large graphics in these programs. I do hear my cooler whining at those times.
One more question if I may. I’ve seen your build components and I know that your RAM sticks are regular profile sticks that don’t have tall heat spreaders above the sticks. Had you gotten RAM with tall spreaders, would you have been able to get a stick into Slot 1 with the Thermaltake Silent cooler installed?
I haven’t forgotten about ordering through your link to Newegg. I see it at the bottom of site. : )
Well, they’re not really tall spreaders, but memory I used does have heat spreaders that extend above the memory, and are not just the standard DIMM size.
No, I didn’t have any problem putting in memory. Of course, putting in memory was easier before I put the motherboard in the case – yeah, I actually read the manual that said put the memory in and the CPU and cooler on before installing the motherboard.