The fuzz around low profile RAM heatspreaders

Thermalright Silver Arrow in side a CM 690 II

Thermalright Silver Arrow in side a CM 690 II

PC builders with limited experience around the modern air cooling beasts that high-end CPUs require in order to be overclocked are troubled with me insisting on low profile memory dimms.

In this short photo-guide, I will try to illustrate the issue.

 

I keep repeating that large heatspreaders in reality do little to assist heat dissipation and increase overclocking potential for our RAM sticks. Their main reason for existing is making our rig look better with matching colors of the anodized parts, and of course draw our attention over the competitors.
After all, bigger has to be better, right?

And this is fine.

Heatspreaders are not a must have accessory, but of course it doesn’t hurt having them. The issue many builders have been running to though, is trying to combine those tall finned RAM sticks along with popular, massive air coolers, like the Noctua NH-D14, The Phantek PH-TC14PE and the Thermalright Silver Arrow use SE used in the photos below – among others.

Weighing around 900-950gr for the heatsinks alone and in excess of 1100gr in combination with two fans, those coolers are overwhelmingly massive for someone who is not used to them.

Many use this weight to advocate against them, as they believe they can stress the motherboard too much and even hurt the socket or the CPU…I would never say that their assembly is fool-proof (I know, we can be amazed), but with the reinforcements behind the CPU mounts of most motherboards worth such high-end cooling (many models providing metal backing to screw on, on both intel and AMD models) this should not be the issue. The CPU lids are also insuring that it is nearly impossible to hurt the CPU by cracking its die, so you have to try really hard to make things go wrong (or a combination of not trying at all mentally, and too much physically).
Those mounts are very well engineered.

This doesn’t mean mounting those beasts is easy. In the case of my Silver Arrow (SA from now on) mounting on my P9X79 Pro required a long Philips screwdriver (not included ofc) as the provided wrench was a pain to use to tighten the two fine threaded machine screws 1/5 of a turn each time, is it would be obstructed by the various heatsinks for the VRMs and whatnot around the CPU socket, in conjunction with the coolers heatpipes…

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Yes, reaching those mounting screws can sure be tough!

As you can see, the SA barely clears the dimm-slots on the P9X79 board. The real issue is not with the heatsink itself, but with the massive fans that need to be added for it to actually operate to its full potential.

More pictures and more options

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