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Old 12-26-2008, 06:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Heat Sink Install Question..

This is probably a weird question, but can you install your heat sink a day or two before you run the PC for the 1st time?

Everytime I do an order for a build I get the motherboard/CPU and ram first, case many days later. To save time, is it OK to get my heat sink installed and ram so when the case comes in I have less to do, or will that mess up the thermal compound? Usuaully use artic silver but sometimes whatever paste is on the heat sink. Does it matter??
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

Some say MMX2 or MX2 whatever is better then Artic Silver 5 as far as thermal paste is concerned. Once you appy the paste and first run the system you shut it down after the first 3-4hrs. of initial warmup. The initial bonding will then start to take place at that time.

Typically once you have everything in then you run the system for those first hours to allow the breakin to start. But you shouldn't have any problem simply running the board, cpu, memory, and of course video card needed for a few hours on a non conductive surface to make sure those are good.

I can't see where the paste would simply dry up once applied and the hsf put on without the system being run. Once you have everything together you will need to go through the breakin period anyways.
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

This is probably a silly question, but I would like to go ahead and set up the board outside of the box and get it up and running before putting it in the case (Which won't arrive for 3 more days) but how can I power the board on without the case for the power button etc? I am guessing I can't. Using this board.

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Old 12-26-2008, 11:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

For simply testing the board you place that on a non conductive surface with the cpu, video card, and memory installed. Look over the board's diagram in the manual that comes with it to see which pins on the small block see the power button's wires go to them.

A paper clip or head on a small flat head screwdriver is all you need for the momentary contact to jump start the board. For shutting off later you would either have to press and hold for so many seconds or simply use the breaker switch on the supply to turn it off.

The thing to note about running the board for any period of time without Windows or another OS on yet is that the cpu will run warmer then usual being in the bios setup to look at the hardware monitor. There's nothing running to keep the cpu from running full steam so keeping a close watch will be needed.
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

take a flat head screwdriver and touch the two pins that are for the power button, completing the circuit and starting up the rig.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

Just remember once you get the board fired up the cpu won't have loads placed on it like booting Windows as well as the idle process. Cpus have a tendency to run warm while sitting there idle for the good 3-4hrs. needed for the initial warm up recommended.

It can also be a little awkward later trying to place the board down in with the hsf already inplace if you went with any large 3rd party cooler. Usually that's one of the last items to go on after the board is secured down and all wiring is plugged in.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

A few questions about this:

1. Can I install the CPU/Ram/Video Card/Hard Disk and use the screwdriver to boot and test all components and install the OS outside of a case?

2. If I can do the above, can I do it on cardboard? My desk is made of wood, if that is better. Just not sure what the motherboard can sit on. (Can link me to another post if this is already covered) I don't want to damage the board in anyway, so any details are appreciated.

3. Just being specific, use the screwdriver to touch both positive and negative pins? No danger of shorting the board doing it this way?

Actually I think those are my only questions. Would be great if this would work so I could test everything before putting the board into the case.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

The pins on the small block there are all low voltage while it still is a good idea to look over the diagram for the board to know which two pins to look for since you may need a pocket magnifing glass in order to pick the correct ones.

If you have spare mounting screws you can fasten those on in the correct holes to use as standoffs as additional protection since the board is grounded through the supply. It won't matter whether or not a drive is plugged in as long you keep it away from the board itself along with anything else made of metal with live power.

If the drive's casing touches the board at all you could short something. This is one reason why many simply test the board out of the case with no drives plugged in to prevent any accidents.

Another thing is having the space to work with if you are planning to install the OS before having everything inside the case. You have to consider any other expansion cards like the sound card if one will be added on as well as a tv tuner card since those are secured down by a single screw or lockdown tab the case will provide.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

So when you mention testing outside of the case, are you just saying to see that the system gets power/fan spins etc? Or do you mean with a video card and intent to see a post on a screen?

Guess it wouldn't hurt just to see if things turn on. I've had several issues in the past with Ram that needed more voltage and the board wouldn't even post until I used lesser Ram to get into the BIOS and up the voltage etc.

Thank you for the help, btw.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heat Sink Install Question..

When someone is seeing problems like even getting to the post screen often a board is pulled out with only the basics being cpu, memory, video card, monitor, and supply to see the board will at least post and to make sure no standoffs were in the wrong place grounding the board out. This is also done with an older build now seeing problems as a way to isolate a bad card, cpu, or memory.

Most of the time this is simply a method for diagnosing problems rather trying to run a new board outside and trying to get eveything installed like OS, drivers, softwares. Here I simply wait until I get everything together before the first run in order to double check all connections to make sure things are plugged in and no wires from the power button, p led, hd led are crossed.

Once a new build posts like it should the OS and other things go on at that time. You may think everything is all set while outside of the case but then wonder why you have problems once the board is in from reversed wires, one plug not in, or something touching and end up scratching your head trying to figure out why it won't run then.
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