CPU cooler upgrade

A couple months ago, the CPU cooler (one of those closed loop liquid cooling systems) started making weird noises intermittently. Being one of the few original parts left in my computer, I figured that meant it was time for a replacement. There’s not much of a selection for LGA1366 sockets left out there, but I managed to find a NZXT Kraken 120 that worked.

Replacing the cooler was also a good opportunity to give the computer a long overdue cleaning, so out came the air compressor and out went the dust bunnies.

Inside my computer after blowing out the dust.  Visible is the power s upply at the bottom, video card, hard drives and the CPU cooler.
Inside my computer after blowing the dust out.

Undoing the four screws releases the retaining ring that clamps the cooler to the CPU, and out it comes. Pretty easy.

The removed CPU cooler and very dusty radiator
The removed CPU cooler and very dusty radiator
The uncovered CPU
The uncovered CPU

After removing the retaining ring, the old thermal paste got cleaned off and fresh thermal paste was applied. The cooling block went on and the radiator was attached.

New cooling block and radiator installed
New cooling block and radiator installed

(Yes, there are two fans on either side of the radiator in a push-pull configuration.)

Unlike the original cooler, the pump for the new one looks to be embedded in the radiator. The CPU cooling block has RGB lighting on it, but my motherboard doesn’t have any headers to plug it in to, so I just zip tied the wire to the hoses to keep them out of the way. Total installation time was about 30 minutes once I figured out which bits I needed to use.

The cooler works pretty well. Under load, the CPU temperatures are about 10°C cooler than they were with the old cooler. I’m quite pleased with the way the new cooler is working.


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