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Build Advice Should I install CPU/cooler inside or outside case?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by giskard, 6 Dec 2021.

  1. giskard

    giskard System builder

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    I've read the build guide for newbies elsewhere in these forums but wondered if it's better to install the mobo into the case first rather than building it outside the case and then potentially struggling to get the mobo with the CPU and massive heatsink/fans into the case and aligning the standoff holes with the mobo's holes.

    The newbie guide suggests doing everything outside the case but the guide was last updated in 2010 when few cases had large rear cutouts under the mobo and removable top panels. My recollection from my first build was that it was hair-raising getting the built mobo into the case, an Antec P193 that had no rear cutout so I had no choice but to install the CPU and cooler outside the case.

    My case is a Phanteks P600S with a large cutout and removeable top panel, I would've though it's be easier to install the mobo in there first, then fit the CPU and cooler whilst in the case?

    Any thoughts and/or experiences?
     
  2. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    It's the Noctua D15 isn't it?
    Answer is, it doesn't matter, as long as you install the Noctua mounting system outside first. The actual cooler mounting is super easy only 2 screws.

    Tip: don't screw the motherboard to the case until the difficult-to-reach cables have been plugged in, this way, you can shift it around slightly to make it easier.
     
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  3. giskard

    giskard System builder

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    That's right it is :)
    Okay, so I'll install the CPU and mounting system first, then the power and other cables, then fit the whole lot into the case, routing the cables before screwing in the mobo, then fit the cooler?
     
  4. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun. Lover of bit-tech

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    I'm one for attaching as much as I can outside of the case. In particular I find applying thermal paste outside the case much easier as I use the spread method.

    It can depend on the case and what's being installed though. With a removable roof I probably wouldn't attach the EPS cable before installation, where as in fixed roof cases this can be very cramped and a pig to get in. Coolers though, whether air or water, I like to get on outside.
     
    Last edited: 6 Dec 2021
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  5. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    I do it outside the first time installing. (trusty older Noctua D14 I've had for over 10 years)
    pretty much never remove the motherboard and always re-install the cooler in the case.
    I've never had any issue doing either method. Hence I personally don't think it matters either way.
     
  6. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun. Lover of bit-tech

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    If i wasn't so anal over my TIM application, I'd save a lot of time and hassle and wouldn't matter. With a big air cooler like D14/15 or dark rock pro, it's an uncomfortable amount of weight to be moving about on the mobo. The AR03 i use for case testing is light enough that it's not bad at all
     
  7. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    I always do as much as I can inside the case and proceed to slash myself on cooler fins trying to plug in the fan.

    Horses/courses.
     
  8. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    Blood sacrificed to the cooling fins makes them perform better. I thought you knew that?!
     
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  9. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Ever since I started using cases that permit access to the rear of the motherboard, I've always installed the motherboard first and everything else afterwards. Before that, I'd always install the cooler beforehand, for obvious reasons.

    My first experience installing a cooler was a particularly bloody (and bloody frustrating) one. Arctic Freezer, I still hate you.
     

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