A Beginner’s Guide On How To Install A CPU Cooling

A CPU is simply one piece of the puzzle in building a computer. It’s one of the simplest parts of creating a new PC. It is time to add a cooler to keep the CPU from overheating. Even if you’re running a top-of-the-line CPU, it’s essential to have a cooler installed. If you don’t or don’t install it correctly, your machine will shut down before you ever get to the operating system. This is a severe problem. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through installing a CPU cooler.

Before going any further, it’s important to note that there are two kinds of CPU coolers: air coolers, also known as fan coolers, and liquid coolers. Even though setting up your PC with liquid cooling is more straightforward, we’ll walk you through the process of doing so in this post.


While many CPU coolers now have the pre-installed thermal paste, it’s always better to have your jar of the stuff on hand. If your CPU cooler already has a layer of thermal paste placed, do not add a second coating to it.

You’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver to complete this task. While many air coolers may be fitted with no tools, liquid coolers, opening the PC case, and other such tasks need the use of specialised equipment.

Installing An Air Cooler For Your CPU

You’re looking at a heatsink and some fans, depending on the size of the cooler; when it comes to CPU air coolers, Noctua NH-D15 fan coolers like this one have a massive heatsink and two fans to circulate the air through it. It doesn’t matter how big or small your cooler is or how many fans it has.

Make sure you have the proper bracket for mounting your cooler first. Depending on the processor socket, this may be different. LGA 1700 is the socket used by Intel’s latest Alder Lake CPUs, whereas AM4 is used by AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processors. The mounts for both Intel and AMD processors are often included in CPU cooling kits from almost every manufacturer. Alternatively, when ordering the more incredible kit, you may choose the bracket you like. In the case of stock coolers, this step is not required since they are intended to function with the supplied CPU.

The first step is to attach the motherboard backplate. This device supports the cooler mounted on the motherboard’s rear. The standoffs on the front may be used to secure the backplate while you hold the backplate in place.

Checking for thermal paste is a good idea at this point. Thermal paste is not necessary if your CPU cooler is already covered.

Once this is complete, place your CPU cooler on top of the CPU and align it. Ensure that your cooler’s connection is perfectly aligned with the holes on the board or the standoffs that we added previously. You may need to remove the fans from the heatsink to align and install the cooler correctly.

It’s time to attach the CPU cooler to the motherboard using connections. We’ll use an X pattern to secure the cooler in this case. For the screws, you’ll make your way through them diagonally, meaning you’ll go for the screw that is diagonally opposite to the first. Make sure you’re applying an equal amount of pressure on the processor. It also helps distribute the thermal paste on the CPU IHS.

To complete an air cooler, you must first attach the fan blades to the heatsink. This only applies if the heatsink was installed without the fans previously removed. Check the cooler’s instruction booklet to determine precisely how the fans connect to the heatsink. Each cooler has a unique process for this stage.

Installing A Liquid-Cooled CPU

A CPU liquid cooler installation is a bit of a hassle due to the different processes required. Installing an AIO liquid cooler will be the focus of this instruction. For those who don’t know, AIO liquid coolers are closed-loop liquid coolers with a CPU water block, coolant pipelines, a radiator, and two fans. An open-loop or a bespoke loop may be installed as an alternative. Unless you’re an advanced user, you won’t need to worry about it.

This procedure is identical to the one we took with air coolers. Install the water block after locating the right bracket for the cooler, depending on the CPU socket.

At this point, the radiator may be mounted to the PC case. First, you may need to install the radiator fan. It’s up to you whether you want to attach the fans directly to the radiator or the casing. How much room you have to work within your PC’s chassis will determine how much space you can work with. The goal is to remove heat from the radiator by forcing fresh air through it.

Because we’ll be installing the fans separately, we’ll just be mounting the radiator on the chassis. Your PC case must be ready for the cooler and have adequate room for the unit to be installed. We’ll be using a 360mm AIO with a 120mm radiator for this article, but the technique is the same for other sizes of AIOs.

Using the long screws that come with the cooler, you may attach the radiator and the fans to the casing. There must be no interference with other components when moving the coolant, notably the case fans.

Everything Has To Be Plugged In.

Once everything is connected, check that the cooler and the fans are receiving electricity. Water blocks, air coolers, and radiator fans all need electricity. It is simpler to power a primary air cooler than a liquid cooler. Using a controller to simplify your connections may be necessary, depending on the number of fans. We suggest checking your CPU cooler and motherboard handbook for the correct headers as a general rule of thumb. If you have a separate cooler and motherboard, we can’t go into great detail about how this works. When it comes to connecting to the correct power source, the handbook is your best friend.


Finally, you’ve completed the installation of your CPU cooler. Your choice of a CPU cooler is vitally crucial. Selecting a suitable CPU cooler with many to choose from may be difficult. Under standard settings, the stock coolers that come with the CPU are more than enough to keep the CPUs cool.

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