Central processing units on computers run extremely hot, and require a dedicated heat sink and fan to keep them cool and protect from heat damage. One way to increase the life span of computer hardware is to swap the CPU fan provided by the computer manufacturer with an upgrade that provides additional cooling. Remove the manufacturer-supplied heat sink and fan on an Intel motherboard, and replace it with a more powerful fan if you upgrade the processor or work with the computer in a hot environment.
Power down the computer and use a screwdriver to remove any screws holding the service panel of the computer in place. Unlatch and remove the service panel. Grasp the connector at the end of the CPU fan power cable, and pull directly up to unplug the cable from the motherboard.
Grasp each of the four heat sink fastener caps one at a time and turn counterclockwise 90 degrees. Pull up on each of the four heat sink fastener caps to disconnect the caps from the connector on the motherboard. Grasp the heat sink and twist slightly to the left and then to the right to loosen the heat sink from the CPU, then pull up to remove the heat sink and fan from the CPU.
Place two drops of thermal paste on top of the CPU. Put on latex gloves, then spread around the thermal paste so that it covers the metal surface of the CPU, leaving a small space between the thermal paste and the edges of the CPU.
Place the new heat sink and fan on top of the CPU positions so that the CPU fan cable is closest to the fan cable connector on the motherboard. Position each of the four heat sink fasteners so that they align with the fastener connector holes on the motherboard. Confirm that the fastener slots are perpendicular to the heat sink.
Press down on the top of each fastener to lock the fastener in place. Confirm that each fastener rests flush with the motherboard, and tug slightly on each fastener to verify that they are secure. Plug the fan cable into the fan cable connector on the motherboard.
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