How to Install a Heatsink

Installing CPU Heatsink &, Fan Attach fan to heat dissipater with screws, using spacers between. Attach fan/dissipater to chassis. Situate mounting ring according to diagram. Place special screw extenders into mounting ring. Apply thermal paste to the center of the CPU mounting position on the motherboard. More items...

When it comes to building your own computer, installing a heatsink is an important step to ensure that your processor doesn’t overheat. Here’s how to do it:

First, line up the pegs on the heatsink with the four holes on the motherboard. You can orient it any way you want, but it’s best to make everything match. Make sure that your thermal paste is somewhere on the heatsink or on the CPU itself.

It can be a little tricky to attach the heatsink, but don’t worry. Snap each corner in diagonally across from each other. You want to do this as flat as possible. Be careful not to pull the heatsink away once it’s attached.

Push hard on each corner until you hear a clicking sound. Make sure to do the alternate corner down below as well. This should give you two clicks per corner. The motherboard is pretty flexible, so try to only touch the edges as much as possible.

Unwrap the little coil that gives the fan its power. This coil also tells the motherboard how fast the fan is going so it can control it. You’ll notice that the little guy with four pins says “CPU fan.” Line up the grooves so that it can only go in one way.

And that’s it! Now you know how to install a heatsink to keep your processor cool and running smoothly.


Which way do you install a heatsink?
Position the CPU cooler so that the four spring-screws on the heatsink align with the four screw holes of the backplate. Once aligned, carefully place the heatsink onto the CPU. Using a screwdriver, turn each spring-screw a half turn clockwise to ensure the spring-screw makes a connection with the backplate.
Where do you plug in a heatsink?
Locate the power lead for the cooling solution's fan and the CPU fan header on the motherboard. Plug the power connector for the cooling unit into the fan header on the board. It should be keyed, but make sure it is secure.
How do heat sinks attach to the CPU?
Some CPUs come with a thermal solution such as a heat sink and/or fan. The thermal solution commonly comes with a preapplied thermal paste or attached thermal pad. Heat sinks and fans attach to the processor using different methods. The most common methods are screws, thermal compound, and clips.