[SOLVED] Installing VRM heatsinks effectively on an Asus M5A78L-M mobo ?

Mar 6, 2022
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Hi,

I have an old AM3+ ASUS M5A78L-M PLUS/USB3 Motherboard which has been causing my problems since I bought it about 5 years ago - I get lag spikes and CPU temp drops every 10-15s when playing high-end games despite my CPU / GPU etc. being able to handle them. Recently I have figured out that the problem is almost definitely to do with the VRM throttling - the motherboard (for some reason) has no VRM heatsinks at all despite being advertised as a gaming mobo.

Could someone walk me through the process of installing custom heatsinks and whether it's likely to work on this motherboard - is there anything else that might help wrt fan setup / airflow in general / etc.? Or am I doomed and should I just wait until I can upgrade my motherboard...
 
is there anything else that might help wrt fan setup / airflow in general
airflow can always help with more cool air intake and adequate hot air exhaust.

it's possible, if you have a nice enough case to accommodate, that having a solid front wall of strong airflow fans running at higher RPMs bringing in cool air from the front could lower VRM & PCH temperatures significantly.
also if you have any side vents facing the motherboard adding them here will also help.

but you would also need adequate exhaust so the design of the case you're using is the biggest factor here.
Could someone walk me through the process of installing custom heatsinks
finding heatsinks that fit correctly and actually securing them in place is a big task.
unless you've done circuitry work, soldering, etc and understand this process thoroughly i wouldn't attempt it.
should I just wait until I can upgrade
you're past due for an upgrade anyway.
these old AM3+ with DDR3 RAM and any compatible CPU are way out of date for gaming purposes.
 
is there anything else that might help wrt fan setup / airflow in general
airflow can always help with more cool air intake and adequate hot air exhaust.

it's possible, if you have a nice enough case to accommodate, that having a solid front wall of strong airflow fans running at higher RPMs bringing in cool air from the front could lower VRM & PCH temperatures significantly.
also if you have any side vents facing the motherboard adding them here will also help.

but you would also need adequate exhaust so the design of the case you're using is the biggest factor here.
Could someone walk me through the process of installing custom heatsinks
finding heatsinks that fit correctly and actually securing them in place is a big task.
unless you've done circuitry work, soldering, etc and understand this process thoroughly i wouldn't attempt it.
should I just wait until I can upgrade
you're past due for an upgrade anyway.
these old AM3+ with DDR3 RAM and any compatible CPU are way out of date for gaming purposes.
 

geofelt

Titan
Reactions: drea.drechsler

DSzymborski

Titan
Moderator
Those stick-on heatsinks may help the problem somewhat and they're pretty cheap, so it's worthy trying. However, I wouldn't expect them to be a panacea. Those entry-level AM3+ motherboards tended to be pretty terrible, especially when dealing with the 125W CPUs (you didn't specify). It's not just lack of heatsinks, but the overall anemic VRM configuration, and there's not much you can do about that.
 
Reactions: drea.drechsler
These copper Enzotech sinks are a bit better...but still not the same as a proper clamp on heavily finned block.

Amazon.com: Enzotech MOS-C10 Forged Copper MOSFET Heatsinks : Electronics

A clever guy might be able to cut up a large heatsink, drill a couple holes in it and mount it to whatever through-holes may have been provided by the mfr in the motherboard.

But that's all a lot of effort. Even buying the stick on heatsinks will probably be more than the board is worth. Hopefully this is just a science experiment being done for the fun of it.
 

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