Intel Stock Cooler Installation Guide

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This is a guide to install the stock cooler that is boxed with most current (Intel Socket 2011 · Intel Socket 1366 · Intel Socket 1155 · Intel Socket 1156 · Intel Socket 775) Intel desktop processors.

For this demonstration, I'll be installing the stock cooler on my system which contains: an Intel Core i7-2600K and ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3.

The stock cooler comes with thermal paste pre-applied on the base of the heatsink. This means you won't need to buy any thermal paste to install this cooler, however this means you can only install the heatsink ONCE. If you need to reinstall the cooler, you will need to remove the old thermal paste and re-apply new paste.

Thermal Paste Removal Guide

For some good suggestions and performance of a variety of thermal pastes, read 4Ryan6's Thermal Compound Roundup 2011.
As pictured here:

Picture taken from

As you see, the cooler installs via push-pins.

As pictured here.

The Stock Cooler's fan runs from a four pin fan connector as pictured:

Because this is a four pin fan connector, or a CPU_FAN connector. We have the ability of controlling it's fan speed via PWM.

As pictured on the ASUS P8P67 PRO. Image from ASUS.

The 4 pin power plug is also designed to fit a 3 pin motherboard header, most newer motherboard will have a 4 pin CPU header, but some older ones do not.

As said before, the stock cooler uses push-pins. This is a very important to get the cooler installed and running properly. Line up the four push pins to the four motherboard socket holes. To see where these holes are, refer to your motherboard manual.

Take the cooler and align the four push-pins respectively with the four motherboard mounting holes like so:

Each push pin has an arrow on it. This indicates which direction you need to have it for the cooler to be tight.

Now that you have done that, push down on the cooler so each individual push pin is inside their respective holes.

Make sure the cooler is tight! As well, check the back of your motherboard to ensure all four push pins are pushed through their respective mounting holes.

If one push pin is not through, you won't have an evenly balanced cooler installed on your processor. This will result in undiserable temperatures because the cooler base is not entirely touching the processor! This is why it is very crucial to make sure all four push pins are through the motherboard mounting holes.
Once you have installed your cooler, you aren't quite done yet! You still need to plug the cooler fan to your motherboard!

Locate the four pin connector on your motherboard, it will be titled "CPU_FAN." This will vary depending on your board, but most are located in the top right of the processor.

The connection wire is wrapped around the cooler, unwrap the wire and don't leave it laying across the cooler as pictured or it could contact the fan blade.

Now, plug the four pin fan connector in to the CPU_FAN connector.

Common FAQ

Is the stock cooler good?
The stock cooler is perfectly sufficient for running the processor at a 100% load.

Can I overclock on the stock cooler?
Overclocking on the stock cooler is not recommended, however a slight boost such as 100-300mhz will not effect your temperatures by that much.

What are some good replacements for the stock cooler?
This really depends on your budget, however, many people like to upgrade to the Cooler Master Hyper 212+.

PWM? How do I control my fan speed?
PWM, or pulse width modulation allows you to control the rotation speed of the fan. Depending on your motherboard manufacturer, they most likely provide software to do this. However, sometimes this software is not completely reliable, so many people resort to the BIOS. In the motherboard's BIOS, after digging around you should be able to find a section for fan control. Again, this varies from each motherboard.

Is the Intel stock paste good?
The stock paste is perfectly sufficient for a single time install.

Useful Guides

Complete Intel Install Guide(Includes CPU installation, Heatsink installation, and other precautions.)

Reynod's LGA 755 CPU and Heatsink Install Guide

Thermal Paste Removal Guide
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