6-Way Intel Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

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Cooler Clearance Issues

Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

For our testing we will be using the Intel DX58SO motherboard. After installing a couple of the coolers in the round up a pattern started to appear. All the coolers, except the NF-C12P, blocked at least 1 of the four RAM slots on the motherboard from being able to hold tall RAM. Some of you would have a hard time getting a stick of value RAM in, but you’re thinking, “Well I’ll be running triple channel kits, I won’t need the fourth slot.”

Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

Not so fast, even then you would be a snug fit for tall and thick RAM like Corsair Dominator. I know that the heatsinks on Dominator RAM average 3/4 inch taller than ram without heatsinks. So, with the aid of my handy dandy quarter (which is aprox. 3/4 inch in diameter), you can see where the top of the ram would be with the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 1366RT installed.

Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

Looking from the side we can see that the first two banks are blocked. So, no fitting tall ram in there.

Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

Even with the Noctua NH-U12P installed you can see in the above image not only would the heatsinks hit the cooler body, the spring clip for the fan would be in the way as well. Motherboards that have the RAM slots to the side rather than the top of the board should not have as many clearance issues. If your board is like ours for the test system you are going to want to research and do some measuring.

Core i7 CPU Cooler Roundup

Other things that came up were getting to motherboard mounting screws and power connectors. This will be different from board to board for the power connector placement, but the mounting points will be across the board. 

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