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  How NOT to install computer hardware 
  Oct 20, 2003, 12:00pm EDT 

Mounting the processor

By: Sander Sassen

CPUs come in various packages, ranging from the old and almost forgotten Socket-3 used for 486 computers, up to the very latest 940 pin socket for AMD’s Athlon 64 FX. Current CPUs have unfortunately got proper precautions built in to counter the effects of a mis-alignment, which we can only circumvent with brute force, by simply forcing the CPU into the socket. Thereby bending pins at an angle that'll make them snap right off when we try to realign them later on, which is a tried and tested method of turning your $500 processor into a keychain. But there’re other ways of damaging a CPU without actually mis-aligning it in its motherboard socket.

Exposed processor core

Fig 8. The CPU moments before we trigger the power switch, this is the last time we see it's core in one piece.

The most popular is the operation of a CPU without a CPU cooler; be careful to have a stopwatch handy, ‘cause we’re talking seconds here. Before we actually remove the CPU cooler we configure the BIOS to the absolute maximum ratings in both MHz and core-voltage. Upon removal of the CPU cooler we turn on the computer system and start the stopwatch, then we observe how far the computer makes it into the Windows bootup process. Anything beyond the ‘Windows XP startup logo’, usually a few seconds in, is already a tad too far, you’re simply not trying hard enough.

Misaligned CPU cooler

Fig 9. A misaligned CPU cooler about to be secured in place by a firm and resolute push on the right hand clip.

One other way of destroying CPUs is misaligning the CPU cooler, this works best with AMD processors as the CPU core is not protected by a metal heatspreader and very fragile. Normally a CPU cooler is placed onto the processor by carefully taking note of the correct orientation, aligning the clips and then gently pushing them down to secure a snug fit. Obviously we can damage or utterly destroy the fragile CPU core by placing the CPU cooler on the wrong way and then press down hard to still make the clips meet with the socket lugs. This will either result in the CPU core being chipped or cracked, which will effectively render it unusable or the socket lugs being snapped off which means we’ll have to replace the motherboard. Either way we’ll have inflicted serious damage to our computer, requiring an early replacement of the CPU, motherboard or both.

1. Introduction
2. Opening the case
3. Mounting peripherals
4. Mounting add-on cards
5. Connecting cables
6. Configuring the BIOS
7. Configuring the motherboard
8. Mounting the processor
9. Conclusion

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