How to Modify the Scythe Infinity Mounting System for Optimum Mounting Pressure
Drop your fully loaded CPU temperature by 3-6C!
The Scythe Infinity is a great air cooler but the mounting system leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully it lends itself to easy modification (nothing permanent) that allows you to set a mounting pressure that will yield optimum heat transfer.
In this guide I will also introduce (and explain) the correct way to use liquid themal interface material (TIM) for best results. Continue on for a step-by-step illustrated guide on the right way to prep your system for this change, complete modifications, and correctly assembly of your equipment!
Disclaimer: As always, risk assumed when working with your system is your own. Neither I nor Xtremesystems accepts any responsibility from damage, either direct or indirect, to yourself, your system or any of your other property that may results from your use of this guide. Only you know your experience level. Safety above all else.
a) Scythe Infinity heatsink/fan unit (HSF)
b) 4 x 1 1/2" 6-32 threaded brass screws
c) 4 x 6-32 threaded brass knurled knobs
d) 4 x small springs (optional albient recommended)
e) 8 x 1/4" galvanized flat washers (up to 28 washers may be needed)
f) 4 x insulating washers
a) 90% neat or greater isopropyl alcohol
b) ArctiClean(TM) 2 Thermal Surface Purifier (optional)
c) liquid metal TIM (optional, although some type of TIM is required)
d) q-tips (A.K.A. cotton swabs)
e) flat head screw driver
f) small flat head screw driver (optional)
g) 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper (optional)
I highly recommend you lap your CPU until you see pure bare copper on the whole top-side...this insures that you are mounting on to a true, flat surface and will yield best results. Lapping alone can sometimes show up to a 10C gain depending on just how concave/convex your IHS is/was.
Cleaning the mounting surfaces properly is extremely important. Remember, never apply TIM until you have removed all traces of contamination from any material that will be used as a mating surface for heat transfer. (Even the oil from your fingers can create excess thermal resistance which will only increase your CPU's temperature.) I can't stress enough the importance of working clean. As such, I recommend throughly cleaning both the top of the CPU and the bottom of the HSF with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and then finishing with ArctiClean 2. Q-tips make the perfect cleaning tool...don't be afraid of them.
Here's what we should see after we lap the CPU and properly clean it.
It's not important that you get a mirror finish. It does nothing to further improve heat transfer.
Doing the same to each or your two Scythe Infinity "mounting wings," remove the Intel designed snap-clips...
Note: You may need to use a small flat-head screwdriver to help the tab to clear the lip (seem in steps 4 & 5).
You can discard all plastic pieces as we will not be using them or you can retain them for returning the component to manufacturer specifications at some other time if you like.
Let's now take a moment to prep both of our thermal transfer surfaces.
First, the CPU. Once you are satisfied that the CPU IHS, use your syringe of liquid TIM and place a small amount of the metal on the top of the IHS. A little goes a long way.
An easy way to spread the liquid metal TIM is with a low-lint q-tip. Whatever you use, make sure it's clean.
We don't want too much TIM but at the same time we want there to be enough that the two surfaces "fuse" together with the application of pressure and the multiple heat and cool cycles that you will use to cure the layer.
We'll now do the same to the bottom of the HSF except that we will leave just about no extra TIM present.
Coat the HSF in the same area that the IHS will contact. The liquid metal TIM will actually reflow when you turn your system on a do some stress testing. You will find that your CPU temperature will drop as much as another 2-3C during the week following this installation.
Note: The final picture shows our HSF installed, we're not quiet there yet.
The next series of pictures gives you an idea of what you're going to need to complete this modification.
Most, if not all, of these parts should be easy to find in any hardware store. (I got mine from Lowes.)
The inset picture in the last frame shows how to shim the screw in order to preload the spring. You may also need to do this to ensure the screws you use don't bind on the bottom of the heatsink.
Using a 2" screw will result in the need to use ~6 washers and creates what I believe is the perfect stack height. A 1 and 1/2" screw is better for those that won't be using spings.
Please note that the screw labeled as 1 and 1/2" in length is actually a 2" screw in my picture since I am using springs. I assume most others won't use springs since they can be a little harder to find.
Although I show the screw assembly fully assembled in the above photo you will actually need to put it together when installing the your now bare mounting wings onto your motherboard.
The below slides illustrates just how to do this:
1) The head of the screw along with the preloading washers and the insulating washer are first inserted into the mounting holes from the bottom side of the motherboard.
2) The bare screw protrudes from the top of the motherboard. Do one side at a time.
3) Slide the mounting wing down over both screws. Remember that the retaining u-clips face inward. Next, one last washer.
4) Finally, the spring. Finish of the assembly with the knurled knob. Only tighten it enough to hold assembly in place for now.
The last part is a little tricky, but nothing we can't handle. Now that both the CPU IHS and the HSF bottom are ready to mount we are going to "clip" the heatsink into place, one side at a time, while holding the heatsink above the CPU.
Once both sides are clipped in securely you can rest the heatsink down on the CPU. Press down slightly on the top of the HSF unit while finger-tightening the knurled knobs in a x-pattern.
Finally, hold the knurled knobs steady while tightening again in an x-pattern. This time using your flat head screw driver to turn the screws from the bottom side of the motherboard.
Stop once you see the motherboard start to bend slightly. Loading the screws any more from this point will only cause the board to bend more and won't change the mounting pressure. Cool, huh?
I hope this guide has been helpful. Let us know what kind of temperature gains you see. I know it was worth it for me.