Date: Monday , August 07, 2017
To say the least, I was not impressed with the AIO water cooling kit that came with our Threadripper that was supplied by AMD. So much in fact I wrote about it. Just putting it simply, what is shown below is not acceptable, at least not by self respecting hardware enthusiasts that wants to overclock this stock 180 watt TDP 1950X monster! $999.99 at Amazon and Newegg.
However, as described in the above article, and as you can follow along in the discussion thread, a little bit of sandpaper and a few trips to the garage work bench got things worked out fairly well. After getting our cooler to mate well, it did perform OK. Since AMD still has us under an information embargo I cannot yet discuss temperature data.
AMD supplies an Asetek type AIO cooler retention bracket with its Threadripper CPUs, which is awesome, as it gives you the ability to use a bunch of different AIO coolers, possibly some that you already own. You can find a list of coolers in this thread that will show you which ones match up with the supplied bracket.
However if you do not want to use that cooler for overclocking, like we do not, you will start looking for others solutions and that is exactly what we found. I found an "old" Koolance model 370 water block (These things are built like tanks and I broke down the block and cleaned it well.) in my junk drawer and started positioning it over the TR4 socket. The way the top of the water block is shaped looked like it could certainly work if I could get the right clamping system in place. It does however block the two DIMM slots closest to the socket. This also could be fixed with a trip to the garage, but we will leave that till later.
The next step was to find some threaded rod that would work for mounting studs. I had already decided to head to Home Depot this morning to find some long screws I could cut down and clean up to work in the socket's mounting holes. Where I really got lucky (While back in the junk closet this time.) was that I found an old Koolance bracket for mounting LGA 1150 cooling blocks, at least that is what I think it is, not 100% sure on that. Just so happens that the mounting rods in that plate fit the threads on the TR4 socket perfectly. I think these are m3.5 threads (Confirmed-these are m3.5 threads used in the heatsink nuts/stud mounting points.), but I have not gotten verification on that from AMD yet and I do not want to tear apart my Asetek bracket to check manually. After that I pilfered a couple of legs off an old motherboard test station. I cut these to size and drilled the holes for the mounting studs. These are made out of a very high tensile strength plastic and have almost no bend to it. Below you get to see our first trial mounting test with some explanation on the things that I have already touched on above.
While that all worked out pretty good, it was far from good enough.
On our second go-round, I decided to ditch the springs on the hold-down brackets, I opened up the holes on the brackets so those could ride up and down easier and not bind as those had previously, and we gave AMD's way of applying the TIM a try. (There are a 100 different ways to lay down TIM, so do it the way you like to.)
Here is a quick video showing you what kind of mount we got on round 2.
I am very happy with these results. We got a very good contact patch. Mating is near perfect. Once we get the Threadripper to put off some heat, which is not hard to do, we will flow some more of the TIM assuredly.
We are moving forward with Threadripper overclock testing, and hopefully our cooling solution nets us some good results, we will see.
The other important thing to come away from this from is that might consider what water cooling parts you have on hand before you go dropping big bucks (and those will be big bucks) on Threadripper specific cooling solutions. I imagine a lot of [H]'ers are just like me and have "junk" laying around somewhere. In this case we repurposed an old Koolance water block, with less than $10 worth of materials that you kind at your local hardware stores. That, and a drill, and a hack saw was all that was needed to make it all work.
We will have temperature data later this week along with the full HardOCP review.