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The Installation of My New NorthBridge Fan, the All-Copper Evercool VC-RE

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     In the weeks leading up to my brother's high school graduation, I would notice a faint grinding noise coming from my computer every night. I was praying to God Almighty it was not my hard drives (and it wasn't, thank God). Still, I could not pinpoint the sound and it would often go away. By the time my brother's graduation rolled around, the sound got louder and wouldn't go away after some time. On the day of my bro's graduation, I finally pinpointed the sound by running the case open system - it was my northbridge fan! I dove for the power button (no time for safe OS shutdown) and shut the system off. This is something that I could not screw around with. The NB is very vulnerable to damage from overheating, not to mention that fact that it is also overclocked in order to allow my CPU to be overclocked (thanks to the CPU's stupid locked clock multiplier). The NB is doing the brunt of the OCing work. I could not lose my NB or the whole motherboard, and consequently my whole system, would go down. I don't have the money to replace this stuff, and my awesome motherboard is no longer on the market. I spent the next week or two using my brother's PC and his laptop trying to explore my options. It didn't look like DFI could help me out, and even if they could they wouldn't because I violated the warranty by overclocking the board. Or did I? I have no idea because my motherboard was made for overclocking. In any case, checking around (formerly DFI-Street) and some other forums, I quickly realized why my NB fan died, and what I should do to replace it. The DFI NB fan doesn't use ball bearings like most normal fans, it uses some kind of liquid lubricant. The lubricant eventually dries up for most systems, causing the fan to die. You cannot replace the liquid lubricant. Most people recommended a small VGA (graphics card) cooler that also doubles as a NB cooler, the Evercool VC-RE. This is an all-copper heatsink with high cooling performance. And the fan on it uses ball bearings. Not only that, but as I found out later, the fan also has two LEDs, a red one and a blue one, which look pretty cool. Alot of experts on the forums were saying that as soon as anyone buys the DFI LANParty NF4 Ultra-D or SLI motherboards, they should have immediately replaced the stock DFI fan with the VC-RE. In any case, this was the HSF I needed to replace my NB fan with. I looked it up on several places, and of course ended up buying it from It arrived several days earlier than expected (gotta love newegg), so I cancelled my Friday night gym session with Javier to work on my system, bringing it back to life. This was of the highest priority.

     The stock DFI fan uses padding to prevent the cooler from crushing the NB chip's die, but this also prevents it from having good cooling contact with the die. The VC-RE has no such padding, which means it gets better cooling performance but I have to be careful. The NB die has no protective heat-spreader on it, so I could accidentally crush it if I applied too much pressure when installing it. I must say though, it was very cool finally being able to see the nForce 4 Ultra NB with my own eyes. It was awesome to actually look upon the nForce 4 Ultra itself. Changing the cooler also allowed me to put some Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste on the NB chip. Some people sand the bottom of the VC-RE's copper heatsink, a process called "lapping" the heatsink, in order to create a flatter surface with even more cooling performance. I didn't want to take the time, nor did I have the equipment, to do such a thing myself. In its stock form, the VC-RE dropped my NB temps by nearly 10 degrees Celsius!!! Just the thing I needed considering it was overclocked. I didn't like my NB temps hovering around the 55C mark, so I'm glad this new cooler dropped it to around 46C. I must say, having the old stock NB fan start to die on me was one of the best things to happen to my system. I was able to get a far superior cooling solution for my northbridge, prolonging its lifespan with cooler temps. I told Kyle he has to watch out, since he has the same motherboard that I do, and thus the same thing could happen to his NB. I offered to help him replace it with the VC-RE, but he didn't care to do such a thing. He said his temps are good (and they are in his massive Thermaltake Armor case, much better than my temps), and his NB fan is working fine so he sees no reason to mess with it. I must admit, it is a GREAT amount of trouble to disconnect everything inside the computer and remove the entire motherboard. I saved time by doing this before the VC-RE arrived. Anyways, ever since then the system has been running better than ever, and it still is to this day. I just thank God Almighty that I was able to replace the cooler, and that I did not crush the NB die (you should have seen me sweat and shake cuz I was scared I was going to crush the die). Check out the pics of the new cooler and the installation process below.

As with the last few picture galleries, the viewing of these pics was meant for the Firefox web browser, so I hope you guys are using it. When you first click on the pics, it shows the larger versions scaled down to fit onscreen (if your monitor resolution is lower than these pictures), and then you can click on this larger version to expand it to full size.

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Site Created January 5 2005. Page Last Updated on August 13th 2007.
Copyright © 2005-2007 Clifford Ferguson II.