Date: July 3rd, 2007
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Cooler Master
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
Before we get started with the installation phase of this review, I want to talk a bit about motherboard compatibility. The sheer size of the GeminII coupled with the heatpipe arrangement will limit the number of motherboards that will accept this cooler. The user's manual states, “This cooler may not support some of (sic) vertical socket type AMD mainboard.” To clarify, if the long sides of the retention bracket of your AMD motherboard correspond to the long sides of the motherboard, the GeminII will LIKELY be compatible. However, the heatpipes may interfere with capacitors or memory slots in the socket area as well. This applies to Intel as well as AMD boards. Sadly, I wasn't able to find any information relating to mobo compatibility.
I'll be using the Intel-based DFI P965-S Dark motherboard for this review, and the GeminII fit nicely on this board, but potential users will want to gather as much information as possible to avoid any fitment issues. That being said, let's get to it.
After going over the installation procedure outlined in the user's guide, the next order of business is to gather the necessary mounting hardware.
Four special screws must be installed onto the bracket before it's attached to the cooler base. Otherwise, the cooler will block access to the holes. These screws have tow sets of threads each. The larger threads near the head are left-hand, assuring that the screws won't back out when installing the nuts onto the smaller (right-hand) threads. This is a very nice feature, making installation as painless as possible.
Four small flat-head screws secure the bracket to the base. One should exercise caution here, as the copper is relatively soft and the threads can be easily damaged. After placing four soft rubber cushions around the mounting screws, the cooler is ready to go on the motherboard.
After applying the thermal compound of your choice on the processor, the board can be flipped over and lowered in place over the mounting screws. Each of the four screws then gets a hard plastic washer and steel nut. Cooler Master has thoughtfully supplied a socket to facilitate installation. Now, it's a matter of threading the nuts on a few turns at a time, in clockwise rotation, until they bottom. Aside from the fact that the board must be removed from the case, the installation is relatively easy and straightforward.
As you can see, the cooler is huge and there are no interference issues with this mobo. It may be tricky to get all the power cables hooked up, but the cooler is on and we can proceed to fan installation. If I were to be putting this in a case, now would be the time to do so. Access to some of the board mounting screws will be blocked when the fans are installed on the cooler.
Let me reiterate that no fans or fan screws are included with the GeminII. I suppose one could use this cooler without fans, but that would nullify any board cooling effects and require some carefully planned airflow in the chassis. I'll go ahead and test it in passive mode, but I'll be surprised if it can hold its own.