System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

The Initial Installation: My First Attempt

We never know about the days to come...

My plan started off simply: starting with the $1,000 PC, I’d add a storage drive, a second graphics card, and the higher-quality case I knew our readers would demand for an extra $600. And, knowing that the graphics cards would vent heat into my case of choice, I even upsized the CPU cooler.

The Noctua NH-D14’s under-socket support plate has a removable foam section that should only be left in place when it's attached to boards that don’t have a plate there already, namely LGA 775. It must be removed before attaching to our LGA 1155 board, or else the excess pressure could warp the socket.

Two notches in the support plate provide clearance for the LGA 1155 mounting bracket's support screws. These must be aligned to the screws, or else the cooler will sit crooked, applying uneven pressure against the CPU socket.

Two cross braces sit above the board, secured to the support plate’s screws via Philips-headed cap nuts. Included plastic spacers must be installed first over each screw to prevent cross-brace contact with motherboard components and/or over-tightening.

The heat sink includes two factory-installed, spring-loaded screws. These must be tightened a little at a time, side-to-side, to assure even contact pressure.

The memory also has to be installed before the fans are clipped into place, since a fan covers the slots. But isn't the memory and motherboard in the picture above wrong? Didn't my parts list include different components?