2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 2, 2009 11:46 AM by CAOgdin

    How to use Intel's "heatsink attach clip assembly"


      These pesky devices have frustrated many...including me.  Is there anywhere Intel publishes exactly how to use these "clips" are supposed to be used to attach the heatsink assembly to the motherboard?


      There's not much info on them on the Internet, and some of it may be frankly erroneous.  The images in the processor "Installation instructions" manual are incomplete.


      For example, some recommend you "lock" the assembly (twist the black barrel clockwise), insert the pin into the matching hole on the mobo, then press down to lock it.  Others recommend you press down the actuator lock and then press the "spread" pins through the mobo (and I don't think that will even work.  Still others suggest you keep the actuator in the "unlocked" position, install the white pins through the motherboard, then "lock" the actuator (turn it clockwise to stop); this is a rather clumsy approach that seems to confuse some folks.\


      A clear "how to" video, and accompanying document, by Intel would help alleviate these faulty methods.  Is there such a document on the Intel.com website?


      --Carol Anne

        • 1. Re: How to use Intel's "heatsink attach clip assembly"

          Hello Anne,


          I found this.





          Boxed Fan Heatsink Installation

          NOTE: The thermal solution integration procedures should be performed with the motherboard in the Chassis to provide proper clearance under the motherboard for the fastener mechanisms.

          1. Install the motherboard into the chassis.
          2. Thermal Solutions that come with Intel® boxed processor use pre-applied thermal interface material (TIM) and do not need grease (Figure 14).
            CAUTION: Recommend not to touch or disturb the T.I.M. on the heatsink during installation.
          3. Remove Heat Sink (HS) from packaging media.
          4. Place HS onto the LGA775 Socket (Figure 15).                      
            1. Ensure fan cables are oriented on side closest to fan header.
            2. Align Fasteners with MB through-holes.
            3. Make sure fasterns are flush with motherboard (Figure 16).
          5. Inspection                      
            1. Ensure cables are not trapped or interfere fastener operation.
            2. Ensure fastener slots are pointing perpendicular to Heat Sink (Figure 15).
          6. Actuate fasteners (Figure 17)                      
            1. While holding HS to prevent tilting, press down on fastener caps with thumb to install and lock.
            2. Repeat with remaining fasteners.
          7. Inspection (Figure 18)                      
            1. Verify the fasteners are properly seated by pulling up on each fastener.
            2. Ensure both fastener cap and base are flush with spring and motherboard.
          8. Connect fan cable to Board CPU header (Figure 19)
          9. Secure excess cable with tie-wrap to ensure cable does not interfere with fan operation or contact other components.

          Figure 14.

          Image no longer available

          Figure 15.

          Figure 15.

          Figure 16.

          Figure 16.

          Figure 17.

          Figure 17.

          Figure 18.

          Figure 18.

          Figure 19.

          Figure 19.


          All the best,


          Kind Regards,


          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to use Intel's "heatsink attach clip assembly"

            Thanks for that, Aryan.  That video was the first I've seen on how to properly install the retention clips.


            I have created my own step-by-step for technicians, and I'd love for Intel to publish something like it.


            --Carol Anne


            My Current Draft:

            These new-fangled push-and-lock pins (which Intel calls the "heatsink attach clip assembly") are used by Intel (and others) to firmly attach a fan/heatsink assembly to a properly prepared motherboard.  "Properly prepared" means there are four holes in the printed-circuit board, where the pins will poke through; if those holes aren't present, you can't use the provided pins.

            They're unofficially called "Push Pin Locks" (PPL) and look like the illustration at http://www.directron.com/intelpushpins.html

            The lock consists of three integral parts, two black and one white.  An external black sleeve contains the two other parts, and is attached to the fan/heatsink assembly to be anchored to the board.  The other two parts (shown above) move up and down, together, within that attachment sleeve.  Insofar as I can tell, you can't separate these parts without rendering them useless.

            The white plastic piece has a split pin at the bottom (pointed white plastic, in image above) that fits through a pre-drilled hole in the motherboard (when the split is widened, in the install process, the two halves are held apart on the bottom side of the motherboard, using the black actuater).  The white collar, above the split pins, will rest on the top side of the motherboard.

            The black, movable piece has a flat "shelf" on top, with which you manipulate the locking mechanism; that piece (until locked) is free to move vertically, and to rotate about 90 degrees.  That "shelf" usually has a screwdriver slot on top, and an engraved arrow pointing to the unlocked position (counterclockwise); the locked position is fully clockwise.


            1. Confirm that the four pins will properly line up with the holes in the motherboard.
            2. If there is any old thermal paste on the processor or the heatsink, make sure that is removed, and the two surfaces are relatively smooth with no evident "bumps."
              1. If your heatsink doesn't have thermal paste already attached to the surface that will touch the CPU, apply a thin coat of Arctic Silver thermal paste over about 75% of the contact surface, leaving a small border of un-pasted margin around the surface.  You can apply the paste to the processor or the heatsink.  Make sure none oozes out when you apply pressure to the heatsink assembly over the processor.
            3. Using a screwdriver (or your fingers), rotate the black actuator in the direction of the arrow (counterclockwise) all the way, then pull up to retract the actuator's central pin from the white split pin that will be pushed through the motherboard holes.  This is the unlocked position.
            4. Position the four white split pins over the holes.
            5. Pick an arbitrary corner and lock down the pin.  At this point there are two popular alternative explanations:
              1. "Lock and press:"  Pull the actuator fully out (pull up) and turn it fully clockwise.  Assure the two split pins are centered through the motherboard hole, then press down until pins "click" into the hole.  Then, press on the black actuator to press the "spreader" pin into the split pin, prohibiting it from being pulled out.  This procedure requires considerable force, because of the force necessary to spread those pins..  That force could, if you're not careful, fracture traces on the printed circuit board.  If you prefer this method, create a platform for the motherboard to rest on, with a hole drilled in it that's about 1/2" in diameter, and about 3/16" (or more) deep.  Position the motherboard with the hole over the drilled hole in the platform, so forces are transferred to the platform when you press down, rather than to the printed circuit board.


              1. or
              2. "Press and lock."  Leave the actuator in the counterclockwise position.  Assure the two split pins are centered through the motherboard hold, press down until you can see the split pin expand with the black pin thrust through it's middle, then rotate the actuator fully clockwise (90 degrees) to lock the setting.  This method is a bit clumsier, but subjects the printed circuit board to less stress during the installation.

            Proceed to repeat step 6 with the PPL that is diametrically opposite the one just finished.  (Don't move to a PPL adjacent to the one just locked.)

            Either of the remaining two pins can be done next, leaving the last to be seated.  Warning:  They get progressively harder to seat as you go.

            When you're done, you should see four split pins poking through the four motherboard holes, each split pin being held open by a central black pin that is the end of the actuator.

            Tug (with moderate, but not significant) force on the heatsink to make sure none of the corners breaks free.


            To remove the fan/heatsink assembly:

            1.      Using a screwdriver in the slot on the "shelf" atop the actuator, rotate each of the four actuators counterclockwise (in the direction of the arrow).  That unlocks the PPL. 

            2.      Then, one-by-one, pull up on each actuator, retracting the black central pin from the split pin, allowing them to slip back through the motherboard holes.

            Pull up (gently) with a rocking motion to free the fan/heatsink assembly from the motherboard and the CPU.

            Editorial feedback eagerly solicited; feel free to help me improve this write-up.