AMD introduced the 940-pin socket AM2 Athlon64 processor to the
world, it also effectively retired hundreds of different socket 754/939/940 K8 heatsinks
at the same moment. Most pre-AM2 K8 heatsinks are not compatible with the new
four-post heatsink retention frame after all.
While physically speaking the AM2
processor is nearly identical to the previous generations, the way heatsinks
attach to it is different in one very significant aspect. The socket AM2 processor
series uses a new plastic heatsink retention frame that attaches to the MSI K9N SLI Platinum
motherboard with four screw holes, to a four-post metal PCB stiffener
backplate. The socket AM2 heatsink retention frame and metal backplate are not
compatible with the previous K8 socket 754/939/940 heatsink retention frame and
metal back plates, and vice-versa.
Socket AM2 motherboards like the MSI K9N SLI Platinum ship with the new
AM2 heatsink retention frame, and that means many existing Athlon64 heatsinks
will be unuseable on the AM2 platform. All
existing K8 heatsinks that screw directly into the two-post metal backplate
of the socket 754/939/940 series are not usable with the socket AM2 retention
module because its four-posts are positioned differently.
Unfortunately, most K8 heatsinks that
use the two-posts the high-end, heavy copper coolers that offer the best performance
qualities. The weight of these expensive enthusiast level heatsinks dictated a
firmer attachment method than the plastic tabs of the old retention frame, and
sadly their useful life is now over.
K8 heatsinks like the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 and AMD retail AVC Z7U741001 heatsink that clip onto the socket
754/939/940 heatsink retention frame center tabs will continue to be compatible
with the socket AM2 heatsink retention frame. The center tabs survived the
transition to socket AM2, alongside with a new type of four-post socket 478-like
integrated clip points. Existing K8 heatsinks which use a cam-lock to apply
pressure on the spring clip after it has been attached to the retention frame
tab will also work with the MSI K9N SLI
Three tab K8 heatsink clips should also work with AM2, but
it depends on how well the load forces are balanced. The socket AM2 standard also
introduces Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) fan speed control, as identified by four-pin
fan power cords. The MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard ascribes to this
standard, so either a 4-pin PWM fan or standard 3-pin fan can
be used in the CPTU fan header.
Now with a AVC Z7U741001 heatsink strapped onto the
AMD Athlon64 FX-62, let's see how far we get overclocking the MSI K9N SLI Platinum!