I’m back and so is my PC

H60 PC TemperatureI’m not the greatest with hardware, preferring to deal with software but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty, so here is the saga of my broken PC cooler and how I fixed it.

Three weeks ago my PC broke. I’d had it five and a half years and the cooler (it had a five years warranty! ) broke. It was a liquid cooler and following the advice of the supplier I bought a Corsair H60 cooler which was the same brand but slightly different cooler to mine. So I carefully photographed the orientation of the broken cooler and the connectors before removing it. I was determined to do things right so I bought earthing straps, to prevent static electricity from frying anything it shouldn’t.

So I took out the old cooler, removed the dregs of the thermal paste from the base plate (using Q-tips- works very well!)  and carefully put the new cooler in, and also swapped the fan which cools the radiator. It looks like a car radiator and has the same function. Two thick pipes run from the cooler which sits on top of the CPU and run to the radiator. It’s a closed system so you never see the cooling liquid.

I hooked up the fan connector – no problem. I hooked up the cooler connector and found a 15 pin connector there as well. That wasn’t in the old cooler!  It was a 15 pin SATA power connector. Following more advice from the supplier I bought a 15 pin SATA to Molex lead. Molex are those four pin power connectors that you plug into external hard disks. My PSU (a Corsair CS750M) came with a bunch of cables and one of them was a PSU SATA to Molex connector. One side of the PSU is full of connector sockets- apparently it can power up to 8 SATA devices. So that was the cooler wired up.

So I switched it on, it started booting and then wham- CPU fan error beep beep beep. Now the H60 cooler fan connector only had one wire going into it compared to the three wires on the older cooler. On that older cooler the power came through those wires but the H60 was powered by the SATA cable. So I wondered if maybe this connector belonged elsewhere and studied the motherboard diagram. The Motherboard was an ASUS X99-S.

It turned out that there were several connectors. I had been plugging into CPU FAN1 which was able to drive a fan with over 1 Amp of power. There was another connector CPU FAN which couldn’t supply that much power, so that’s why the old cooler was plugged into CPU FAN1 as that powered it. I plugged my cooler into CPU FAN and it worked. Time wise my PC was out of action for three weeks given delays from emails plus buying the cooler (£64) and the 15 pin-to Molex cable. (£7.00 for three).

I’ve had my PC running for the last half hour and it’s showing the temperature figures shown in the screenshot. It helped that the cooler could use the same plate and screws as the old cooler and came with thermal paste already applied. Until I did this, I hadn’t even realised that my PC was liquid cooled. I’m always nervous as hell when doing things with hardware but feeling quite chuffed that it worked.

The free temperature utility came from here and is very good.