I never got into overclocking and cranking my CPU to the max. The stock coolers always seemed fine and were ample for my needs, even for gaming. Years of reading about how poor the stock intel coolers never caused me any alarm since my temps didn’t get out of control.

Enter, streaming while gaming! I noticed my Intel I7-4790K getting a bit toasty during long stream sessions. Since I kicked off my channel doing 16-ish hours a day, three days straight, I was really putting the stock cooler to the test. I knew something had to be done!

realtemp max

Even under idle my temps weren’t ideal

i7 original setup

My stock cooler setup

Air Cooling vs. Water Cooling

It seems all the hype is around water, especially on tech sites. I mean why wouldn’t you want a radiator, pumps, hoses, and liquid in your case!? Well maybe some, but all that isn’t for me. You can get great results with a decent air cooler. So, let’s dive in.

My cooler of choice is the CoolerMaster Hyper D92. This thing needs a decent amount of case room, so make sure you are rocking a tower with ample real estate.  Also, some coolers can overlap your RAM depending on your motherboard layout.  Be sure the cooler you pick clears the top of your RAM or has adjustable fan height.


The solution


Stock vs. the D92. Wow.


Remove the Stock Cooler

Remove the stock cooler and clean off the old thermal paste with at least 90% pure isopropyl alcohol. Here I used a Q-tip.  You can also use coffee filters to clean your CPU as there is less risk of leaving stray fibers.


The old thermal paste


Clean that up!

Install the New Cooler Hardware

Back plates and brackets will vary by socket. Make sure you pick up a cooler that will fit on your socket.


The back of the motherboard gets a support plate


Plate installed


Firmly screw in the brackets, but don’t over do it

Thermal Paste – Only Use a Small Bead

The wrong amount of thermal paste is the area I see the most incorrect usage, even on “pro” sites.  It is better to use too little than too much according to benchmarks.

Only use a small bead! Less is more!

One small bead – even this amount might be considered too much!

Install the Cooler


Remove any labels



Remove the cooler fans (and RAM sticks if room for hands is needed) before inserting

Tighten down, install fans, hook up and that is it! Enjoy your cooler temps.



Much better

Much better

MudFarm on TwitterMudFarm on Youtube
Founder at Lift Gaming
I enjoy sharing strategy, stories, and interacting with The Lift Community! Working on this site as well as my full-time job and 2 kids keeps me busy. My other hobbies include cars and yard work. Check out The Lift Show at Twitch.tv/LiftGaming

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