Pentium II Cooling Solutions

Intel dazzled us with their Pentium II...however they also left us with the burden of cooling their latest monster. Currently there are two options of cooling when purchasing a Pentium II, the OEM Heatsink, or the Retail (Boxed) Heatsink/Fan Combo.

Bigger is not always better...

When I received my Pentium II I had the pleasure of using the 1.5LB OEM Heatsink which I thought would be the ultimate cooling solution, and although it cooled my chip well enough to overclock it to 300MHz (originally a 266) once I took it up to 337.5MHz I realized the problems this minitower heatsink had. The Pentium II OEM Heatsink is designed with the idea that the user will NOT overclock the chip too greatly, since it does dissipate or carry heat away from the cartridge, just in a very slow manner. Therefore, a Pentium II at 337.5MHz simply heats up too quickly for the heatsink to keep up with the heat being generated, the result? An unstable and extremely erratic performing system. So in other words, the huge heatsink does the job, however it could to it much better.

Solution for the masses

For those of you that spent the extra on a boxed Pentium II, you were blessed with having the tiny but effective Retail Heatsink/Fan. This quaint little model fixes the flaws mentioned above that are present with the OEM Heatsink, it can dissipate heat and carry it away from the processor in a very fast and effective fashion, therefore allowing the user the possibility of taking the Pentium II beyond 300MHz. The boxed Pentium II heatsink/fan comes fully equipped with a wonderful and POWERFUL AAVID fan which gives it its excellent cooling capabilities. The retail Pentium II heatsink/fan seems to be the best answer for cooling the Pentium II...or is it?

The best of both Worlds

The OEM Heatsink dissipates incredible amounts of heat, however it doesn't do it fast enough to keep the Pentium II really cool (I use that phrase lightly). The retail (boxed) heatsink/fan keeps the cartridge cool, but it doesn't dissipate as much heat as the OEM Heatsink. The answer? A hybrid solution, an OEM Heatsink with a heavy duty AAVID fan on it. Below is a quick procedure list for attaching a fan to your OEM Heatsink:

  • Position the fan directly above the large gap in the heatsink (where the heatsink support is installed, refer to your manual for more info)
  • Orient your fan at a slant so at least 3/4 screw holes line up with an opening in the middle of the heatsink
  • Screw in at least 3/4 holes so the fan is securely attached to the heatsink
  • Spin the fan a few times to make sure that it isn't being obstructed by the heatsink, if it is, loosen the screws
  • Plug it in and you're off!

Now there is a slight problem with this design, first of all, if you position the fan so that it blows air away from the heatsink (i.e. you can feel hot air coming out of your fan when you put your hand in front of it) common sense tells us that the extremely hot air coming from our wonderful processor will find its way to some other part of your case. This only applies to cases in which the Pentium II cartridge is facing your drive bays, since the direction of your fan's air flow will be forward...meaning your hard drive(s) will receive the excess heat. This becomes a major problem when you have a high speed SCSI drive in your system, so in cases like that make sure you orient the fan so it takes in cool air and blows it across the surface of the heatsink or don't approach this cooling solution at all.

A New Hope

I have been informed of one company that makes an excellent heatsink for the Pentium II, however I have yet to receive my test model...I'll see if I can get my hands on one, and if possible I'll keep you updated.

Peltier Coolers Case Fans
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  • CocoMark1 - Thursday, March 17, 2022 - link

    First! Haha, this article was released a few years before i was born :O

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