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How to Install an AMD Athlon or Duron Socket A Processor
Last updated: 3/28/01

Plug-in the Fan.  Plug the fan wire into the appropriate jack on the motherboard,  neatly coil-up the excess CPU fan wire, and zip-tie (cable tie) it to keep the wire out of the CPU fan, etc.  It is easier to do this now while the motherboard is out of the case.

Install the Memory and Motherboard.  I'll go into this later in a Build Your Own Socket A Computer article.  Our Build Your Own Athlon Computer (Slot 1 CPU) article also includes these procedures.  The computer should be configured to a minimum bootable configuration:  Motherboard, CPU, heatsink-fan, memory, video card, power to the motherboard (keep the power cord disconnected), Power-on switch, Speaker connected, monitor, keyboard, and nothing else--no drives.  While watching the CPU fan, hold your breath, connect the power cord, and push the Power-on button.  If the CPU fan does not start spinning, pull the power cord out of the computer.  If it spins OK and the computer boots so you see something on the screen, go into the CMOS setup, quickly adjust the CPU settings if it can be done in the CMOS setup, and then go to the System Monitoring part of the setup a start watching the CPU temperature.  Let is site there quite a while until temperatures stabilize.  This is what I got for readings on two computers after installing drives and additional expansion boards:

1.1 GHz Athlon Processor.  Antec KS282 case with 300W power supply and one chassis fan mounted on the back below the power supply.

One side open:  Ambient 20 C/68 F, Case 26 C/78 F, CPU 44/111

Case closed: Ambient 20 C/68 F, Case 25 C/74 F, CPU 46/114

1.0 GHz Athlon Processor, similar configuration, computer operational for about three months:

Case Closed:  Ambient 22 C/72 F, Case 31 C/ 88 F, CPU 46 /114

According to the Athlon Socket A specifications, the maximum die temperature is rated at 90 C for the 1 GHz CPU and 95 C for the 1.1 GHz part.  These specifications are the same for processors with 200 and 266 MHz front side buses.  Of course I would never run a processor anywhere near that hot.  As you can see, there was no noticeable thermal grease degradation in the second computer after three months of heavy use (by my Accountant).

We aren't over yet.  I strongly advise you to review AMD's Socket A AMD Processor and Heatsink Installation Guide, available in .pdf  format, especially if you are using a different kind of heat sink requiring tools to install and if it uses a thermal compound other than thermal grease.


Purchase the pdf version of this article plus notes

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