Completed Noctua bracket for LGA 2011 Narrow ILM

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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Feb 22, 2015
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I did a 4 hour live stream and all I got was this lousy bracket!


:p

I'll upload to YouTube Monday but here's the Beam archive in the meantime: https://beam.pro/SFFNetwork?vod=796760
 
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LukeD

Master of Cramming
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Jun 29, 2016
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Hey Aibohphobia. Sorry I missed the live stream. Went to bed super late as my wife just moved to New York and was keeping her company on the phone.
I will definitely watch the re-run :)
Hopefully one day you will have an Aibo-heck show (hehe like the Ben Heck show)
 
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jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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Well, it was 3 hours of prep work (though informative I hope), then 10 minutes of actually designing the bracket, followed by 30 minutes of making the bracket look prettier.

So if anyone actually sits and watches the whole thing through I commend you!
 
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jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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Ok, I sent out requests for quotes. Anyone other than me interested in one of these brackets?
 

GeSong

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Jan 27, 2017
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Nice work! Can I also buy one for my X99E-ITX? Also, is it possible to make a bracket for Cryorig C1 to work on this motherboard?
 

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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It wasn't worth making just 2 brackets so I'll have some leftovers for sale.

I'm not sure if the C1 will fit because the heatpipes come out both sides of the block so they'd interfere with the RAM slots. And the C1 can't be installed in the other orientation because then the brackets would interfere with the RAM slots.

I'd have to try to model the heatpipes from the pictures to know for sure, are you seriously interested in it over the L12 or other Noctua heatsinks?
 

GeSong

Chassis Packer
Jan 27, 2017
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It wasn't worth making just 2 brackets so I'll have some leftovers for sale.

I'm not sure if the C1 will fit because the heatpipes come out both sides of the block so they'd interfere with the RAM slots. And the C1 can't be installed in the other orientation because then the brackets would interfere with the RAM slots.

I'd have to try to model the heatpipes from the pictures to know for sure, are you seriously interested in it over the L12 or other Noctua heatsinks?

Nope. L12 is good though. I currently have a FT03 mini itx case and using R24 for my E5 2686 V3. The IDE temperature is about 50 celsius and runs around 90 celsius on AIDA 64 stress test. The problem is that the L12 only has 4 heatpipes and if you want to use a standard 120mm fan, the total height will go to 93mm. The total height of Coryorig is 77mm including a 140mm fan. Maybe ThermalRight AXP-100 and AXP-200 will be my other choices. NT06-pro is another great heatsink for my case. But according to one of my friend, there is no way for this heatsink to fit on this motherboard.
 

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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The NT06-PRO could maybe fit, it's a similar design heatsink and mounting system to the L12.

I wouldn't trust those Thermalright coolers. There are slight differences in the CPU heatspreader height between Socket 2011 and 2011-3, so it's safest to use heatsinks that have springs in the mounting system. Otherwise the heatsink could put too little or too much pressure if the height is off.
 

TTheuns

Efficiency Noob
Jan 29, 2017
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Basically every little possibility I want to try out that can't be done, is either being fixed or already fixed by your work.

First I wanted an SFF mATX rig. Cerberus/Nova was there. Before I got one I decided ITX was fine, but I wanted to keep my X99 chip.
Tried to look for SFF cases, but they were all too large for my liking, so wanted to scratch build, but there were no coolers available to mount on the board. Enter this thread. So now I'm looking at pouring a lot of money into an X99 SFF build.
Or pouring a lot of money into an Intel Skull Canyon NUC with an SFF GPU dock. Which introduces your current project.
 

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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That's how I got into all this, no one made the mATX case I wanted so I decided to take things into my own hands.

I had actually written off the ASRock X99 ITX board a while ago because I hate pump noise and there wasn't a good way to mount a heatsink to it. But now designing a custom bracket isn't a big deal for me, hence this project.
 
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jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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The brackets are supposed to be done Friday!

Edit: And Friday can't come soon enough, the Dynatron server heatsink that comes with this motherboard is horribly loud when the system is under load.
 
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jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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I got the brackets today and they fit perfectly! I'm now getting temps under load in the mid-50s to lower-60s at 800 RPM! That's with 14-core Xeon and just the NF-F12 on top of the NH-L12 in open-air.

Pics tomorrow.
 

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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It's a huge improvement. The CPU would hit 80C with that Dynatron in Aida64 and that's the motherboard's critical temperature so the fan would go to full speed. Then it'd cool off and get a little quieter (but still loud) but it'd rise back up to 80C within a minute or two.

Unfortunately I needed to make sure the CPU is stable since it's used and in rough shape physically so I got to listen to that for many hours over the last few days.
 
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jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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The Problem



To review for those not familiar with the issue, there are actually two different mounting patterns for Intel Socket 2011-0 and 2011-3. There is the normal Square ILM ( 80mm x 80mm) on the left, and the Narrow ILM (94mm x 56mm) on the right. ILM stands for Independent Loading Mechanism and is just the fancy name for the metal retention bracket and levers that hold the CPU down.

The Narrow ILM is not something most PC enthusiasts run into though, because it's almost exclusively used on server motherboards to conserve PCB real estate. But that space savings is the exact reason ASRock used it on the X99E-ITX/ac, their crazy X99 Mini-ITX motherboard that everyone else said was infeasible.

Since no consumer heatsinks are compatible with the Narrow ILM, ASRock thoughtfully bundles a Dynatron R24 server heatsink as a backup. They also bundle a bracket to mount the Cooler Master Seidon 240V and a few other AIO water coolers. And there is a similar bracket available from Asetek's eBay store, for Asetek-based AIOs that use their standard mounting.




I don't like pump noise and I'll be flying with the rig this will all eventually go in, so I don't want to water cool. The selection of air coolers that can mount to the Narrow ILM is basically limited to server heatsinks like the R24 that the board comes with though.

And pump noise absolutely pales in comparison to the racket this 2U server heatsink can generate, with the 60mm fan maxing out at 7000 RPM! And the heatsink itself doesn't even cool that well with the CPU under heavy load, so you can actually expect the fan to reach those ear-splitting levels of noise :mad:

Noctua is my brand of choice for heatsinks and fans, and they actually do make workstation heatsinks for the Narrow ILM. But they use a different mounting system than their consumer heatsinks and I need a low-profile cooler like the NH-L12, which isn't available in the workstation line :(




Here you can see the problem with the stock Noctua 2011 mounting bars, they just are too long in this orientation. They're also too short in the other orientation, but even if they weren't, the RAM slots are in the way because everything on this board is an exercise in maximizing space efficiency.

---------------------------
The Solution



I'm crazy and have a poor sense of fiscal responsibility dedicated to solving problems, so obviously the solution was to make my own bracket! XD




This required modeling the NH-L12's stock mounting system (though I modeled the rest of the heatsink for good measure), convincing ASRock to send me a mechanical CAD model of the motherboard to check clearances, and then doing a 3-hour live stream where I put it all together and designed the custom mounting bar:

The actual designing of the mounting bar itself starts about 2 hours and 30 minutes into the video.

Then I made some minor tweaks, got a quote from a local sheet metal shop, and two weeks later ended up with these:



Not much to look at, but they'll do the job :)

---------------------------
Prep work



Here are all the necessary parts:
And I don't even need a screwdriver. The heatsink actually comes with one, 'cause Noctua is awesome like that :cool:




The reason I needed the 2011 mounting kit is that the NH-L12 has a slightly different mounting than the other Noctua heatsinks, because of these fixed mounting screws. The reason for that, is the L12 has the option for a 92x25mm fan mounted to the bottom of the fin array, and that fan would interfere with a taller mounting screw.

But also, there is a subtle difference of 0.5mm in height from the top of the CPU's heatspreader to the top of the motherboard (the stackup height) between Socket 2011-0 (as used in the X79 platform) and 2011-3 (used in X99). Even more confusingly, some X99 motherboards are still using the 2011-0 ILM, so depending on which particular X99 board you get, there could be a 0.5mm height difference that the heatsink has to account for.




To account for these small differences, and to prevent the user from overtightening the screw, the other Noctua heatsinks have spring-loaded screws. Noctua has a spacer kit for the 2011-3 Square ILM available by request, but to be safe, I opted to get the spring-loaded brackets via the NM-I2011 kit. This will prevent me from using a 25mm thick fan on the bottom, but I plan to use the upcoming slim 120mm Noctua on top anyway, so I'm not giving up anything.




Those brackets are attached to the heatsink base with two screws each, so it's a simple swap. And now my NH-L12 is equipped to deal with those pesky stackup height discrepancies.

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Assembly

After getting the NH-L12 prepped, the rest of the assembly is basically the same procedure as mounting to the normal 2011 socket:
  1. The 2011 standoffs are screwed into the threaded studs that are part of the ILM
  2. Place the mounting bars on top the standoffs
  3. Install the thumbscrews that hold the bars in place









Part of the reason the live stream was so long is that I did lots of prep work to ensure there was no interference with the ILM, the rest of the Noctua mounting or heatsink, and the various motherboards components.

That work paid off, and the custom brackets clear the VRM heatsink with room to spare :)

---------------------------​

Then thermal paste is applied, the heatsink is screwed onto the threaded studs in the mounting bars, and it's done! A consumer Noctua heatsink mounted to the Socket 2011-3 Narrow ILM :)



Here it is with a FSP500-50FSPT FlexATX PSU and MSI GTX 1050 Ti low-profile card.




And from this angle you can see why the taller spring-loaded screws prevent thicker fans from fitting on the bottom of the heatsink.

---------------------------
Results

Running Prime95 Blend the Xeon E5-2683 v3 I'm using peaks in the mid 70s celsius, but that's with the Noctua NF-F12 on top only spinning at 1000 RPM. I could easily get better temps, but I prioritize low noise over low temps. If it's under TJ Max I just can't be bothered to care about lowering the load temperatures.

Overall I'm very happy with how this turned out. Everything fit perfectly and now I can hear myself think when the CPU is under load :D
 
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robbee

King of Cable Management
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Sep 24, 2016
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Super clean!!! With that very low profile ram, you may even fit the 120mm fan below the cooler. I have, although I'm a bit worried that the fan is chocking due to the limited clearance for intake.
 
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