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"thermal armor" PCF (chipset) fan : bad design? must remove & replace?

Level 7
so there's this old mainboard I got for a bargain (never been used) and I wanna know :


my mainboard's PCH has this "protection" :

basically it's a small heatsink with a fan & all covered by plastic

now they call it "thermal armor"

but logic says it's more like a thermal trap because:

1) it all depends on the fan, and the fan will fail (small fans are designed to fail)

2) the plastic cover will act as an INSULANT since air's no longer blown up when the fan fails

3) NO HEATPIPE (unlike the Rampage boards) so cannot evacuate the heat out of the PCH heatsink, when the fan fails: the heat remains trapped under the plastic cover

in other words when the fan fails this protection becomes the opposite of a protection

so this smells of planned obsolescence right? they designed this to fail & damage the board by frying the PCH

so should I remove this whole thing (the plastic along with the heatsink & fan) and just put a bigger passive chipset heatsink instead?

like this one:

at least it's "open" (not smothered by plastic) and doesn't depend on a fan

Level 14
Fair enough ... I'd assumed the fan must be there for a purpose (the board might run the part beyond Intel's rated 7.8W spec, etc) ... but it seems passive cooling is a workable option, unless that fan/heatsink is necessary because it's also cooling other parts covered by that fixture.
"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." - Douglas Adams


no idea what else it covers couldn't find a pic where it was unmounted

on the other hand the z77 chipset can't be that different from the x79 no? I found this pic of the P8Z77-M :

small PCH heatsink (and no fins)

the one on the 'pro' version has a few more fins but still smaller than my blue zalman :

so if z77 doesn't heat up too much then maybe the x79 doesnt either


1) are there prime95 equivalents for the PCH? (a way to "stress test" the chipset. north or south bridge whatever it's called. like the one in that pic of the x79 sabertooth)

2) is there a thermal throttle or thermal shutdown protection for the PCH like there is for the CPU?
for instance in Bios there is a "thermal monitor" option for the CPU which can be disabled - that's suicide I know - but no "thermal" option for the PCH. does that mean there's no built-in safety shutdown for PCH overheating?!?