Review: EVGA’s CLC CPU cooler

For a brief and fleeting moment, I was cool in high school, my 15 minutes of fame. As it turned out while poking around a garage’s trash can one night, I found an old Rochester 2-barrel Chevy carburetor. I took it home, cleaned it up, and took it apart. And then I cleaned all the parts and put it back together. In the process, I figured out how it worked, and I could see why this one had been tossed (I guess it had no core value). I didn’t have a car, but I knew pretty much how they worked, and now I had an even deeper understanding. I can’t tell you how much that helped in Algebra and history class.

Then, one day, walking home and not paying attention, I found myself in the wrong neighborhood. Looking for a speedy exit, I turned left on 4th street right into four guys with a chopped 49 Ford and its hood up. Curiosity got the better of me and instead of running from these leather-jacketed Jets, I peered into the engine compartment. After a couple of what the hell you looking at and some sneers, I asked what the problem was. “It’s the carb, asswipe,” I was told. “Oh yeah? Mind if take a look?” And as you have guessed, I spotted the problem, made a suggestion, they tried it and it worked. Once the engine was running, they were so pleased they gave me a ride home. And as luck would have it, most of my pals were hanging out when they pulled up and I got out. They slapped me on the arm and said, “See ya around Peddie, keep your nose clean.” And for that brief moment, my friends thought I was cool.

Today, Kathleen thought I was cool. That’s because our I9 test machine is even cooler. It wasn’t always so cool. It used to have a Cooler Master heatsink and it would howl during benchmarking runs.

The original set up.

The Cooler Master had one advantage—it fit snugly in the chassis. But it had to go, we spend too much time next to this machine to listen to that wingless jet plane all day. Robert and Evan wear noise-canceling earphones. I used to think it was to drown me out, I found out differently when I had to run some tests due to COVID-19 separation. The other thing I didn’t like about the Cooler Master was the exposed fan fins.

The EVGA unit was bigger—bigger heatsink, and over 2× the fan size, because it has two fans, not one.


The big, dual-fan radiator was definitely going to cool things off—if I could find someplace to put it. After trying to fit it in various places and considering hanging it off the back, I finally settled on bolting it to the roof of the chassis. It already was a cooling vent and it conveniently had a lot of holes in it. What was even better, the grill on the top of it was attached magnetically so it would come off and go back on easily.

Out with the old

Bracket in the wrong place.

Four knurled retainer nuts with slot driver head held down the bracket that pulled the heatsink down close and personal to the greasy CPU’s face. Removing them revealed the studs coming out of the motherboard. Those studs are free agents and not attached to the motherboard, but rather on their own bracket which inconveniently slips right out of the holes and falls away.

In addition to the archaeological discoveries I made so far was the mysterious power cable from the Cooler Master fan that went snaking under the motherboard. Chasing that worm led to the no-connection connectors (at the top of the previous image); spare power cords.

With everything cleared out, I mounted the radiator on the top venting panel. That introduced two new problems. One was it also sat right on top of the system memory, and the other was that I could only line up two of the eight built-in threaded holes in the radiator. I chose the two in the center and middle figuring that was the best load distribution I could get.

Next was wrestling the EVGA heatsink bracket onto the studs. First off I put a little box under the stud bracket to hold it up and laid the system on top of it. Then, because the distance from the bracket to the contact panel of the heatsink of the EVGA units was 1/8-inch wider than the Cooler Master, I had to strong-arm the knurled retainer nuts in place, which put a little extra tension on the bracket. That didn’t bother me, and I figured if properly greased, the more pressure the better. But it was a royal pain in the butt getting the nuts on in the back to engage where the space was so tight. Then, in a classic tire replacement pattern, I tightened the nuts. I plugged in the fan and heatsink’s temp sensor cables to the motherboard and noticed that EVGA also had extra cables, and with multiple connectors. You just never know what kind of a motherboard or CPU you’re going to encounter. EVGA also provided a couple of extra heatsink mounting brackets just in case it was an AMD motherboard.

The final configuration looks pretty good. I’ll have to unbolt the radiator if I ever have to replace the system DIMMs, but they’re Corsair, which have been very reliable.

All tucked in and ready to go to work—stay where you are memory.

And then, I powered up the system and realized what an uncool dope I was. That happened when I downloaded CPUID’s CPU temperature monitor app. DUH!!!  Why didn’t I do that before I ripped out Cooler Master so I’d have a comparative measurement—definitely not cool. I hope none of those ex-Jets are reading this; if they are, they’re going to take my leather jacket away.

CPUID reported that the I9-9900k was indeed cool, running happily at 34-c and best of all with silent fans. How cool is that?