How to Fix Your CPU Cooler Won’t Fit the Motherboard

Wondering why your CPU cooler won’t fit the motherboard? It’s a damn annoying thing when your CPU cooler isn’t screwing in.

As an expert who spends the better part of the day in front of his desktop computer, I found that this complication mostly occurs when the GPU cooling fan isn’t compatible with the motherboard.

Well, CPU coolers play an integral role in dissipating extra heat generated by the central processor that sits at the heart of your gaming PC. So, installing a suitable CPU cooler guarantees its optimal functionality.

If you’re a novice, this article is for you. It compiles the reasons why your CPU cooler won’t fit the motherboard and easy ways to fix the issue.

cpu cooler won't fit motherboard

Reasons Why Your CPU Cooler Won’t Fit Motherboard

When building a PC for the first time, beginners are likely to run into this problem with any type of CPU cooler – a liquid cooler or an air cooler.

You need to figure out why your CPU cooler doesn’t fit on the motherboard before putting the computer in the case.

Whatever it is, the next thing would be to follow the ideas we’ll provide shortly to correct the whole issue hassle-free. The reasons may include;

The CPU Cooler is Incompatible with the Motherboard

Whenever the screw pillars on a new CPU cooler don’t go through the motherboard holes to fit the bracket, then there’s a compatibility issue.

The CPU, motherboard, RAM, coolers, monitor, and the case should be compatible for your PC to function properly.

Check out whether or not the cooler is compatible with the motherboard. This will depend on the type of motherboard you’re having. If it doesn’t fit, you must replace it with an ideal cooler to fix the issue.

Any mismatch can make your computer stop working as expected or rather damage other delicate parts.

The Backplate Isn’t Correctly Placed

Wrong backplate placement could be another reason you’re encountering this problem. If the CPU backplate is positioned incorrectly or has fallen off, then you’re using the wrong screws for installation.

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I should point out that the backplate exists for two reasons – to hold the cooler’s weight and prevent the motherboard from bending.

With the backplates improperly placed, the cooler will keep on fiddling around.

Inaccurate Installation

After doing a bit of digging, I noticed that most users facing this problem don’t configure the PC components accurately. A faulty setup makes your CPU cooler not fit on the motherboard.

You need to take some precautions when installing or replacing the CPU cooler. Otherwise, you risk running into trouble.

Tips To Make Your CPU Cooler Fit Motherboard

Tech specialists advocate the CPU as the brain of your computer any day. So, anything around it must function properly.

In case your cooler won’t fit on the motherboard, here are the possible solutions;

Pick a Compatible Cooler with the Motherboard

To eliminate this problem, you need to choose an appropriate cooler for an excellent PC build. Any mismatch can result in low efficiency and substandard performance.

With plenty of coolers out there, some won’t fit with some motherboards. In the same way, not every cooler you buy will match your with the motherboard.

One factor that affects the compatibility is the brand. Motherboards share a handful of features but differ in make, no doubt.

Start by checking out the type of the motherboard on your PC system, model number of the sockets, and TDB details. That’s the info worth having at your fingertips before any purchase.

So long as everything corresponds, you can make the next move.

Perfectly Position the CPU Backplate

It’s ridiculous to find out your CPU cooler won’t screw in just because of the backplate misplacement. Or the backplates have fallen off while installing the cooler.

The sockets must be perfectly positioned to eradicate this issue. Be sure to buy the right sockets in the first place.

For better placement, manually position the cooler so that all four screws align perfectly with the CPU backplate’s holes.

Next, use your screwdriver to turn all screws a half-turn clockwise. I got into this mix-up a while ago and only noticed it after taking everything off. Luckily, I fixed it by placing the backplate the right way.

I recommend pressing down the backplate so that you can gradually tighten the screws. Don’t take my words for it, try it out. Trust, it makes a difference.

Proper Installations

There’s no negotiation when it comes to installing the CPU cooler and configuring the entire PC system. You can’t just do it blindly.

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Most of us can install the cooler manually, but you ought to do it correctly for everything to run as intended.

Take into consideration some cautions before heading over to the whole process. Make use of the user manual supplied if you’re unsure. 

How To Install A CPU Air Cooler?

With air coolers, there’s just a little preparation needed. Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to install a new CPU cooler on your motherboard.

  • Align your cooler with the CPU’s backside
  • Match and insert the contact points into the motherboard’s holes.
  • Carefully tighten the screws while you apply some pressure (push down)
  • After everything is plugged in, power up your system

In most cases, a new CPU cooler is laced with thermal paste. It comes pre-applied on the backside of the Central processor. No need to add it here.

What if you’re reinstalling the cooler? Firstly, the top of the CPU lid must be clean. Meaning there should be no traces of old thermal paste. Use the lint-free or isopropyl to spark it clean.

How To Install A CPU Liquid Cooler (AIO CPU Cooler)

First-time buyers looking to swap out their air coolers for liquid coolers won’t have an easy feat during the installation. AIO liquid cooling installation is a bit tricky because it entails some additional procedures.

Ultimately the AIO CPU cooler features extra benefits, including lower temperatures and additional RGB lighting to your PC system. So, it’s worth backing.

Do you want to keep your rig cool without falling short on performance? Liquid coolers are my favorite units, and here are the steps I follow to install liquid cooling.

  • Install the backplate after getting the right CPU cooler bracket.
  • Position the backplate screw holes uniformly to fit through the motherboard’s holes.
  • Set up the fans on the radiator. Remember to orient your fans correctly.
  • Using the long screws provided, secure both the fans and radiator to the casing.
  • Connect the cables to relevant RGB connectors and fan headers to power up the CPU AIO cooler

Tip:  The above steps are essential in case you’re building your new PC from scratch. You can always consult the user manual for more help.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do You Need To Upgrade Your CPU Cooler?

A top-tier CPU cooler keeps your computer cool. And that’s what every user yearns for. On the assumption that your cooler isn’t working best for you, the next step would be to upgrade it.

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Changing your CPU cooler is dependent on two critical factors;

  • The compatibility with other upgraded gaming PC components e.g. the CPU itself
  • The state of your current cooler

As long as the cooler is compatible with the CPU motherboard you’re upgrading, no need to replace it. Popular CPU coolers can fit in nearly every motherboard. Besides, a high-quality cooler should considerably last.

On the condition that your cooler is incompatible with the already upgraded CPU, you’ve no other choice but to upgrade.

You should replace the cooler if it breaks or deteriorates. From my experience, if it meets your particular needs and maintains good temps, don’t upgrade yet.

A reliable CPU cooler can serve between 1 and 3 years without any maintenance. Take care of your CPU cooler by cleaning and flushing it on a regular basis. 

Do All CPU Coolers Fit All Motherboards?

Admittedly, 80% of modern CPU coolers are compatible with most socket types in the market. Be mindful that your motherboard is your socket type.

The design of the motherboard however determines whether or not a cooler will fit. Users who’ve invested in motherboards, which are un-cluttered around the CPU area, are lucky.

Any CPU cooler can work with such a unit without any problem. Take a step to know the type of socket you have.

Do CPUs Come With Their Own CPU Cooler?

Yes, most units are well-equipped with a cooler. Be that as it may, there are some exceptions. It’s therefore advisable to carry out some research and check the CPU cooler specifications before adding it to cart.

Reaching out to the manufacturer is another fruitful idea. That way, you’re good to go.

Final Words

The truth is; a CPU cooler is necessary for the PC. You already know why your cooler won’t fit on the motherboard. Thankfully, our guide helps you fix this problem by implementing these helpful tips.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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