Here’s a classic PC-building horror story: You need to access to your CPU and go to remove its cooler. But unbeknownst to you while you’re extracting that cooler, your processor remains stuck to it and violently rips free from the motherboard socket. At best you’re staring at a few lightly bent pins on either your CPU or motherboard, and at worst you’ve got broken pins and a shattered heart.
You can usually avoid this issue by following a few easy steps before unmounting CPU cooler, but accidents still happen. Enter Gelid’s new CPU protection bracket for Ryzen processors. AMD’s popular chips tend to be more susceptible to accidents during CPU cooler removal, so this $1.50 accessory adds an extra layer of insurance by physically restraining the CPU in its socket. In theory, after installing this bracket your Ryzen processor should remain in place when it would’ve been otherwise yanked free.
At that price, you can’t really go wrong in trying to further protect yourself from possible hours of nerve-wracking repair time or the purchase of a whole new CPU. The only real downside this protection bracket is its limited compatibility—you can only use it with Gelid’s own line of AM4 coolers.
Hopefully, more CPU cooler manufacturers begin to offer something like it for their own products. The new builders we’ve advised in the past would have found it reassuring to include in a first DIY PC, and even us veterans can use the extra help sometimes. My perfect sixteen-year streak of never encountering CPU cooler removal woes came to an extremely unexpected end just last week, resulting in a 50-minute repair session that also included all the stages of grief.
(Ironically, it happened in a build where there was no paste, as it was purely for visual demonstration purposes—but I hadn’t let the processor’s integrated heat spreader finish drying after wiping off the previous cooler’s thermal paste before slapping on the demo cooler’s pump.)
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CPUs and Processors
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.