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CPU cooler touches graphics card backplate, is it ok?

Jul 10, 2022
44 (0.17/day)
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Motherboard AORUS B450 ELITE
Cooling Noctua NH-U12S Chromax Black
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I see some comments about my lack of a rear exhaust fan. Not pictured in my original post: 3 front case fans, blowing air from outside into the interior.

As for temps, CPU doesn't crack above 76C in Cinebench R23 (I don't feel comfortable putting the stock cooler on the R5 3600), and GPU maxes out at 70C in modded Skyrim, for example. That said, I do live in a tropical country...
76° with a 3600 ? I'm not in a tropical country but i can't hit 55° in Cinebench with a Noctua of the same size on my 3600 (Noctua NH-U12S). I don't have a lot of personnal example with heatsink but is it normal to have that much of a gap ? Is the Noctua that much better ? If anyone have experience about temp diffenreces between heatsink, i'll take it.
Feb 6, 2021
1,846 (2.36/day)
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Screenshot 2023-01-26 153855.png

And then there is the X570 Steel Legend one of the only motherboards on the market with the PCIe Slot in the first "slot" in a case while being ATX. (the slot is on the same height as the Screwhole)
X570 Steel Legend WiFi ax(L2).png
Feb 20, 2020
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I see some comments about my lack of a rear exhaust fan. Not pictured in my original post: 3 front case fans, blowing air from outside into the interior.

As for temps, CPU doesn't crack above 76C in Cinebench R23 (I don't feel comfortable putting the stock cooler on the R5 3600), and GPU maxes out at 70C in modded Skyrim, for example. That said, I do live in a tropical country...
I don't typically use the top rear fan either bit I have a D15 which I use two fans on it and use cpu and cpu optional ports on the board
The single fan cooler you use I would likely add one there is plenty of room and it can help direct air through the little holes.
Jul 25, 2006
10,645 (1.75/day)
Nebraska, USA
System Name Brightworks Systems BWS-6 E-IV
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The cooler (or any part of it) touching the graphics card (or any part of it) would NOT be acceptable to me. Aluminum is highly conductive.

If me, I would stick a thin, non-conductive cabinet bumper between the contact points.

Even if there is no chance of any electrical current flowing between the two devices, one of these pads will at least prevent any vibration damage (or noise).
Aug 14, 2013
1,850 (0.53/day)
System Name boomer--->zoomer not your typical millenial build
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They're heatsinks and have no electrical charge -perfectly safe other than the risk of the weight of the cooler bending the card down in the future.
I’ve seen enough forum posts about dead GPUs to think it’s a concern. Even Noctua recommends rotating their coolers to avoid contact. But electricity isn’t my strong suit :shrug:
Rear exhaust fans will still help due to air following path of least resistance - you're pushing air in, but without something to guide it to the exhaust you want it'll tend to go up and out, without passing over those rear components
Test it yourself. If intake is strong enough air will escape, assuming there’s low resistance paths to escape. If the rear is sealed it’s another story.
Is it a big change? no - but it's not zero either (especially for motherboard VRM's in that area, that may be getting nothing right now)
Certainly true, but sounds like an intake or chipset or chassis problem
Oct 21, 2005
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If it were me I'd just stick a thin piece of plastic there for piece of mind. Can cut it off a milk jug.
Jun 21, 2021
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My only real concern would be vibration-induced noise. A small piece of foam between the two parts would pretty much eliminate that.

I wouldn't use a hard piece of plastic like a milk carton. There are better materials around the house to use as padding and absorb vibrations.

People who worry about electrical conductivity can simply use a piece of black electrical tape to insulate.
Last edited:


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Oct 6, 2004
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Yeah it is - a lot of ATX boards have a 1x slot above the GPU, while mATX boards and ITX boards have the GPU slot at the very top
Combine that with the new trend of really large GPU backplates, and you dont get much room

This is an ATX board which has 7 slots - where's #7 gone? Oh right, above the GPU.

To the right, the mATX variant - and that CPU-GPU gap is significantly smaller

To prevent the scale being an issue, heres an MS paint where i copied each boards AM4 stock bracket and rotated 90 degrees

If your CPU heatsink or GPU backplate have a live electrical current going through them, your PC is already dead.
If your GPU doesnt have a backplate, it wont contact because it'll be thinner.