Abit IP35 Modding

Overall Score

The Abit IP35 Pro motherboard is a solid board, as has been evidenced by numerous expert reviews, and the opinions of plenty of hardware enthusiasts. As with any great board however, it does have some downfalls. Although great as it is at stock, the board can be improved greatly by doing some simple modding.

There are two main mods for this board. The first of which is a mod to correct the effects of vDroop for the CPU. This mod involves soldering, and is not covered in this thread. (yet.) It can be found here: Johnny Bravo’s volt modding for IP35 Pro The second mod is much less risky, and simpler to do. The flaw corrected by this mod is to decrease the temperatures of the Voltage Regulating Modules (VRMs) on the motherboard. The VRMs are the parts of the computer that supply the correct voltage to the CPU. When these components heat up, this can cause the voltage of the CPU to vary, causing possible instability in the CPU. 

Normally, the VRMs on this motherboard are cooled well enough to run just fine. The problems only occur when one chooses to run a highly overclocked quad core CPU on the motherboard. With a Core2Quad Q6600 at 3.6ghz using 1.46v, the VRMs on this motherboard routinely got to above 85C!  I found this much too high and decided to do something about it. Searching through the internet for help, I stumbled upon Ace-A-Rue’s IP35 Pro Bolt Modding. I found this a good idea, and started my own variation of the mod.

The problem with the way the heatsink is applied on this board (and many others, for that matter) is two fold. The first problem is that the stock Thermal Interface Material (TIM) is not the best for the application. The second problem is that the heatsinks are not held down using adequate mounting pressure. This mod will solve both of these problems.

The problems are further amplified, as there are 3 heatsinks all connected by a heatpipe, and in some cases, the heatpipe is bent slightly, preventing proper heatsink contact, which will then raise the temperature.

Starting from the bottom of the board, the three heatsinks:

[img]P1000580.jpg[/img]
The Southbridge Heatsink.

[img]P1000578.jpg[/img]
The Northbridge Heatsink.

[img]P1000579.jpg[/img]
And the infamous VRM heatsink. This little bugger is what’s causing all our problems! 

Taking a pair of pliers and a bit of careful force, the heatsink is easily removed. Simply pinch the plastic pins with the pliers and push the pins through. Once all six pins are loosened, the heatsink should come off fairly easily.

[img]P1000591.jpg[/img]
The bottom of the heatsink should look like this. As you can see, three different TIMs have been used on the different heatsink sections. The Southbridge has been given a standard white thermal paste, while the Northbridge has a standard thermal pad.

[img]P1000593.jpg[/img]
The VRMs however, have been given a somewhat unusual TIM. It is rather thick, and strangely stretchy. I have no other descriptor to call it other than "malleable rubber." As you can see, the VRMs were all touching this malleable rubber, and my heatpipe is NOT bent. Good.

[img]P1000583.jpg[/img]
Overall look at the board without the stock heatsink installed.

[img]P1000590.jpg[/img]
Closeup of those VRMs I’m working so hard to cool.

Now comes the fun part. First, we’re going to remove all of the stock TIMs from the heatsinks and motherboard components. Then clean the heatsinks and components with pure Isopropyl Alcohol, taking care to not leave any lint or dust behind. Then once the heatsinks are all cleaned up, we can begin the mod.
First, carefully remove all of the plastic pins from the heatsinks. Then add two flat washers to the plastic pin, then replace the pin back into the heatsink. So the order on the pin should be: Spring, two washers, then the heatsink. Repeat this for all six pins. The purpose of this is that when the heatsink is reapplied to the motherboard, this will compress the spring much more than it was originally. Because of this, the spring will exert more pressure, raising the mounting pressure and thus lowering temperatures.
At this point, we need to add some new TIM to the board before heatsink reinstallation. Using a NON-CONDUCTIVE thermal paste, apply a dab to each one of the twelve small black components from the VRM circuit. I used Arctic Silver’s Ceramique, although any similar paste would do as well. Also remember to apply TIM properly to the Northbridge and Southbridges. Then simply stick on the heatsink and push in the pins. Make sure to check to see whether the pins are properly seated.

After this, the pins should each look like this:
[img]P1000600.jpg[/img]
Excuse the poor picture. Closeup of a heatsink pin.

[img]P1000598.jpg[/img]
When completed, the board looks much the same as when you started, but your VRMs will undoubtedly run much cooler.

Once this is done, reinstall the board and start up the PC. Using the Abit uGuru utility, you should be able to monitor the VRM temperatures, which will be much lower. I was personally able to lower my VRM temps from a high 85C down to a much more manageable 66C: a drop of nearly 20C!

Considering the ease of the mod and good results, I would consider this a great sucess! Good luck!

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One Comment on "Abit IP35 Modding"

  1. ldrancer November 29, 2012 at 4:47 am - Reply

    is the xe version of this board have hot vrms, how do you get the temp.

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