A user’s gaming PC keeps crashing, a small heat sink is to blame: “I didn’t know something like that could happen”

Tom Henry

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a user's gaming pc keeps crashing, a small heat sink

A man reports on Reddit about his girlfriend’s frequent PC crashes. The reason for this is a small cooler that came loose and triggered a chain reaction in the PC.

For many hardware components, the motto is “bigger, heavier, higher”. This also applies to some RAM models – be it additional RGB lighting on the modules or a sprawling heat sink that protrudes far from the mainboard.

There are also differences between manufacturers in the production and quality of the processed parts. This can sometimes lead to problems that you would not have thought possible.

A Reddit user is now reporting such a problem with his girlfriend’s PC and showing the community that the built-in RAM is the cause. But not every supposed problem with the RAM is actually one.

With our additional tips you will save yourself the time and stress that could arise from PC problems.

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PC heatsinks are not always helpful

What can you see in the photo? In the picture in the Reddit post, the boyfriend is holding his girlfriend’s random access memory bar in his hand.

You can quickly see that something is wrong with the hardware component. The heat sink above has slipped and has therefore covered part of the contact surface, which normally disappears completely into the slot on the motherboard.

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How did this problem arise? The man suspects that the RAM cooler, the so-called heat spreader, has come loose. Due to this misalignment, one side of the heat spreader has moved upwards towards the processor cooler.

In a kind of domino effect, the CPU heatsink or its fan in turn levered the RAM out of its slot in the motherboard.

Since the RAM module was no longer plugged in correctly, this led to blue screens and system crashes during operation. The friend was very surprised by this and wrote in a comment under the post: “I didn’t know that something like that could happen to the heat spreader.”

What is a heat spreader?

A heat spreader is a small piece of metal/sheet metal that is mounted on hardware components that can reach high temperatures during operation. As a heat distributor, the module is intended to dissipate the heat into the surrounding air over its own larger surface.

How was the problem solved? The Reddit user’s friend decided to completely remove the heatsink from the RAM. However, this is not without danger. If done incorrectly, memory chips could be torn out of the RAM, damaging the module and making it unusable.

Is this the end of the story? No not really. His girlfriend was able to remove one side of the heat spreader without damaging the RAM. However, she decided not to continue using the RAM module.

A man reports frequent PC crashes.  The reason for this is a small cooler that triggered a chain reaction in the PC.

Instead, she bought new modules and upgraded her computer to 32 GB of DDR4 memory.

Some gamers also have great luck when purchasing RAM and receive more than they ordered.

Useful tips to avoid hassle when purchasing/upgrading RAM

What should you pay attention to when buying RAM modules? In addition to the storage capacity and speed, the installation height of the desired storage should also be checked. Otherwise it may happen that it collides with the processor’s cooler or fan that is already installed. This makes installation more difficult or even impossible.

RAM in low-profile format is characterized by a low overall height and avoids such problems from the outset.

Are there other possibilities? If you already have the RAM in front of you, you can alternatively look for a CPU heatsink that does not protrude beyond the RAM slots once installed.

On some models, you can also mount the fan on the opposite surface of the processor cooler instead of on the side with the RAM underneath.

Does the RAM necessarily need a heat spreader? No, that depends on what temperatures the module reaches during operation and how warm your computer gets inside.

Temperatures that are too high can lead to throttling or system instabilities. If you have sufficient cooling with several case fans, this shouldn’t generally be a problem.

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