I will be using an Intel LGA775 CPU and motherboard for testing.  In most cases, you will probably want to complete installation of the CNPS9300 AT cooler before installing the motherboard into your PC enclosure.  The User’s Manual includes detailed and well illustrated instructions for installing the cooler. 

Prior to installation, the CPU IHS and the CNPS9300 AT base were cleaned with isopropyl alcohol before applying a small amount of Zalman’s thermal compound to the top of the CPU. 

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The first step is to position the Intel backing plate underneath the CPU socket and install the 775 retention frame with the four provided screws.  Then you carefully set the cooler on top of the CPU (after applying thermal compound of course) and secure it with a small cross bar and two more machine screws.  It takes quite a bit of force to flex the cross bar down into position so you can get the screws in.  The job could be made much simpler if Zalman would use longer screws that could engage the retention frame without having to flex the cross bar and let the screws pull everything down into position as they were tightened.

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Overall, the CNPS9300 AT CPU cooler proved easy to install onto my LGA775 test bed.  Yes, you most likely will have remove the motherboard if your system is already installed in a case and you have to flex the cross bar into position with a lot of force but these are minor issues IMHO and better than relying on the stock push-pin mounting arrangement.  And thanks to its relatively compact size, clearance around the socket area components was good and there were no problems with interference. 

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(Courtesy Zalman USA)

For many users a typical mid-tower case with a rear panel exhaust fan will line up with the CNPS9300 AT and assist with airflow thru the cooler.

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