PC manufacturers are always chasing ways to lower component temperatures, often going as far as using exotic materials, cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, or innovative new cooling methods. But sometimes the best solution is the painfully simple one, as Noctua proves with its new offset mounting bracket—a part that costs under $5 and lowers CPU temps by as much as 3ºC.
Noctua's latest AM5 mounting bracket is offset by 7mm. That might not sound like much, but it's importantly the exact distance required to set the cooler more centrally over the hottest and most thermally sensitive parts of an AMD Ryzen CPU: the core chiplet die (CCD).
It's AMD's chiplet architecture that's the important thing here. AMD has been using chiplets in its CPUs for many years now, and on the desktop that means an IO die (cIOD) and one or two CCDs. It's the CCD that run hottest, containing up to eight Zen cores each, and in both one- and two-core configurations they sit slightly offset from the centre of the heat spreader.
The hotspot on a Ryzen 7000-series processor isn't bang in the centre of the chip as we see it. That's why Noctua's new mounting kit shifts a cooler down just a touch to better align with it, resulting in better contact pressure, a more even distribution of heat across the cooler, and ultimately that impressive temperature reduction.
Noctua's AM5-compatible coolers will begin to include the offset mounting as standard from later this year, but what I like most about this tweak is that it's cheap to do yourself if you already own a Noctua cooler.
The company is selling tiny mounting bar kits, named NM-AMB12 and NM-AMB15, which replace the ones included with most of its coolers with offset versions. These will be on sale from Noctua for $3.90/€3.90 or Amazon from $4.90/€4.90. You'll need to pick the right kit for whichever cooler you own, but that'll be clearly labelled once they're available to buy (which will be sometime in June).
And if, for whatever reason, you wish to go back to the non-offset version, the same offset mounting bars have screw holes for the standard fit.
The other cool mounting accessory on show at Noctua's Computex booth was a spacer that allows for direct die mounting with delidded CPUs. These are again a tiny, cheap accessory, but a Noctua spokesperson tells me they'll be putting the files up for people to 3D print their own at home.