Published: February 21, 2023
If you need help learning how to install the Wraith Stealth cooler, which is a popular stock cooler that comes with many AMD CPUs, this step by step guide will make it easy. Before continuing make sure you're aware of basic safety precautions when working on the inside of a computer, mainly that you need to ground yourself by touching metal before handling any PC components (or wearing an anti-static strap if you want to really be on the safe side). See the main PC assembly steps if you need more details, otherwise let's get straight into the AMD stock cooler installation steps.
Oh and for now just keep your CPU cooler in its plastic packaging for now until you're ready to install it. Don't take it out and rest it directly on your table/work space because there is thermal paste pre-applied underneath the cooler and you don't want to smudge it or get dust on it.
Before installing the stock AMD cooler, make sure your processor is properly seated in the CPU socket and the socket is locked (the small retention arm must be all the way down and horizontal to the motherboard).
Related: CPU Installation Steps
If you're installing the Wraith Stealth cooler into an existing desktop computer, and you previously removed the old CPU cooler, make sure the top of the CPU is clean of any old thermal paste (or general dust and debris). Use a lint-free cloth and isopropyl alcohol if you need to wipe off any thermal paste residue from the previous cooler.
Speaking of paste, there is no need to apply thermal paste yourself when it comes to installing stock AMD coolers such as the Wraith Stealth as they already come with thermal paste pre-applied to the bottom:
If you bought a second-hand Wraith Stealth cooler that's already been used, it may not have pre-applied paste in which case you will need to apply thermal paste yourself.
Unlike the Wraith Prism cooler which requires mounting brackets for installation, the Wraith Stealth cooler needs to be mounted directly onto the motherboard (without the brackets). Check your motherboard for the presence of the following 2 brackets pictured below, and if you have them on your board you will need to remove them:
To remove the AMD mounting brackets, simply unscrew the 4 screws using a screwdriver:
You need to keep the rear backplate though, so once you've removed the 2 mounting brackets keep the backplate and the 4 corners of it poking through the motherboard so that your setup looks like this:
Now it's time for the actual installation of the AMD stock cooler. Grab the Wraith Stealth cooler, and hold it by its sides. Make sure not to touch the pre-applied thermal paste on the bottom when handling it. Carefully lower it onto the CPU by aligning each of the 4 corners of the cooler onto the 4 screws of the backplate.
When you have all 4 corners lined up, you need to progressively screw each corner of the cooler into the motherboard one at a time in a diagonal order. So what that means is, pick one corner to start with and only tighten it slightly (a half turn clockwise).
Enough so that it makes a connection with the screw on the motherboard (or more specifically the screw from the backplate). Then do the same for the corner diagonally opposite, so that you don't tighten the cooler in an unbalanced way (and risk it leaning to one side too much and potentially coming off as you try to mount it). Then do the same for a third corner (doesn't matter which one now), and then the last one.
Once you've done this half turn on each corner, go back to the first corner and do a full turn, and repeat in the same pattern for all corners. Then do a third pass, this time tightening the screws fully until you feel resistance and can't turn any more (do not force it - stop once you feel that resistance).
Once you've tightened all 4 corners, you want to double check that the cooler is properly balanced and properly secured to the motherboard. You can do this by grabbing the cooler and carefully lifting up the motherboard from your table/work bench slightly. If the Wraith Stealth cooler is properly installed, there won't be any movement from the cooler and it will feel solidly attached to the motherboard as if it were actually part of it.
To finish the AMD stock cooler installation, all you need to do is plug in the fan cable to the CPU fan header on your motherboard. The header should be labelled "CPU_FAN" as shown below. If you can't find the header, refer to your motherboard manual.
If your fan cable is loose and could get in the way of your fan or other components, try to tuck it away somewhere next to the cooler:
For mid-range CPUs, the Wraith Stealth cooler is more than adequate and typically performs well enough for most people.
However, if you plan to overclock your CPU, or you simply want the lowest temperatures and the least amount of noise, consider upgrading to a better third-party CPU cooler such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black.
Or if you want the ultimate cooling performance and lowest noise in an air cooler, the Noctua NH-D15 is one of the best coolers on the market.
The following CPUs come included with the Wraith Stealth RGB LED cooler:
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