Intel's Nehalem processors require a new generation of socket 1366 heatsinks that may or may not be compatible with socket 775, and the recently talked about socket 1156 Lynnfield CPUs. The problem is motherboard heatsink retention hole spacing around the processor.
Socket 775 heatsinks use a 72mm x 72mm hole spacing. Socket 1156 heatsinks are set to 75mm x 75mm. Intel socket 1366 heatsinks on the otherhand use a 80mm x 80mm hole spacing. Most manufacturers are releasing brackets with their Intel heatsinks that will bridge the different spaces... but not all.
Top Socket 1366 Nehalem CPU Heatsink Questions
1). Will current Intel socket
775 heatsinks fit on Intel socket 1366 or socket 1156 motherboards?
The reason is 'Nehalem' processors have somewhat different power specs, but more importantly the mounting pins which affix the heatsink to the motherboard are spaced further apart. For socket 1366 motherboards the holes are spaced 80mm apart, for socket 775 motherboard that distance was 72mm. Socket 1156 motherboards take the middle ground with a spacing of 75mm.
2). If I use a socket 775-to-1366 adaptor bracket to make my existing Intel heatsink fit onto a Socket 1366 motherboard, is that okay?
Answer: Maybe yes, probably not.
The integrated heatspreader on the socket 1366 Intel Nehalem processor is
larger than the IHS on socket 775 CPUs (32x35mm vs. 29.5x29.5mm). That fact,
coupled with the difference in heat output between each CPU generation means not
every LGA775 heatsink is appropriate for use on a socket 1366 processor.
However, some performance cooling manufacturers will have adaptor brackets for
existing heatsinks so they can be used with socket 1366 motherboards.
3). Do Nehalem socket 1366 heatsinks use the plastic push pin clips, or
Answer: Yes to both.
The socket 1366 heatsinks we've seen first hand use
spring-tensioned machine screws to attach the heatsink to a metal backing plate.
However, Intel's socket 1366 reference heatsinks (and retail heatsinks) use
standard through-PCB plastic push-pin mounting brackets.
4). Is there an equivalent AMD-type heatsink retention cage for
socket 1366 heatsinks?
Socket 1366 heatsinks mount to the motherboard
directly, either with the aid of a metal rear support plate or push pin clips that grab onto the motherboard.