Modifying Asus P4C800-E Motherboard Loops for the Swiftech MCW20-P Waterblock

Should work for any motherboard – Ron Wlock


This article describes the construction of replacement motherboard loops to reliably hold the Swiftech MCW20-P water-block in position over the chipset on an Asus P4C800-E motherboard.


Earlier this year, I built a water cooled PC with an Asus P4C800-E motherboard. The Pentium 4 processor and the Intel chipset are cooled with Swiftech MCW5002-P and MCW20-P water-blocks, respectively.


The MCW20-P was installed as per the supplied instructions and mounted on two of the four existing motherboard loops. These loops are soldered to the motherboard and are designed to hold down the Asus aluminum chipset heat sink.


The hold-down mechanism for the MCW20-P uses a nylon spacer as a tension limiting device to ensure the force on the motherboard loop is not excessive. See the illustration below.


After several months of trouble free operation, I was installing a new DVD drive and noticed the MCW20-P was held in place by only one motherboard loop. One loop was missing and eventually it was found on the bottom of the computer case. The loop apparently “popped” out of the motherboard.

My first reaction was to re-solder the loop back into position on the motherboard, but I decided to email Swiftech technical support for a second opinion. Swiftech replied and suggested using a paper clip, formed into a closed loop, as an alternative. After easily pulling the second loop out of the motherboard with a pair of pliers, I realized that the solder joint is not reliable and decided to design a replacement loop.

Paper Clip Loop Design

The replacement loop is made from a metal wire paper clip cut to 18 mm in length. The paper clip is inserted through the existing holes in the motherboard and through a piece of insulating plastic on the underside of the motherboard to prevent the paper clip from shorting the motherboard tracings.


Once the paper clip is inserted into the motherboard with the plastic insulator, the ends of the clip are bent 90 degrees, wrapped with 22 gauge bare copper wire and soldered. For the soldering operation, the clip is pushed away from the motherboard to ensure heat does not damage the motherboard.




The paper clip loop design is very robust, inexpensive and should permanently hold the MCW20-P water block in position.

Ron Wlock

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