Intel P4 Aircooling - Heatsink Roundup Q4 2004

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2004-10-28

In this roundup we compare 13 different P4 heatsinks made by Thermalright, Coolermaster, Scythe, Speeze, Swiftech, Evercool, Aerocool and TTIC. Using different fans at low and high speed we try to find the best bang for the buck, best performer and most silent heatsink out there.

  • prev
  • next

Thermalright XP-90

Thermalright XP-90:

This is Thermalright’s latest additions to their high end heatsink family. Made from copper and aluminum it aims at offering the performance of the SP-94 at lower cost.


This heatsink can be installed on:

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

* Copper base with with 4 heatpipes, fins in aluminum
* 80 and 92mm fan support
* 360gr


Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

The design of the XP-90 and XP-120 is very similar as you can see in the comparison pictures above; the XP-90 is the smaller one of the two. Thermalright stepped away from their tried and tested SLK/SP design of heatsink and went back to drawing boards. They came up with this, a mixture of heatpipes, copper and aluminum, rolled into one. The heatpipes are joined in a copper base, and the heat from the heatpipes is transferred to aluminum fins which are spread out to create the largest possible surface. This creates a new challenge when it comes down to motherboard compatibility. Where as the older SLK/SP models only had the occasional run in with a difficult motherboard layout, with the XP-120 the problem was much larger, their compatibility list for the XP-120 (P4/A64) features a lot of text in the comments field next to a whole line-up of motherboards, including my Asus P4C800. For those who can not fit the XP-120, Thermalright designed the XP-90 which fits every motherboard out there, either A64 or P4, so that’s good news!

Another novelty in comparison with the SP-94 is that heatsink orientation no longer influences performance! The heatsink comes with 2 rubber bands which need to be placed between the fan and the heatsink to remove vibration noise


Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

Motherboard removal is advised but not required, you will have to go to some length to access the 4 clips and push them over the Intel retention bracket’s lips. For removal a screwdriver will come in handy. Overall not too much hassle to install the heatsink and it can be removed and installed quite easily if the motherboard is outside of a case.

Problems and issues:

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

  • compatability: No remarks here, you need to have quite a fancy north bridge heatsink in order to cause problems with the XP-90, and if you do want to use a fancy NB sink, then you can simply turn around the XP-90 and be done with it!

  • fan mounting clips: the included clips only with fans which have open corner flanges


    Madshrimps (c)

    The only fan which did not provide enough airflow to keep the system stable was the Papst 92mm at “low” setting, the SP-94 has a large copper base to use as a buffer zone and this gives it the edge. You might have noticed those 120mm results in the list. Using the 92mm fan clips and some rubber bands you are able to secure a 120mm fan on the heatsink, although I do not recommend it for running 24/7, unless you swap those rubber bands for more stronger gear. The Panaflo 92mm delivers some excellent results, only beaten by the Coolink which is much noisier, and the YS-Tech 120mm. Putting a fan in “suck” configuration can shaves 1-2°C from your temperature.

    Overall performance of the XP-90 can be summed up very quickly: good performance with high speed fans, excellent performance with low speed fans.

    Let’s take a look at its bigger brother ->
    • prev
    • next