Swiftech MCX4000 Pentium 4 Heatsink Review
I must admit we were a bit surprised to discover that the MCX4000 is made just for the socket 478 Pentium 4 processor. After all, isn't it AMD who drive the cooling market to produce better, and more efficient heatsinks? Intel has always had more money to spend engineering their thermal solutions, and as a result the stock mPGA 478 heatsink is pretty good and very quiet right from the get-go.
Why then is Swiftech releasing a mPGA 478 heatsink with a 3/8" thick copper plate and YSTech TMD fan just for the Pentium 4? Well, knowing Gabe it has a lot to do with overclockability, and now that P4's are overclocking up to 3.0 GHz and beyond the time is right for cooling Swiftech style.
The real question surrounding the MCX4000 will be how well it compares to the stock Intel offering, and that might just be an interesting discovery to say the least...
Now in the past it has been pretty hard to find any faults with Swiftech heatsinks... they are well made, the bases are superb, and the fans are usually pretty large and powerful. Unfortunately, this time around there is one aspect of the MCX4000 that could have been done another way.
The Pentium 4 Heatsink Retention Mechanism which is standard on every single motherboard with a socket 478 works, and works well. We would have preferred to have seen the Swiftech MCX4000 take advantage of the HSRM instead of forcing the user to pull out the motherboard and "reinvent the wheel" as it were.
Currently, installing the MCX4000 entails removing the HSRM mechanism (and any backplane PCB support which may have been present) and then screwing in the nylon nuts and aluminum standoffs for mounting. These mounts inevitably tend to come loose during heatsink removal. Nylon is a great material because it won't scratch or damage the PCB, but by the same token it doesn't have much grip when the screws are coming out; during a processor upgrade for example.
Mounting the MCX4000 heatsink with the screws is not hard, nor is it problematic, but it just seems like extra work which would have been nice if it could have been avoided. The simple mounting mechanism does count towards the lower price of the MCX4000 - just $57USD - and that is always good to see.
YS-Tech Tip Magnetic Drive (TMD) fan:
If you have been following cooling advancements over the past few months there is a chance you have already heard about YS-Tech TMD fans, and everything about how they work. For the rest of us we offer a short description of these nifty fans, and what lies behind that metal casing.
Standard brushless DC fans have a motor in the center which creates a dead spot directly behind. When a fan of this type is used to cool a heatsink the dead spot invariably sits right above the hottest part of the heatsink - over the processor core. YS-Tech developed the TMD fan so that this dead spot would be minimized by about 75%. Exhaust air more evenly exits from the fan to cool the areas below the fins, and behind the spindle.
The motor is housed in each of the four corners of the fan and this is naturally where the name TMD comes from. As a final benefit, the TMD fan produces less noise than a standard fan, but not necessarily as much airflow or static pressure. The trade offs are there, and this is not a replacement for standard fans by any means. Given the right kind of heatsink design however, and the TMD will offer a better end result. Pin-based heatsinks are a prime example, and one of the reasons why Swiftech have used this revolutionary new fan on the MCX4000.
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