Dynatron Model-L Microfin Heatsink Review
Heatsinks come in all types of boxes; some are sturdy cardboard, and others are somewhat flimsy. While it is true that you can't tell a book by its cover, the box does account for at least part of anyone's initial impression of a heatsink. Needless to say, when we opened up the generic white box the DC1206BM-L comes in, we weren't expecting to be surprised in the way we were.
There in a little bit of bubble wrap was a rather unique aluminum heatsink, with a blue fan, and low and behold, a hard plastic cover protecting the base! Now, we've seen bits of thin plastic protecting thermal interface materials before, but this is the first heatsink I've seen with a hard shell over the base.
After struggling for a brief moment to remove the protective cover we were greeted by a perfectly face milled square of aluminum that was nice and smooth. It was at this point, while looking at the base of the heatsink that we noticed how the fins were made from a one-piece unit...
By using a one piece design, the Model-L is able to sport a rather rare quality - it's a thin fin heatsink with no interface between fin and base. That means there is no separation of material from the base plate all the way up to the tip of the fin - it is truly a one piece cooler.
The benefits of this method of heatsink construction are several fold. First and most obviously, the typical problems associated with attaching thin fins to a base plate are removed completely (no glue, solder, or mechanical bonding is necessary). Secondly, the fins can be spaced quite closely (1mm) and made quite thin (0.3mm), ergo improving total surface area and fin pitch.
A look at the bare heatsink
Curious about these microfins? We were to so once a few screws were loosened we were able to look at the full heatsink as it comes off the assembly line. Given the recent introduction of this type of heatsink technology, this is probably going to be the first time you have laid eyes on a heatsink like this. So, without further ado.
The edge of the microfin that is in direct contact with the blade that forms it remains quite smooth and sharp. On the opposite sides, the stresses and motion of a silver of aluminum being drawn up from a flat plate cause it to become a rough surface (kind of like fine sandpaper).
However, it is easy to see that this is indeed a single-piece heatsink with no interface between the fins and the base.
One of the fins begins to wander slightly, but for the most part the fins are of equal height and shape. Dynatron tell us that the yield on these heatsinks is only about 60% because they are so difficult to make without accidentally chipping off a fin.
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