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nPowertek TTIC NPH K8-1 Heatsink Review
nPowertek TTIC NPH K8-1 Heatsink Review
Abstract: NPH K8-1 Socket 939 heatsink looks deceptively simple at first glance; but at the heart of this socket 754/939/940 Athlon64 heatsink is a huge copper cylinder.

 Manufacturer  Category  Published  Author 
nPowertek   Cooling / Heatsinks   May 17, 2006   Max Page  

The Thermal Transtech International Corp. NPH K8-1 Socket 939 heatsink looks deceptively simple at first glance; but at the heart of this socket 754/939/940 Athlon64 heatsink is a huge copper cylinder. The large copper column supporting its many copper fins is not technically a heatpipe as we know it, it's what TTIC call a "heat column." This column, 25mm in diameter and made from a hollow copper cylinder which is vacuum sealed, has a chemical coating on the inside that works to the same effect as a wick in a traditional heatpipe... at least as far as we can glean from TTICs patent on the technology.

The heat column transfers heat from the processor core and moves it vertically up to approximately 30 copper fins measuring roughly 60x75mm in size. The 25mm diameter copper column passes up through the center of each of the 0.2mm thick copper fins, conducting heat to each fin in the process. A single 70mm fan blows air through the copper fins, although another fan can also be added if desired.

nPowerTek's NPH K8-1 heatsink weighs in at 623 grams, making a pretty heavy candidate for processor cooling. Our initial thoughts are that the 80mm fan may prove too small for an open framed heatsink such as this. On the other hand, small fans help promote quiet cooling... so perhaps it's best to wait for the results of the thermal tests before passing judgement.

nPowerTek NPH K8-1 Heatsink
Manufacturer: Thermal Transtech Int'l Corp. / nPowerTek
Model No.: TTIC NPH K8-1
Materials: copper fins, copper heat column
Fan Mfg: Everflow R128018DM
Fan Spec: 3500PM, 12V, 0.25A
Fan Dim: 15x80x80mm
Heatsink & Fan Dim: 100x81x103mm
Weight: 623 grams
Includes: PCB support plate, mounting screws, thermal compound

Compatible with Sockets: 478, 754/939/940 (not AM2 compatible)
Est. Pricing: $25USD ($30CDN)

The flimsy fan support frame arrived bent right out of the box, so a little metal muscle may be in order first. The fan support connects to the extruded aluminum base, and simply rests on the top of the heatsink by the cap. The base is designed to accommodate both socket 478 and socket 754/939/940 screw posts. Obviously, this means the nPowerTek NPH K8-1 heatsink is completely unusable with socket AM2 processors.

You Know Heatpipes, What About Heat Columns?

According to this documentation by QuTech , the heat column used here is essentially an empty cylinder of copper which has been internally coated with a thin "superconducting heat transfer medium." The copper cylinder is sealed off at both ends, and inside is under a vacuum of approximately 1 Torr.

Patent no. 6,132,823 explains QuTech's very interesting and potentially revolutionary process to the topic of heatpipes, entitled Superconducting Heat Transfer Medium. Here is a short excerpt from the patent which explains the technology in plain english... but feel free to skip ahead to the actual heatsink review.

"Inorganic Medium Thermal Conductive Device. This heat conducting device greatly improved the heat conductive abilities of materials over their conventional state. Experimentation has shown this device capable of transferring heat along a sealed metal shell having a partial vacuum therein at a rate of 5,000 meters per second.

On the internal wall of the shell is a coating applied in three steps having a total optimum thickness of 0.012 to 0.013 millimeters. Of the total weight of the coating, strontium comprises 1.25%, beryllium comprises 1.38%, and sodium comprises 1.95%....

The fact that a conventional heat pipe shares a similar outside shape to a thermal superconductive heat pipe used to raise some misunderstandings. Therefore, it is necessary to give a brief description on the differences and similarities of the two.

A convectional heat pipe makes use of the technique of liquids vaporizing upon absorbing great amounts of heat and vapors cooling upon emitting heat so as to bring the heat from the pipe's hot end to its cold end. The axial heat conducting velocity of the heat pipe depends on the value of the liquid's vaporization potent heat and the circulation speed between two forms of liquid and vapor. The axial heat conducting velocity of the heat pipe also is restrained by the type and quantity of the carrier material and the temperatures and pressures at which the heat pipe operates (it can not be too high).

The present superconductive heat transfer device is made of a thermal superconductive medium whose axial heat conduction is accomplished by the thermal superconductive mediums' molecules high speed movement upon being heated and activated. The present superconductive heat transfer device's heat conducting velocity is much higher than that of any metal bars or any convectional heat pipes of similar size, while its internal pressure is much lower than that of any convectional heat pipe of the same temperature."

Heat Column technology has surfaced on a few heatsinks we've tested already, and it seems to be gaining a foothold in the industry. However, since most people would be hard pressed to explain what a heatpipe is, or does, the "superconducting" heatpipe, or heat column is probably going to continue to generate a lot of confusion for years to come.

FrostyTech's new Test Methodology is outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at the nPowerTek NPH K8-1 heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course it performance in the thermal tests!

° Next Page 

Table of Contents:

 1: — nPowertek TTIC NPH K8-1 Heatsink Review
 2:  360° View - nPowertek NPH K8-1 Heatsink Review
 3:  Surface Roughness and Acoustic Comparisons
 4:  Final Heatsink Temperature Comparisons

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