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Six Smaller P4 Coolers
Date 24th January 2005
Author James "Agg" Rolfe

Thermalright XP-90:
This cooler seems to be a response by Thermalright to the popularity and performance of the XP-120, but addressing the motherboard compatability issues of that larger cooler.

Click to Enlarge
XP-120 (left) and XP-90 (right)

It's extremely similar to the larger model, but one crucial difference is that the heatpipes connecting the base to the upper fin area have a 90 degree bend as they exit the base. On the XP-120, they lazily angle upwards and in doing so clash with components on many motherboards. On the XP-90, they barely protrude from the plastic mounting frame on the motherboard so there should be no compatability issues. There's one less heatpipe, but interestingly more of the fins connect the base to the upper section.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Thermalright's plain cardboard box packaging appears again, containing the cooler itself, a plastic mounting frame for attaching to A64 motherboards, an installation guide sheet, Thermalright sticker, syringe of thermal paste, two strips of rubber to dampen fan vibrations and two sets of fan-mounting clips, for 80mm and 92mm fans. Note that no fan is included, but it's unlikely you would be able to get by on passive cooling alone, so you need to factor in the additional cost of a fan when considering this heatsink.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Unfortunately our XP-90 had some dented fins when we received it. I don't think this would affect performance, but it's interesting to note that the only damaged cooler in the previous roundup was the XP-120. This sample came from Below-0, while the XP-120 came direct from Taiwan, so perhaps Thermalright need to reconsider their packaging. This cooler fits S478, S939/940/754 and there is an adapter available for LGA775.

Cooler Master Jet 4:
The most eye-catching of today's coolers, the Jet 4 sports a large "jet engine" above a copper heatsink. Of course, this jet engine is a radial blower, which draws air in at both ends and blows it down onto the heatsink - so if you're expecting to use the "jet exhaust" to direct airflow through your case, think again. The heatsink itself isn't too remarkable, sporting a thick copper base with fins attached, seemingly soldered or welded to the base.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Included in the retail pack are some mounting clips, thermal paste and dessicant, presumably to stop the copper heatsink corroding in transit. The thermal paste is one of those annoying packets that you either use a tiny amount of and throw away, or have to find some way to store it without it oozing out everwhere. Odd, because Cooler Master's offering in the previous roundup included a syringe like all the other products here. The Jet fan has a rheostat dial for speed control and the kit includes panels to mount the knob in a 3.5" bay or a PCI slot cover. This way you can access the fan speed from outside either the front or back of your PC - handy. The fan is powered by a 4-pin Molex connector, but has an RPM wire going to a 3-pin shell, so you can monitor the fan speed via a fanbus or motherboard.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Mounting is very similar to their Hyper 6 product from the earlier roundup, but thanks to the lips on the heatsink the Jet 4 feels a lot more secure once in place. Less clamping pressure than the Hyper 6 makes it easier to secure, but it's still handy to have a small flat-blade screwdriver when removing the clips. When powered, there's a bright red glow from the back of the Jet and a slowly-blinking very bright white LED at the front, adding to the aircraft-inspired feel of this cooler. They look ok, but there doesn't seem to be any simple way to turn them off if you don't like them.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Noisewise it fares pretty well, being almost silent apart from a faint mechanical whine when the rheostat turned to the lowest setting. This would be probably be drowned out by other noise in most systems. At full speed this is a loud cooler, as you'd expect from a large radial blower. The rheostat knob allows you to choose any speed between these two extremes, but in the middle of the range the fan's mechanical whine adds an irritating edge to the sound.

This cooler only fits S478, but there is a similar "Jet 7" variant for SocketA/370/7. Plus Corporation provided the review sample.

All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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