With overclocking becoming a bigger and bigger fad in the technological world, users and CPUís demand better cooling to keep up with the excess temperature from overclocking. Companies are trying to produce better and better cooling solutions for the overclocker and the enthusiasts. At the top, we have Thermalright who was kind enough to send their latest socket A heatsink, the SLK-900A.
The SLK-900 comes in two flavors, the A and the U. The A is only compatible with the AMD A socket while the U is universal, hence the name, and is compatible with both AMD and P4 setups. The deal with the U version is that it requires 4 mounting holes on the motherboard, as it does not use the 3-prong clips to hold the heatsink in place.
Though the SLK-900A is just a heatsink instead of the heatsink fan solutions like most competitors, it is able to accept a variety of case fans ranging from 65mm to an awesome 92mm with the stepping at the top of the heatsink. Along with the SLK-900A come three sets of spring clips that correspond to the size of the fan a user is trying to install. To use these clips, there are holes on the heatsink that corresponds to the size of fan that the user is trying to use. The diagram below will give a more detailed description of the stepping and the holes. The same diagram can be found on Thermalrightís website.
(Click to enlarge)
The packaging that the SLK-900A came in was plain but still pleasing to the eye. The heatsink was held inside by more cardboard folded to accommodate its shape to prevent any shipping mishaps. It came along with three sets of spring clips, a syringe of thermal paste, 4 pads that go under the heatsink to prevent cracking the core, two black rubber strips for T.M.D fans, and of course the SLK-900A. This monster weighs in at a hefty 527 grams (heatsink only), which is about 1.5 lbs. Its top dimensions are L96 x W59 x H44 (mm), without fan and its base dimensions are L34 x W59. Because of the large size of the heatsink, it may run into capacitors on certain motherboards that have their capacitors placed too closely to the CPU.
Enter the SLK-900A
At first glance, the SLK-900A is a marvel of a heatsink. It is very large compared to standard heatsinks used with heatsink fan combos. What is even more surprising is the weight. Weighing in at 527 grams (1.5lbs), it is quite heavy compared to most heatsink fans out there. The SLK-900A also comes with a seal at the bottom of the heatsink to prevent scratching during shipping or anytime before use on a CPU. Upon removal of the seal, one will find a very nicely lapped bottom. There will be no need for any aftermarket engineering here.
Setting It Up
Setting up was fairly simple, though there were more steps to go through than setting up your average heatsink/fan. Then again, this isnít your average heatsink. First of all, the spring clips for the fan is usually the first thing to be placed. For this setup, a 80mm Antec fan running at 2600rpm was used. Thus the spring clips were placed in the 2nd holes from the top. I, personally, found it more complicated to put the fan on before placing the heatsink on the CPU, as the fan would block me from the clips to hold the heatsink in place. Next, the seal was removed and the pads that came with the SLK-900A were placed on the heatsink. There will be little indentations to indicate where the pads will be placed. Afterwards, use thermal paste/pad as needed and mount the heatsink on the CPU. One would need a screwdriver and quite a bit of force to get the clips on. Be careful not to slip with the screwdriver and end up with a chipped and useless motherboard.
(SLK-900A with 80mm Antec)
Amd Barton 2500+@ 2.21gighz(3200)+
Antec SOHO SX1040BII w/ 400 watt Antec PSU
PowerColor ATI Radeon 9600 pro 256mb
SLK-900A & 80mm Antec w/ Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
Corsair XMS 512 ddr pc2700 w/platinum heatspreader
Western Digital 80gig 7200rpm harddrive w/8mb cache
Zalman Theatre6 5.1 Surround Sound
(2) CoolerMaster 80mm Neon Blue Led exhuast case fans
(1) Antec 80mm intake case fan
3dMark 2001 SE looped 5 times
CoolerMaster Aero 7+ at 2600rpm and Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
The Aero 7+ and the SLK-900A both ran exceptional Idle and Full load temperatures. The SLK-900A beating the Aero7+ at 36 C to 40 C respectively and even more so after running Prime95, SETI@home, and 3dMark2001 SE for 5 loops at an amazing 41 C at full load and 45 C for the Aero 7+. Both fans were running at 2600rpm, as it is an optimal speed between silence and performance.
*Results taken in Celsius in a closed case with Asus Probe V2.20.03
Pros and Cons:
Once again Thermalright brings another top-notch heatsink to the table with the SLK-900A. Even with a 2600rpm fan, it still produces godly temperatures for air-cooling solutions. It dances toe-to-toe with the CoolerMaster Aero 7+, a reputable company known for great cooling, and bumps it down. No matter whether youíre a techie that loves to milk every MHz out of your computer or an enthusiast that loves to have the best of the best, the SLK-900A is for you. With a competitive price tag of 44.99 at most places and sometimes less with proper bargain hunting, the SLK-900A is certainly not cheap, but like its price, so is its performance. Heat is not a factor for this beast.
Rating Ė 9.5/10
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