Swiftech MCX462+ Heatsink Review

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Oct 26, 2003 by Russ Kinder

Product Swiftech MCX462+ Socket-A heatsink
Manufacturer Swiftech
Street Price ~US$45

This review is a perfect example of what happens when you procrastinate. Due to a millions reasons I could cite but won't, this Swiftech cooler languished on the shelves of the SPCR test lab for at least 6 months before I finally put it into a carton of stuff destined for kind Russ, who offered to help me get out from under my workload.

Well, Russ did test the cooler and sent the writeup over to me, but by the time I had it laid out for posting, I discovered this model had just disappeared from the Swiftech website, replaced by the "splayed pin" (for want of a better phrase) versions (MCX462-V) that most people have at least seen pictures of by now. Mind you, the MCX462+ is still sold at many stores, and probably will be for some time.

This is hardly a hot news item; rather, it's a confirmation of the rank we'd already given it in our Recommended HS list. Thanks very much Russ! My apologies to Swiftech.

Please Note: A review of the new MCX462-V on both P4 and AMD platforms is in the works even as I write, this time pronto pronto by the R & R team -- Russ & Ralf. So rest assured, the latest in Swiftech cooling technology will soon be laid out from SPCR unique quiet performance point of view. -- Mike Chin, editor.

One look at the MCX462+ and you just know that it came from the guys at Swiftech. Their copper base with helical pins has become about as close to a universally recognizable design as anything else in the heatsink world.


One look and you just know it is a Swiftech.

But recognition can come at a price. The basic design of Swiftech heatsinks hasn't changed in several years, even though the wattage of processors continues to rise. Essentially the newer Swiftech heatsinks are differentiated from their ancestors by having more pins, shaped differently and placed closer together. This increases efficiency by giving the heatsink more surface area to distribute the heat from. The downside is that more airflow is required to force the air out from the deep recesses of the center of the sink closest to the source of the heat.

Luckily for us here at SPCR, our unique heatsink methodology makes it easy to compare this Swiftech to the earlier (2 generations back) MC462A tested by Mike. Although 2 different processors were used for the testing, they are fairly close in terms of heat production. Mike's XP1600 Palomino produces a max of 62.8W, while my XP2100 T-bred B maxes out at 62.1W. (a difference of only 1%)

SPECIFICATIONS

MC462A:

  • CNC machined, C110 copper base, 3"W x 3"L x .375"H, flatness better than 0.001", micro surface finish 8 or better.
  • 269 Pins made of High Thermal Conductivity aluminum alloy ( 230 W/m-K)
  • Overall dimensions with fan 3"x3"x3", without fan 3"x3"x1.56"
  • Weight: 20oz (560g) without fan.

MCX462+:

  • CNC machined, C110 copper base, 3"W x 3"L x .375"H, flatness better than 0.001", micro surface finish 8 or better.
  • 371 Helicoid Pins made of High Thermal Conductivity Aluminum Alloy, press fitted in the base.
  • Overall heatsink dimensions 3"x3"x1.56"
  • Weight: 20 oz (560g) without fan

THE DESIGN

It's Classic Swiftech, requiring that the motherboard be equipped with 4 mounting holes around the CPU. Anchoring nuts get installed in the mounting holes around the CPU, and then pre-cailbrated springs on captive bolts apply a precise degree of pressure on the processor die. The captive bolts and springs are significant improvements over the all-loose installation parts of the earlier HS, quite easy after the anchor nuts are installed.

After you install a Swiftech heatsink you learn two important things:

1. This is the most PITA way of installing a HS. You absolutely have to pull the motherboard out, there's no other way. Then you have to fiddle with little washers and little standoffs and little nuts. %#^!

2. This is the way all heavyweight heatsinks should be installed. Really. I've never seen a heatsink mounting method that is more secure or more foolproof. You'd have to actually try really hard to damage a CPU core with this system. And once it's one nothing is going to dislodge it. If you're going to hang 2lbs of copper off the side of your motherboard, this is the way to do it.



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