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December 10, 2003 by Russ
Heatsink for Socket A CPUs
The MCX462-V is the Socket A counterpart to the MCX478-V recently
reviewed by Ralf Hutter. It's a clear continuation of the classic Swiftech heatsink
design: Thick copper base, with helicoid aluminum pins press fitted into the
base. But the "V" does bring a new twist to the design. Well, a
new bend, actually. As with the 478 model, the pins are set into concentric
circles, and bent at multiple angels to increase the airspace between the
pins. According the Swiftech, "The spacing and angles between the concentric
rows has been precisely calculated to optimize cooling at air flow levels
as low as 22CFM and 23dbA"
Seen next to the previous version, the MCX462+, the new V model looks significantly
larger. The apparent size increase is deceptive, for the bases of both are
3" squares, which keeps it within the AMD height restriction area of
the motherboard. The splaying of the fins does allow for an extra benefit,
the use of a 92mm fan without an increase in the base area of the heatsink.
As with the 478-V, brackets for both 80mm and 92mm fans are included with the kit.
- CNC machined, C110 copper base, 3"W x 3"L x .500"H, flatness
better than 0.0003", micro surface finish 8 or better.
- 390 Helicoid Pins made of High Thermal Conductivity Aluminum Alloy, press
fitted in the base.
- Heatsink base dimensions 3"x3"x1.66"
- Weight: 23.2 oz (650g) without fan
NEW RETENTION MECHANISM
Well, after my review of the MCX462+,
which praised the classic Swiftech through-board retention mechanism for
being the most secure method of attaching a heatsink, and panned it for
being a giant PITA, Swiftech went and changed everything.
The new mechanism is a socket-only attachment, as opposed to the 4 bolt
of previous Swiftechs. It operates via a pair of 3 lug clips which snap
over the lugs as the heatsink is lowered vertically onto the socket. Then
the tension screw is loosened to gradually apply spring pressure to the
lugs, securing the heatsink at the proper tension.
This has the advantage of the old method by not requiring the motherboard
to be removed for mounting/unmounting. Not requiring the mounting holes also
expands the motherboard compatibility, as fewer and fewer socket A boards
have these holes. Also, opposed to traditional spring-clip lug mounts, this
system has the added safety of applying the pressure to the drop of the
After mounting and removing the V several times, I'm not completely sold
on the new mechanism. While more convenient than
through-board bolting, its not as simple a process as Swiftech suggests, or as smooth as other lug attachments. The problem lies in getting
the clips over the lugs. The clip doesn't easily snap over
the top of the lugs as designed, and considerable fidgeting is required to
align it just right.
During the loosening of
the tension screws (which counter-intuitively tightens the heatsink onto
the CPU), I needed to squeeze the clips towards the socket to ensure that
all 6 lugs would catch. Without the squeeze, one side of the clip would twist
with the turning of the screw, resulting in only one or two of the lugs
being secured squarely. The same problem of clearing the lugs occurs when
removing the heatsink. After the springs are compressed the clips are still
aligned vertically under the lugs, so you can't just lift the heatsink upwards
to remove it. Instead you need to slide and jiggle it around to get the
A simple design modification would improve the entire latching mechanism:
Shape the clip/spring/screw mechanism so that as the clip is loosened it
splays outwards, away from the lugs, and pulls in and upwards, towards the
lugs, as the tension is applied.
But once applied and tightened, the MCX462-V is very secure, with no wiggle
or sliding around possible. (Although at a weight of 650g without fan, Swiftech recommends that the heatsink be removed for shipping)
There is also a review of the P4 (Intel) version of the Swiftech MCX478-V.
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