Review: Swiftech MCX462-V for Socket A

Cooling
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December 10, 2003 by Russ Kinder

Product
MCX462-V Heatsink for Socket A CPUs
Manufacturer
Swiftech
MSRP
~US$49.95

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.

Specifications:

  • 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 die gradually.

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 clips free.

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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