New Stock Intel Prescott P4 Cooler

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June 14, 2004 by Mike Chin

PRODUCT: Retail Intel P4-2.8 Prescott heatsink/fan

Intel packages all their retail processors with an integrated heatsink-fan. With the pricing of the retail package so close to the OEM versions, the vast majority of buyers go the path of least resistance. The supplied HSF undergoes periodic changes, usually not announced by Intel. These changes are most often related to increases in heat dissipation: As a new core kicks the thermal envelope a bit further up, the HSF gets progressively more buff.

Some of you may recall the "high-end" Intel P4-2.8 HSF with copper base reviewed in January this year. That was the the last high end version we're aware of.

A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance brought over a P4-2.8 Prescott to be installed into a system I was assembling for him. I had recommend a Northwood, but some fast-talking sales geek convinced him the 1mb cache in the Prescott made a huge difference at only a modest increase in price. Whatever. He wasn't wanting a quiet machine, just one that works well.

The included HSF turned out to be a new type I had not seen before. Ralf Hutter, SPCR's most Intel-savvy reviewer, is under the impression that this HSF is also included with higher speed Prescott models. For all we know, it could even be the new default HSF for all P4s leaving Intel's production facilities at this time. Hence this review.

The heatsink and fan are integrated in the same way that all Intel P4 HSF have been: The fan is mounted in a plastic frame which is fitted atop the heatsink. This frame integrates the clip mechanism that secures the HSF. Two levers flip back and forth to secure or release the clips.

Aside from the minor fiddliness involved in getting the fan / clip mechanism in place, the system works well, is secure and provides plenty of even pressure between HS and CPU. A visual inspection after mounting the HSF shows that the degree of motherboard bending beneath the CPU is small. It's much better than the first Intel HSF, which put way too much pressure and very visibly bowed the PCB.

Looks the same as ever, doesn't it?

Photo taken with HSF upside down and light source beneath.

It's when the bottom of the heatsink is examined that the difference is immediately visible. This cooler bears resemblance to the AVC Sunflower cooler introduced maybe 18 months ago, but it is even closer to the Thermal Integration's Dr. Thermal 108 Fin X cooler. It's not identical... but the similarity is very close.

New Intel HS with fan and thermal interface pad removed.

You can see where Thermal Integration got the name Fin X.

The copper slug in the center goes up almost to the top level of the fins

The fan itself is looks about the same as the the one on the last "high end" Intel P4 cooler, but its current rating has been increased from .0.37A to 0.44A. It still has ~68mm diameter blades, making it close to a 80mm fan.

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