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FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Alpha's latest P4 heatsink is a minor revision of its previous top-of-the-line
model, the PAL8942. It follows the Alpha design philosophy of cooling
the CPU by sucking the hot air off the processor instead of blowing cool air
down on top of it. This seems to be just as effective in cooling ? plus it
leaves open the tantalizing possibility of ducting the CPU heat right out
of the case, instead of just recirculating most of it.
The CPU is generally the
hottest component in a modern PC (some of the latest high-end video cards excepted)
so evacuating its heat directly out of the case can put much less load of the
rest of the cooling system. This means that the user will need less airflow
to cool the rest of the system, which of course is a nice bonus for someone
looking to run their system as quietly as possible.
So how effective is the 8952 at quietly cooling a P4 CPU? Well, it's
sufficient to run nearly silent and cool a 70-80W processor to a perfectly decent
level. Once you get up around 100 watts, things start getting marginal. You'd
need to run the included fan, or something similar like the L1A Panaflo at 10~12V to get adequate cooling and that's above the limit that I could
The S-PAL8952 is a good heatsink, the best performing of this type
that I've tested. At low fan speeds it's a better performer
than the recently reviewed Scythe
Samurai HSF, another "sucking" type of heatsink. It may be
marginal with a low airflow fan and the hot Prescott CPUs, but silent PC enthusiasts should
give those 100W+ CPUs a pass anyway.
* Fan is quiet at lower speeds
* Good performance, even at slow speed
* Very strong, stable mounting system
* Will fit any Socket 478 motherboard with zero issues
* Good choice for using in a ducted system
* Moderately expensive
* Motherboard needs to be removed from case to mount
* Marginal performance with hot Prescott CPUs
Many thanks to Alpha
for the opportunity to review this HSF.
* * *
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