Review: 4 Socket-A Heavyweight Heatsinks

Cooling
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PRODUCT Swiftech MC462A
Manufacturer Swiftech
Supplier Swiftech
Purchase price ~US$40 (without fan) in mid-2001; now discontinued
Reasons chosen
  • Already in possession of one and still similar enough to current Swiftech models.
  • Was raved about for a long time as king of the socket-A HS by everyone..
  • It has quite good low airflow performance.
  • Great looks, finish& design.
  • Probably the most secure HS mounting system

Swiftech MC462A

Swiftech MC462A: this one shows some wear but it's still a polished heavyweight.

Everyone already knows about this big bad boy by now. Introduced in late 2000, the Swiftech MC462A is the second generation version of the 462, with cutouts in the corners of the thick and huge copper base to avoid interference with components on some motherboards. Since then the MCX version introduced Helicoid pins to increase dissipation area, and the latest MCX462+ sports a base that is half an inch thick, compared to the mere 0.375 inch thickness of the MC462A.

Suffice it to say, the MC462A is already on hand and has proven to be an excellent cooler with both high and low airflow applications. It is finished beautifully, and the base smoothness is absolutely the tops. So why not compare it to today's leaders?

Specifications

  • 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.

These days, there are at least a handful of HS that use the mounting holes around socket-A with bolts and nuts that go right through the motherboard, but Swiftech started the trend with the 462. This system ensures safety for big heavy heatsinks that overstress the normal mounting lugs on the plastic CPU socket. The MC462A uses 4 bolts that go into aluminum standoffs that must be secured to the motherboard. (See blue arrows in the photo below). This can only be done when the motherboard is not installed in the case.

Swiftech MC462A mounting standoffs

The screws don't actually clamp the HS in place. Instead, they engage 4 springs of specific properties. The springs ensure just the right amount of pressure. Swiftech's web site shows a torture test in which a a barebones system with a 462 equipped CPU was dropped 3 times from a height of 30 feet without any damage to the CPU, motherboard or HS. That suggests a 462-installed system might even survive freight shipping. A very nice mounting system, if a bit involved.

Swiftech MC462A installed

Because of the pin configuration, the airflow is omnidirectional. That is, it flows out from the HS in all directions, to provide some cooling for components on all sides of the CPU. It is a big HS but appears to fit most socket-A motherboards. Also, the mounting system doesn't require any angling or tilting of the HS during installation, so you won't be pressing the edges against components that are close. Once the standoffs are in place, it really is a nice system to use, and it's virtually impossible to damage the CPU during installation or removal.

Socket-A Heatsink Roundup Intro - p.1

Thermalright SLK800 - p.2

Thermalright AX7 - p.3

Zalman CNPS6000cu - p.4

Test Results, Data Analysis and Conclusions - p.6

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