Thermalright SI-128: Evolution of a Past Master

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INSTALLATION

The mounting system is similar to other recent Thermalright models we've seen. Two mounting brackets are included: One for Socket 775 and one for all K8-based sockets. A custom retention module is included that allows the K8 bracket to be used on AM2 systems.

The Socket 775 bracket uses the same pushpins found on Intel's stock heatsink. Although the pushpins are designed for ease of use and toolless installation, installing the SI-128 on our Socket 775 test bed was a bit of a wrestling match. There were two issues that made the installation process a less-the-ideal experience:

  1. The clip was very tight, requiring a lot of pressure to secure in place.
  2. The tops of the pushpins were hidden under the bed of fins, making it very difficult to generate the pressure required to push them down.

After several brute force attempts to get all of the pins depressed simultaneously, we eventually decided to get smart by securing the hard-to-reach pins first and using a piece of scrap metal to gain enough leverage to force the remaining pins in place.

Given these difficulties, we probably could not have installed the SI-128 if our test-bed was installed within the confines of a case. For practical purposes, the Socket 775 installation requires removing the motherboard from the place. On the plus side, Socket 775's symmetrical mounting holes meant that we didn't have to worry about orientation, so we were able to situate the heatpipes where they would be least likely to cause compatibility issues.


Thermalright's bracket uses Intel's unique pushpin mounting system.

Although most AM2 systems already have retention modules that should work with the SI-128, Thermalright includes one of their own to ensure compatibility. Interestingly, Thermalright's module includes mounting points for Socket 478 heatsinks. The retention module does not come with either a backplate or mounting screws; presumably these are reused when the stock module is removed.


A generic retention module is included for AM2 systems.

Installing the SI-128 on an AMD system appears to be quite a bit easier, although we did not have an opportunity to test the system thoroughly. A single S-clip fits on to the standard retention module loosely and is then tightened by a quarter turn of a single lever (no tools required!). The S-clip is designed so that the heatsink can be rotated up to 90° under the clip, allowing the heatsink to be installed in whatever orientation is appropriate — even diagonally.


The K8 bracket is shaped in an S-curve that permits the orientation of the heatsink to be shifted as necessary.


A simple lever puts the clip under tension.

FAN MOUNTING


Wire fan clips.

As long as you're using a fan with open flanges, mounting the fan is a simple process. Two fan clips fit into into holes in the fins and snap over the inner frame of the fan, effectively clamping the fan to the heatsink without requiring screws. There's even a couple strips of silicone strips that be laid down between the fan and the heatsink to help cut down vibration noise.

However, if you have a fan with closed flanges, as in the photo below, the flanges need to be cut open to give the clips something to hold on to. This is easy enough to do with a hacksaw and a pair of pliers, but those who aren't handy are advised to choose their fans with care.


Make sure you use a fan with an open flange!



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